Thursday, May 7, 2009

My First Half-Mary Ever!!

Race: Flying Pig Half-Marathon
Date: May 3, 2009
Sport: Running
13.1 miles
Completion Time:
2h 41m


Traveled on Friday - dinner was at 8 PM and I didn’t get to bed until after midnight.

Didn’t feel great - ate a pasta dinner, went to bed about 10 PM
Tried to figure out what I could do about breakfast for the next morning but the bagel place was closed so I couldn't grab something for the morning & the hotel was less than helpful.

Race morning - slept like crap, woke up with a headache, no breakfast to be had so I ate a Gu and a packet of Shot Blocks and a half cup of coffee. This made me nauseous. Woo! Headache subsided on my way to the race. I was NERVOUS!

I was very cognizant of the need to be at an 11:27 pace average in order to meet my 2:30 goal. I figured if I could maintain a slow 11:00 pace, I would be in good shape. The weather was in the 50's (Fahrenheit) with a drizzly rain which stopped about 1/4 of the way through the race - pretty much what I had been training in anyway.

With the first two miles down, I started to feel a little nauseous on mile 3, so I walked a bit. After that it was a run/walk combo most of the way based on my heart rate (when I’d hit 190, I would slow down or walk). Once I hit mile 6, the hills started. My heart rate was spiking like I haven’t seen in a long time. My immediate thought was my total lack of any decent fueling pre-race, including Fri/Sat. And a lot of restaurant food the two days prior, which I am sure had tons of sodium, probably didn't help. Usually I handle hills a lot better, sometimes my smaller steps cause my heart rate to drop on hills. So, this kind of freaked me out.

I ate a second Gu at mile 8. By mile 10 I was pooped from the hills, so when mile 11 came and it was all downhill, I just let go and flew as fast as my legs could carry me - a 9 1/2 minute mile. At that point I think I had gotten back to being within 8 minutes of my goal time - but there was no way I’d keep up that pace this far into the race on the flats.

The rest of the race was me talking to myself, my body was fighting to walk and I was mentally fighting to run. So, I’d run for like 30 seconds and then would just start walking, then would run again. I had lost focus and was walking a lot at the end of the race but managed to pick it up for the last 1/3 of the final stretch. Hitting the finish line at the race was amazing. This was my first race where I completed it and there were tons of people full on cheering - it was totally charging. I hit that finish and felt a sense of accomplishment, which was quickly stymied by the fact I missed my newly set goal time.

I was also bummed because I hadn’t seen my husband or anyone else that I knew at this point, I walked back to the hotel by myself. I was still upset about my time. My husband was waiting for me at the hotel, he was ecstatic and so proud (after having driving 5 hours the night before after working a full day because he is just that awesome!!). I was still being a baby and he explained that even just 6 months ago that I had never expected to do this and that I should be extremely proud. I was still acting like a brat, but he still was really proud of me and very excited for me. I called my parents too and they were proud and excited and my dad kept telling me not to be upset & that I should enjoy it. I don’t know if it was my sugar level, the fact that I was exhausted, or what but I couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling of failure.

Eventually I got over it, especially when I looked at my mile by mile times - I am pretty proud of how I did - especially since my longest training run of 12.84 miles took me 2h49m. My legs did awesome carrying me through and I didn’t give up - but I am totally requesting a rematch.

What I learned
  • Sleep, sleep, and more sleep must be my second priority. I got too caught up in this as a social visit that I lost sight of my initial purpose of being there & paid for it. Fun is fun, but not doing what I was supposed to do probably cost me the meeting of my goal.
  • Correct food & fueling must be my first priority, especially on race weekends but definitely day to day. We initially were supposed to stay in an apartment but there was a cat issue and my husband is deathly allergic, so to the Westin we went!
  • No more slacking on my training, if I am going to succeed then I have to put in more work and make my training more of a priority
  • I need to lighten up & not be so hard on myself, which is easier said than done. My personality is that I am very hard on other people, I am 10 times harder on myself. Just the way of a Virgo, I guess :-)


Atrusni said...

Hey relaX!!, remember that you are already doing something that maybe more than 50% of the population do not do!!, Running is about having fun!, so do not forget that in mind!!, you did a great job, and you are a great inspiration for shorter distance runners like me!!

You should be proud of yourself!

Samantha said...

Thanks - you are very right, sometimes it's easy to get wrapped up in the competition that you lose the fun

Jamie said...

If racing isn't fun, you aren't doing it right. Ease up Sam!

Glad you learned a lot. That is what it is all about.

Anne Short Vosburgh said...

Yea! I meant to post on your blog earlier. :) So.... how's the training going for your decathlon thingy.....? lol