Sunday, March 1, 2015

Race 13.1 a/k/a 16 mile training run

I hadn't intended to start marathon training today...but better early than late.

Full race report later, but for now...I went off course and ended up crossing the line after 16 miles with a chip time of 1:56:41.  Not my slowest "half marathon" finish time, though far from the time I had hoped for!  Thankfully, race management is being very kind to those of us that got lost, and will be making it up to us.

*update 3/2/2015

Yesterday's run already seems so long ago.  Oddly, I'm not even sore today.  That 16 mile run was the longest run I have done since my last marathon, which was in November 2013. And I wasn't exactly jogging it either.  I ran 16 miles in 1:54:02.  That is a faster pace than either of my attempts at the Charleston Distance Run!

I tried out a new restaurant for dinner the night before the race.  I usually go to Carrabas when I'm in Roanoke, but this time I found a different Italian restaurant that was closer to my hotel.  It was called Ragazzi's and I liked it.  I ordered "Marathon Pasta" ...because the name was fitting and because it sounded really good!  Steamed veggies, chicken, and pasta.  What's not to like?  The restaurant was super busy but I got a seat at the bar.  Service was excellent and polite, even though harried.  I really wanted to tell the bartender to just take a breath and relax for 5 seconds.

There was a lot of talk about canceling the race due to the forecast of freezing rain.  Daily emails were sent out expressing concern for runner safety.  As of 6 AM on race day, the race was on, but we were told it would be called off if sleet started before the 7:30 gun.  Luckily, the storm stayed north of Roanoke.  Just barely.

I started off the race really strong, the course was very flat/downhill and I was cruising.  6:39 first mile, 6:41 second mile.  I stuck with the first place girl for the first mile, and then she gradually pulled ahead.  I let her go, reminding myself that I needed to run my own race, not hers.  I could hear 3rd and 4th place talking behind me, and I was surprised they were running as fast as they were and still able to talk.  I certainly don't have enough breath for talking when I am running that fast!  By the 6th mile, I could not see any of the people ahead of me.  I reached a fork on the path where I could go right towards what looked like a dead end under a bridge, or I could go left up a hill.  There were no arrows to guide me.  I went up the hill.  Apparently, the path under the bridge was not a dead end.  The girl behind me caught up at one point and we were griping about the lack of course markers as we followed signs for a bike path, assuming that must be what we needed to do.  We were surprised that there had been people standing guard over every ice patch in the first 2 miles, but nobody to tell us where to turn now.  After about a mile and a half, we reached an intersection with absolutely no indication of which direction to go.  That is the point where we knew without a doubt that we had lost the course.  More people caught up as we stood there trying to decided what to do.  We all turned around and backtracked, collecting more people as we went.  There had to have been about 20 of us that got off course.  By the time we made it back to the course, there was someone directing runners there.  We continued down the course.  Upon realizing how much further it was to the turn-around (about 1.5 miles) some runners turned around early, since we had already added 3 miles to the course.  I decided to stick it out.  I had already lost any hope of a PR or winning place, so I figured I may as well just get the long training run.  It was hard.  I lost a lot of energy with the let-down of discovering I was off course and had lost the huge PR I had been headed for.  My 12th mile was the hardest.  I was really struggling to keep up a decent pace (that mile ended up being 8:12).  I kept giving the run everything I had though.  My pace varied, sometimes dipping under 7, sometimes climbing closer to 8.  I wasn't paying attention to my splits though, I was just trying to get myself to the finish line.  When I finally uploaded the run on my computer and saw the splits, I was impressed to see so many of them as fast as they were.

After I finally crossed the finish line, I ran into some people I know from Lewisburg who had run the 10k.  It was nice to see some familiar friendly faces while I went through my adrenaline meltdown.

I eventually got a chance to talk to one of the race people, who apologized for the course mix-up and let me know that they would make it up to those of us who got lost.

finisher medal

I decided it was time to break from my post-race bacon cheeseburger tradition and went to Taste of Asia instead so that I could have sushi and thai food for lunch.  So much deliciousness.

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