Tuesday, December 16, 2014

30th Half Marathon Race Recap!

On Sunday, I ran my 30th Half Marathon!

I was looking for somewhere to celebrate the 30 milestone and I decided on the Dallas MetroPCS Half Marathon. I had a LOT of Texas friends and I had never been to Texas (well, except for the airports in Dallas & Houston). It would be the perfect place to celebrate.

I flew out to Dallas on Friday after I dropped Jenks off at the Kitty Hotel. Sadly, the plane left an hour late but it was a direct flight so I didn't have to worry about missing my connection. We landed in Dallas about 6 and then I made my way over to the DART station. I hadn't rented a car but my research said I could take the DART downtown and use it to get around if I needed to. I got there just as it seemed the train was going to take off so I got a ticket and ran for the train, along with another guy. We made it! After the doors closed and we were moving I asked him if I was on the right train! Doh! Luckily, there is only one train line that leaves DFW so I was okay. :) I got off the train at my station and then walked the couple blocks to the hotel and checked in. I'd made it! Woo!

On Saturday morning, I woke up and decided to go for a run. If you read my last post then you know I'd twisted my ankle at the Christmas Run. I hadn't run on it since but it was feeling pretty good even with all the airport running around. I also knew from looking at maps that Dealey Plaza was really close to my hotel. So I laced up my Clifton's and headed out. It was a cloudy morning and a little windy but pretty nice.

I found Dealey Plaza and explored it for a bit. There was another runner from Canada there who'd had the same idea and we introduced ourselves and then talked about JFK and all that had occurred. Since we were the only ones there, it gave us a chance to quietly reflect on the what had happened there. Having seen all the movies and documentaries and listening to my mom talk about that day, it felt like I could hear the echoes of that day as I stood there.

Then, I continued on my run to do a little more exploring.

My ankle did pretty well on the run so I decided the race was a go! I would have been okay with not racing and just cheering on my friends...but I really wanted to race so I was pretty happy. After eating breakfast and relaxing for a bit, I headed over to the expo. I didn't buy much (just some compression socks and a shirt) but I did listen to one of the speakers and got my ankle taped. Here's my shirt and bib:
Then I looked for a message that Alex B (@alexb214) had left for me on the Dallas Marathon sign...and added a note of my own - Coyotes fun Dallas! It took me a while to find the message from Alex but since I am stubborn and couldn't let Alex "win", I finally found it.
Whew. Then I could leave. :) I went to eat and then walked back over to Dealey Plaza to go to the 6th Floor Museum. The tour took about 90 minutes and was interesting and helped bring that day to life, even more so than the documentaries did. I was really glad I was able to visit it.

After that, I went back to the hotel and rested, then got some Jimmy Johns for dinner, and rested some more. Then it was time to sleep. I actually slept pretty well.

I hadn't been able to meet up with any of my friends at the expo so I was supposed to meet Alex and Christy B (both Run It Fasters) at the Longhorns. Which it turns out is a lot of Longhorn and Cowboy statues in Pioneer Square. A lot. You can't miss it.
 But apparently, I can miss people! I was there for about 15 minutes and didn't see either one so I sent Alex a text and then he called me back and we were trying to figure out where each other of us was when I turned around and he was right behind me! Ha!
I got to meet his wife and couple others from his running group. I never did find Christy before. :( Then I went to find my corral and get situated. I was in the B corral for a few minutes when I looked up and saw my friends Teal & Beth (@LifeisaRun) walking toward me! I was so shocked. I hadn't realized how many people were running and I thought I wasn't going to find them til afer. It was so fun to hang out with them before the race.
 The last time we had raced together was the Disneyland Half in 2012. And now they are moms! :)

Then it was race time!

So...my ankle was good but it wasn't 100%. I had talked to my coach Justin about racing vs. not racing and he reminded me that I had bigger goals than this race we were working toward and that it would be better to not jeopardize additional weeks of training. I had decided to run it but not race it. I would just enjoy the run and see the sights along the course. And that's what I did. Although I spent a lot of time looking down to make sure I didn't step on any bumps, land reflectors, in pot holes, etc!

I did see a lot though and we ran through some interesting stuff. Especially the HUGE, gorgeous mansions. Decorated for Christmas. Wow. And then I saw Heidi (@HeidiRuns) and Brian (@BLuebTris)! I heard Brian yell my name so I turned back and so I could say Hi and give them hugs (sorry for the sweaty hugs!). Yay! I was so happy to see them. So bummed I didn't take a picture though. :(

Then at mile 9, I zigzagged back to make sure I gave a high 5 to a little boy who was trying to go for the world record. Then at mile 11 I saw Heidi and Brian again! Another great pick me up! Then Alex's wife ran by (rocking her first half) and we talked for a little bit.

Then I was done! My 30th Half was in the books. Here's my medal:
Then I wound my way through the finisher's chute for food, water, and our bag. I stopped at one point to reorganize the stuff I was carrying and when I looked up, I saw Christy (@Run2Bake)! Woo!
Then I found Teal & Beth again! Seriously, I don't know how I found any of them! LOL. Sadly, there were a couple of TX peeps and others from Instagram that I knew were there but did not find.

I made plans with Teal & Beth to go to lunch with them so I went back to the hotel and changed and got my stuff and they picked me up. We went to a great little Mexican place for lunch and I got to meet their husbands and their very cute sons. Then sadly, it was over and Beth and her family took me to the airport so I didn't have to take the DART back.

I am pretty lucky that things worked out so I could run on Sunday. And extremely lucky to have met so many fun and amazing people who helped make it a fun race/trip.

THIS is why I love running. Not just because it keeps me healthy. Not just because racing fast is fun. But because it feeds my soul with friends and adventures. :)

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Christmas PR - Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run Recap

On Saturday, I ran the Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run Double 10K & 5K. I've done the double before and it's a lot of fun. A lot of people dress up in costumes, even the dogs. The last time I ran it, I was passed by a woman dressed as a corn on the cob. I didn't really get that costume. Mostly though, you see a lot of Santas, elves, reindeer, and people dressed as presents.

Anyway, I was going into the Double feeling really, really strong. My coach, Justin (@gilletterunning), had planned for me to run the 5K hard and try and hit an 8:40 pace. But since I did that at the Claremont Turkey Trot (actually better! 8:34! Score!), I was thinking of racing the 10K hard instead. Or maybe both. Actually, I was kind of leaning toward both. :)

Race dawned and I got up, ate, and drove over to Santa Monica. The weather guy had talked about the possibility of rain and I'd dressed for that. Except that it was clear when I got down there. I got my bib and went to use the restroom and then hung out. The views did not suck.

That's the moon setting on the left and the Santa Monica Pier on the right. It was a beautiful morning for a race!

Then it was go time! I got into a good position in the starting corral and decided I would run the 10K as hard as I could. I had run 59:20 at the San Dimas Turkey Trot and I was hoping to maybe shave a minute or so off that. I also decided not to look at my watch during the run.

They sounded the horn and I took off! Miles 1 and 2 flew by and I was feeling good. Miles 3 and 4 included some out and back sections and I feel like I ran them well too. After mile 4, I think I may have slowed down a little but I was still running hard. Miles 5 and 6 were along the beach and I tried not to do any sightseeing and stay focused. I think I did pretty well with that. Then at the end of mile 6 we had one small hill and then it was a downhill to the finish. We came around the curve and I saw the finish and turned on the after burners. Then I saw the clock and saw it was about to turn over to the next minute and I pushed even harder to try and get there before that happened. But I didn't. I saw the clock say :01. And then I was like wait a minute. That said 55:01! WHAT?!?! Was that right? I looked at my garmin and it said 54:55. Woo! But what would my official time be? And wait a minute...that's my 10K PR time. WHAT?!?!

So I waited around (not so patiently) for the times to be posted and then there it was: 54:54 official! Woo! I could not freaking believe it! I did not expect to be close to my PR range until the spring.
Can you tell I was happy? A PR! Okay, only a 1 second PR but it felt great! I did not know I had that time in me right now. It felt so good to know I am really, really back.

But there was still more racing to do so I couldn't party too much. I had a gel and then started heading back over the Start/Finish line to get ready for the 5K. I was feeling pretty good and thought I might be able to pull a good time out for the 5K too.

And then the horn sounded and we were off for the 5K! And I took off! And then just a couple of minutes into it, I almost ran into someone and the curb was right there and there must have been an uneven part (or just my natural klutziness) and disaster struck. I twisted my ankle. :( Argh! I kept running but slowed down. It was sore but there wasn't any sharp pains so I kept going but decided to take it easy the rest of the way. I was worried about it but it didn't seem to get any worse. I finished the 5K in 31:24. And got my medal. Not how I had wanted to run the 5K but I was satisfied enough with the 10K that I wasn't too heartbroken. And the worry about my ankle with the Dallas Half in 1 week was more of a focus.

So after I got my medal, I headed home. When I got out of the car after the drive, that's when I knew my ankle was worse than I thought. It was really stiff and very sore and swollen. :( I iced it that night and did a lot of praying but when I woke up on Sunday, it was still swollen and sore so I skipped my planned 12 Miler. Sigh.

I am actually pretty proud of myself for 2 things this weekend. 1 - that I ran hard and didn't hold back or think about limitations. And 2 - that I didn't try and run on Sunday and let my ankle start healing instead.

I got one Christmas miracle for the 10K and now I need another for the Dallas Half! Cross your fingers for me!

Hey, did I mentioned I PRd on Saturday. Yeah, baby! Woo! :)