Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hot Chocolate 15k

Hot Chocolate 15K
Chip time: 1:31:35
367 of 1154 in age group
TL - Me, Faith & Andrea post-race with adorable mug blow up
BR: Ladies from the Where's The Finish FB group pre-race

Andrea, Faith and I took a girls' trip to the big city to run the Hot Chocolate 15K. This was the first time for this event in Atlanta, although it is a huge race in other cities with as many as 20,000 people combined for both the 5K and 15K. The Atlanta event appeared to have about 7500 people in total. It was the biggest race I had ever attended. I cannot imagine the 20,000 or more I'll be running with at the Princess Half in February.

The Expo
The expo was small and well organized. Navigating downtown Atlanta and paying a fortune to park for 30 minutes sucked. The good people at Publix had a booth promoting, "Europe's Alternative to Peanut Butter" - Biscoff Spread. If you've ever flown Delta or Air Tran, Biscoff cookies are certainly the best part of the flight. I wasn't sure what to expect from Biscoff spread, but seriously I have eaten a quarter of a jar with just a spoon. The chunky spread has cookie crumbles in it. If you like Biscoff cookies, you'll love this spread.

We got great tech sweatshirts (although a bit small) as a part of our race SWAG and for some unknown reason they gave me a tech hat, which I really love. I'm guessing it was because I used a code when I registered, or maybe they thought I'd look super cute in it.

The Race
January in the South is pretty unpredictable. But I don't think anyone thought that we'd be running in tank tops and skirts on January 13. It was at least 65 degrees at 6a and 70 by race time with 80% humidity. Thank goodness it wasn't sunny. I don't mind weather like this in April or May. I'm just not ready for it in January.

We had to be parked in the parking lot by 6:30a. This was almost as difficult as the race itself. After navigating the road closures we got the space we had to pre-pay $10 for. We planned the best we could for this craziness and it all worked out in the end.

Pre-race festivities included a very loud, obnoxious DJ who was trying to get people to Zumba. I don't want to Zumba - not at 6:30a, not ever. We met up with a few girls from our Facebook group pre-run. It is always great to meet in person. Our pre-run pic made us look like zombies. I kinda felt like one at that point.

I learned an important lesson about bringing toilet paper with you. I was able to jump the line and pee before the run because I brought my own.

The course was tough. Very hilly. I was a bit intimidated by it just looking at the elevation map. Running it was another story. It certainly felt like it was all up hill with the exception of the last .3 miles. I was keeping a 9 minute pace through mile six. I was feeling great. I got some Gatorade at the four mile mark, which wasn't planned. I had thought I could wait until mile six and take a gel prior to the the station and be golden. The humidity made stops at every station from mile four on necessary.

At mile seven everything fell apart. My IT band became incredibly painful. I had a choice to make - either push through the pain, knowing it would all be over in 30 minutes or pull back, walk some on the last three miles and hopefully still be able to run in my half on Saturday. I chose to pull back and watched my pace crap out for the last three miles.

I really wanted to run a sub-1:30. It didn't happen, but I feel like my knee was saved for the real goal of my half this weekend.

Monday, January 14, 2013

IT Bands Suck

Week 12: First Half Marathon Training
Goal Total Miles: 23 miles
Actual Total Miles: 20 miles

Yep. Short. No excuses. Just short.

Ok, one excuse. After that awesome long run last week with the pink ladies I couldn't walk on Monday. Yes, I was a bit sore on Sunday after my run, but on Monday it was seriously sore. My week consisted of - rolling, icing, compressing, elevating, stretching and Advil-ing.

By mid-week I was able to put together three short runs at best. I babied my knee so I could run the Hot Chocolate 15k in Atlanta on Saturday. I ran. I didn't run well, but I did run. I'll post a full recap in a couple of days, but needless to say I can say I crossed the finish line without blowing out my knee. I guess that's what you call success.

I really don't know where my running mojo has gone. I think it might be nerves more than anything. Running has really become a mental challenge for me lately. I need to embrace this as a test - a mental exercise.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

MoJo Go Go

Week 11: Half Marathon Training
Goal Total Miles: 24 miles
Actual Total Miles: 27 miles

Well, I think I may have made up those 3 miles I slacked off on two weeks ago. That makes me feel better. I'm not sure why, but it does.

This week I lost my running mojo. I started the new year off right with a commitment 10k New Year's morning with 10 other local runners. I even ran with the boys for miles three to five. I held my own even if I couldn't keep up with their pace at the end. I secretly think they sped up so a girl wouldn't beat them. :)

But my scheduled runs on Thursday and Friday were absolutely torture for me. I put them both off until the last possible second - as in there's only 45 minutes worth of daylight left so you better put your shoes on and get to it. I hated every moment of both of those runs. I just didn't want to do it, but I did. I tell you, my running mojo has a way of leaving just when it is needed the most.

Sunday's long run was a lot of fun with four ladies, all dressed in some form of pink, which was totally unplanned. Twelve miles at a 9:38 pace is a new record for me. I'm hopeful that I will be able to pull out an even faster pace for my race next week. But I can't count on any pace right now thanks to a very unhappy right knee. Yep, the whole run on Sunday my knee was angry with me. It felt like my knee strap that I continue to wear after fighting through runner's knee earlier this year was rubbing the outside of my knee in a weird place. Somewhere between miles nine and twelve, I either stopped thinking about it or it was numb.

Monday morning was not fun. I was really uncomfortable. My research says it is probably an IT Band issue. I do have pain sometimes in my right hip/bum area and this pain is on the outside of my knee, hurting more when I go downstairs instead of up. Perfect timing for an injury with a 15K coming up this Sunday and a half the next Saturday.

I've been RICEing and rolling the heck out of it to see if it will help. I've seen some improvement between Sunday and today (Tuesday). I did take the day off today and I will attempt to run on it tomorrow morning or afternoon. Fingers and toes crossed I'll be functional tomorrow.