Well, I am a week late, but it has been a crazy week! I am officially very jealous of all you folks who ran our Holiday Half on Sunday. What amazing weather for a December half marathon!! Burke Lake is such a wonderful resource to the runners in this community, and we are so lucky to be able to put on a race for all of our friends and community members that showcases how beautiful our area is!!
Having said that – I was not able to attend our Holiday Half. If you recall, I ran the Blue & Grey Half Marathon down in Fredericksburg the previous weekend. In case you have forgotten what weather was like THAT weekend – here is a photo taken from my car:
Yes, I have my heat set at 75 degrees. It was FREEEEZING! I live in Burke, so my morning started quite early in order to make it down to Fredericksburg to pick up my packet and prepare to race. This photo is actually from after getting my packet – while I huddled in my car waiting for the 7:30 race start. The Blue & Grey was the smallest half I have ever been a part of – and I must say the ability to park your car 20 feet from the start/finish line was amazing! Despite the super cold temps, the race organizers and a DJ were out, trying to keep the crowd happy and ready to race!
National Anthem at Sunrise
A few minutes before 7:30 I scurried out of my car, hit the traditional pre-race port-o-potty and was ready to go. I had actually never even been to Fredericksburg before, nor did I check out the course map prior to racing. I realized in the first few miles that the end of this race was going to hurt. We were doing an awful lot of downhill! I carried on with the plan of running even nine minute miles. While I typically don’t run with headphones, I was feeling a little off about the race and decided to use them as a distraction. I listened to my music and after each song would glance down to check my pace.
Mile 1 – Perfect 9 mile pace.
Mile 2 – 8:38 (all those downhills!!)
Mile 3 – 8:55 (about right)
The course went on, and much of it was riverside, which made for lovely morning running. The sun came out, the gloves came off, and I was feeling great.
Mile 4 – 8:58
Mile 5- 9:03
Mile 6 – 9:11
Around mile six, I felt myself start to lag. I wasn’t hellbent on racing, and while I thought it would be great to get my second sub 2 hour half, I wasn’t really worried about it. I haven’t been training for a certain pace or speed, so I decided to just keep moving at a pace that was comfortable. On I went…
Mile 7 – 9:15
Mile 8 – 9:12
It was at mile eight that I found myself keenly aware that I was thinking this was just a ten miler. Whoops. No. I don’t have TWO more miles, I have FIVE more miles. You can imagine that messing with your head a bit…
Mile 9 – 9:09 (because I realized I wanted to get this done!)
Mile 10 – 9:38
Mile 11 – 10:10
Annnnnnnnd then I found the hills again!!! I was NOT prepared. I had let myself forget about them (because I was busy reminding myself that I was closer and closer to done with each foot step). These hills were nasty. They were steep. And they showed up when I was slowing down anyway. I’m not going to tell you the times of my last two miles. I will tell you that I never once stopped to walk, only because I knew if I did I wouldn’t start again. I can’t imagine how silly my slow shuffle up those hills went, and while I have no photos to prove it, I will show you the course profile to help illustrate my point.
Nasty. Nasty thing to do to someone. I finally made it to the top and finished my race – coming in just under 2:05. It was my fifth half, and that time is firmly in the middle of the other four. As depleted as I was, I was thrilled when I got to the food tents. I quickly refueled in a glorious fashion:
Here is where my story gets less fun. On the drive home from Fredericksburg I started feeling awful. I felt like I had run a full, and not eaten at all during it. By the time I got home all I could do was fall onto my bed, where I slept for a few hours. I have NEVER felt this way after a half. The next day I wasn’t all that much better. As a matter of fact, I started to have ridiculous amounts of abdominal pain. And it just, didn’t get better. By Wednesday I was on the playground at work, unable to stand up straight, when a fellow teacher insisted I leave. Off to the doctor with me. UTI, appendicitis, kidney infection…..lots of fun things were on the table. But none of the tests could quite pinpoint my problem. I was put on five days of antibiotic nuclear weaponry, and warned that my meds would increase my risk of tendon rupture or tear for several weeks, even when I wasn’t taking them anymore. They also would make me feel like I have the flu.
So, here I sit. One week and one day later. I have managed to keep up my one mile a day run (although one day I literally collapsed onto my stairs after and couldn’t move for nearly 10 minutes, so maybe a saner person would have given it up). Today will be day 98. I have had to switch from my plan to run the Austin Marathon to the half marathon (I would end up missing three weeks of long run, and I don’t want to half ass my training). I am disappointed. I am still grumpy from being on these antibiotics. But, I am feeling VERY lucky to be starting to feel better.
Now I am training for the Austin Half in February, the VA Beach Half in March, Cherry Blossom (yay for lottery results!) in April, and the Frederick Half in May. I have a guaranteed entry to the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon, so it looks like 2016 will be spent getting ready for that race. I will also be pushing to make it my first year with over 1,000 miles run!
I won’t be posting next weekend as I will be traveling to Iceland, but I may attempt a run or two, and will make sure to get the hilarious results up on our instagram page !
Until next time – run well!