Monday, March 30, 2009

"Just a Short" Race Report

Pre-Race Face!

On Saturday I ran "Just a Short" half marathon in Pittsburgh. We were so lucky, the weather was perfect and I busted out the short sleeves, Capri's and gloves. It was running weather at it's finest.

Megan, a good friend and fellow masters swimmer, was nice enough to let me stay at her house the night before and even cooked a wonderful dinner of pasta, salad and asparagus. It was so sweet and really set me up to have a great race not by not having to get up at the crack of dawn to drive in that morning.

I really had no expectations for this race other than to run hard. I hadn't run hard for such a long time and I just wanted to cut it loose and see what I really had in the tank. Many of my friends and fellow YMCA members from Pitt were there so it was so fun to start the race alongside so many familiar faces. I wanted to do a great job pacing. However, with a heart rate monitor that fails to really do splits (and I shouldn't say it doesn't, it's more than I haven't learned to use that feature because I am waiting for a new monitor to arrive in the mail - any day now!) the pacing was going to have to be internal. More on this later.

I started out the race hanging with a girl who seemed to easily pull away and go off the front. The first mile has a pretty substantial hill, and the rest race just rolls up and down while you run through the park twice to finish in the same place as the start. When we came through our first mile at 6:05 I thought, "ok, a little faster than I wanted, I'll try to slow down now, get things in check." Did the talk work - Nope. I kept slightly behind her through the second mile (6:05 again), and then the third (about the same). As we came up to the third mile we were alongside the finish line for all of the other races (5k, half marathon & 30K), I noticed her starting to sprint as we neared and I thought.."Oh no, this is not a good sign" Just as I suspected, she was winning the 5k, and peeled off to finish at 19:05. Well, there goes pacing for the first three miles, I guess I need to concentrate on the other ten I have left I thought.

After backing my heart rate down where it needed to be I ran the rest of the race strong and trying to keep my cadence high and consistent. I had no idea about my mile splits from that point on (I don't do that kind of math!) but I felt like it was going decently well. There were men around me and I would try to run with them, but it seemed like no one was really on my pace so I just did my own thing.

Lot of great people cheered and it was just fun to be out there pushing myself and enjoying the sound of my feet on the pavement. At mile nine I started to feel the fatigue setting in, but I just tried to push it out of my mind.

Almost to the finish and very excited to see if maybe I can make it under the 1:25 barrier! In the last mile my left hip-flexor felt it was going to tighten up and fall off so I was grimacing in this picture! I think I was dragging my left leg a bit behind me! I was sort of close, but not really - 1:25:44, and first women which was a nice surprise. All in all, it was a great day and I was so thankful to race and be out there among great friends and other racers!

Krista, my friend from PSU cross-country, had a great race back, and was third women overall at the Cook's Forest Half Marathon! I was so proud of her and she had a great comeback race. Way to go my friend.

Hope everyone had an awesome weekend of training and thanks for the encouragement and support about my calf. I nursed it back to health for the race and it was fine that day so thank you!

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