Thursday, November 29, 2012

Silver Strand Half 2012

It's been almost two three weeks since I ran the Silver Strand Half.

Life never stops. Even long enough to blog.  Most of [which is very, very little lately] my blogging is done in the evenings. But between classes, homework, sports, hubby doing homework on the computer and just general exhaustion---there has been no blogging.

But, I ran a race. And so did my husband! It's Thanksgiving night and although I may not complete my post tonight, I am determined to start it. It WAS Thanksgiving night when I started. Now it's a week later.

Friday and Saturday before the race I taught an all-day class. Which meant I was on my feet A LOT less than if I would have been at home. A very good thing and helped my legs and body in general feel pretty rested. On Friday night, I may have taken a Benedryl to ensure a good night's sleep. It worked.

Saturday night my mother-in-law took the kids overnight, which was a huge blessing! We went to church at 5pm and then dropped the kids off to her. Bean and I had a quiet night watching TV and getting our race stuff ready. It was fun to be prepping for TWO to race.

(seen in photo: Nuun Strawberry Lemonade, Honey Stingers, Body Glide, Spibelt, Sketchers Go Run bag, Carlsbad Marathon 2012 hat, and the kids coloring books!)

We got up at 4:45am, which is when Bean gets up for work 4 days a week. I couldn't do it. He does it for 10-hour work days and Fridays off. I'm thankful he does, but it just wouldn't be worth it to me. Bean showered, because he just can't NOT shower. I did not. My friend Leslie came to our house at 5:30am to carpool and off we headed.

It was a little chilly when we arrived just before 6am. We hopped in a line to shuttle to the race start. It was just a mile away, but why walk when we were there early enough to shuttle?

Bean wasn't so sure how he was feeling about this whole thing. He enjoys running and being active, but he would usually rather do yardwork, vacuum out our van or other house and family related stuff. He intended to train, but it just didn't happen. He ran some 10k mud runs, but that was a few years ago now. He also injured his back a week or so prior to the race.

The sun started to come up more and it was looking to be a beautiful day. That's the Hotel Del in the distance.

We got to the start and slowly started getting ready. We had some time, so we stayed warm for a while in our clothes before shedding and checking them in our bag. I can't wait until Bean and I can do more things like this together. He's a lot of fun to be with :)

And here is my rockstar friend Leslie! We initially connected on Facebook via Another Mother Runner and turns out we have a mutual friend, which made it not so weird that we met up to run when I started training for the race. We did almost all our long weekend runs together. Leslie is a bit of a Ragnar addict and she may have run Ragnar Las Vegas at the last minute, the two days before this half. Rockstar, I tell you! Someone in my nursing cohort was giving up a bib for this race and so Leslie was able to transfer it to her name and her main intention was to help pace me.

At first waiting for the 7:30am start seemed so long. But then all of the sudden, it was time! It wasn't predicted to be that hot. but not that cold either. I don't really have a shirt I like running long in. This is my favorite running tank (Costco, $12!) and I made a last minute decision to risk being too cold. It ended up being perfect!! I wasn't ever really hot, but I also wasn't cold. It makes me pretty proud to rock this MARATHON hat. It doesn't say half marathon, because I ran a full marathon! It may not have gone as planned, but I still ran a marathon.

The gun went off, and so did we! I actually connected with another friend, made via Twitter, at the start and the three of us started off together. Sarah & I also started off the Carlsbad Full together too. She and I both had a 2:09 half PR, on this same course, and wanted to set a new PR.

We started off right around the 2:00 pacer. Carrie had suggested to start off near the pace group because running a faster pace doesn't feel as fast when everyone else around you is also running it. Great advice that I will be sure to use again! When I ran this race two years ago I started further back and I spent almost half the race weaving to get around people. 

From the get-go, we were running 9:30-9:45 pace, and it felt great. Sometimes I'd look at my watch and freak momentarily, thinking it was too fast--but then I would remind myself that this is the pace I trained for and I felt good, so just keep going with it. Since Leslie had put so many miles on her legs the days prior, with little sleep, and a lot of driving, I told her to just do what felt good and not worry about me. But her legs loosened up and she was by my side.

I fell off blogging partway through my training. Carrie was absolutely awesome in giving me a plan, altering it as needed and letting me bounce stuff off her all the time. I'm so thankful I was one of the first to email her when she was offering some free coaching.

A little backstory...
Over the last several weeks of my training, I had a lot of hip pain. I had to skip a few long runs, and cut a few others back. I went down to three days of running per week, instead of 4-5. I went to the chiropractor and got a sports massage as well. I spent a lot of time icing, stretching and rolling. Carrie also suggested icing while driving, since you'll be sitting anyways. This was another priceless tidbit. Especially since I commute 6 hours each week to and from school. Sitting and driving especially irritated my hip.

When I was vigilant about icing, stretching and rolling I was able to complete most of my key runs and hit the right paces. Towards the end of my long runs my hip would hurt more, especially when we did tempo miles. But I was able to push through most of the time. I knew my pain and whatever was going on probably wouldn't resolved completely without complete rest and perhaps more treatment. But honestly, I just wasn't willing do that until after the race. I knew it could cost me, but as long as I wasn't getting worse, I kept training.

Running on the most flat and even ground was best for my hip and leg, so that's what I looked for during the race. The course itself is extremely flat but every road is slanted to some extent. But if I stayed on the left shoulder for the most part, it was pretty flat. 

Around mile 5, my calves started to feel really tight. At the mile 6 aid station, I decided to stop and stretch them out quickly. They felt much better after that and I'm glad I stopped. I seemed to have a little trouble getting back up to my goal pace again. Within another mile, my hip started to bother me. 

Mile 8 was really my undoing. The road became very slanted for about a quarter of a mile, and there was no flat side. A few months ago when my chiropractor was checking out my hip, he told me that my right leg (the affected side) was about 1/4 of an inch shorter than the left. Ever since then, I have totally been in tune to my gait and how offset it can get. Unfortunately, the lower side of the slanted street was the right. So my leg, that already has to step down further, really had to step down further. I had to stop and walk a few times to get through that short distance.

Things just really unfortunately unraveled even more. I'd push through and run for a bit, but then I'd have to walk because it relieved the pain a bit. And when I was running, my paces were in the 10:xx not the 9:xx I was aiming for. Sarah was having a great race and pulled way ahead. Poor Leslie's legs revolted every time I needed a walk break. But she hung with me and would walk-jog instead.

As we approached mile 11, I just wanted to cry. I was hurting. I was disappointed. I was watching my PR slip away. I don't know what I would have done without Leslie. She was a cheerleader and a drill sergeant, both things I needed! I probably would have walked more or run even slower if she wasn't right next to me. 

When we hit mile 12, I was ready to give it all I could to the finish. I may have taken one short walk break, but I knew the finish line was close and I just wanted to get there. It did help that I've run this race before, so I knew how the finish was and I could envision the turn and how far it was to the finish line. 

I turned it on at the very end and we crossed at 2:13 (chip time). Just four minutes slower than my PR. Which I decided was a great "injured running PR." Honestly though, if I was able to run just four minutes off my PR while injured, I KNOW I could have PR'd without my injury.  BTW, Sarah ran her way to a PR by several minutes! 

Leslie's husband and son met her at the finish and her husband snapped this shot of us! I picked up our bag, said goodbye to Leslie and started to go back a bit to look for Bean. Since I stopped my Garmin when I finished, I wasn't sure how much time had elapsed or how he was doing.

I had seen him around my mile 10. He was running and looking pretty good.  I saw him again at my mile 12+ and his mile 10. He was walking and hurting, but looking very determined. I walked back to about the 12.5 mark and waited. I would have gone back further, but I had our heavy backpack and carrying that along wasn't too appealing to my tired body or my hurting hip.

A friend of ours was pacing the 3:00 group and she was able to tell me he was a little behind her and hurting more. His pace had fallen off quite a bit since I had last seen him.  I walked back a bit further and found him. He was almost in tears, his back was hurting so bad. But he was extremely determined to finish and I was glad to walk alongside him for a few minutes. When we got closer to the finish I jogged up so I could get some photos of his finish. He turned it on, just like I did and powered through the last yards.

Bean's official time was 3:03. Which, for the record is two minutes faster than my time for my first half marathon. And he had a very hurt back. 

We were both thrilled to be done and even though we didn't run together, it was really fun to race with my husband. I think we are pretty cute here at the finish. 

I look forward to when our kids are a little more self-sufficient and can even stay home themselves for a few hours, so that we can do more activities like this together. Before we had kids, we enjoyed running and hiking together--but babysitting time is precious and we usually use it for my school schedule and the occasional date night.

We had a little time after the race before our kids came home, so I forced Bean into an ice bath. He was NOT happy about it, but I knew it would help his overall recovery and his back especially. We both squeezed into our little tub. Interesting note: we didn't fit as well as I thought in the tub and my quads weren't covered in water and guess what part of my body was most sore the next two days? Yup--QUADS. Ice baths are the bomb. 

He may kill me for posting this, but Lily brought Bean a blanket and a pillow and this is how I found him later in the afternoon. I am so proud of you babe for getting through the half marathon with an injured back and no training. Let's do it again sometime! Maybe with a little more training :)

Not the race I had hoped or planned for, but I am proud of us both nonetheless. 

And now, it has been almost three weeks since I've run. Working on my piriformis and cross-training. More on that soon.