Monday, November 15, 2010

Race Report- A New 1/2 Marathon, A Different Experience

(Race:  San Antonio Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon on Nov. 14, 2010)

Race Day is the culmination of months of training, physically and mentally.  You have hopes and dreams that your actual race will play out exactly as you want.  I talk like I've done a million races but this was only my third race, ha!.  It rarely does.

Race Day is where you get to put to the test all that have worked for leading up to that point- the hours of training runs, the mileage you have put on your shoes, the "talks" you've had in your head, the way you've handled struggles along the way.

I had certain thoughts and images of how I thought Sunday would play out.  It went a little differently than I planned but the result was the same- I finished my second half marathon and I shaved 46 minutes off of my first 1/2 marathon time.  FORTY-SIX minutes less time - woot woot!!!!  Of course we all know that my first race was done with that bum hip and I walked a huge portion but who the hell cares?!

I now have a new PR (personal record) for the half marathon.   2 hrs 49 min 38 sec with an average pace of 12:51min/mile.

Would you like a play-by-play?  You're gonna get one, lol.

Making sure I had the "right" outfit picked out for the race.  Basically, I picked all of my favorites, including my awesome Saucony running shoes, BornFit running skirt and Moving Comfort sports bra- LOVE!
Also, I had all of the "gear" that I run with or have nearby for after the race.
  • Aspercreme, to help with sore-ness and aches DURING the race (I will be very glad I have this with me, which you will read about very soon here).
  • Biofreeze, to use AFTER the race, again for aches and sore muscles.
  • iPod, for music to keep me entertained and my mind off of the task at hand, lol.
  • Gu, which I "eat" while I am running, for nutrition and extra calories.
  • A FuelBelt which holds my water bottles and all of that other stuff I carry with me.
The night before
I had dinner with Christy and several other girlfriends that were also running this race. 
me and christy 3
Christy should have been getting ready to run the race as well, but due to circumstances outside of her control, she had to pull out at the last minute.  It was a gut-wrenching decision for her and one that I know made her sad and disappointed and more sad.  I was SO sad myself that she would not be racing as we were supposed to do this race together. 

I am so thankful she made the trip to San Antonio ANYWAY so that I could see her.  I know how hard it must have been for her to see the four of us (me and my other racing friends) preparing our gear and racing outfits.  The fact that she sucked it up and was there for me in the midst of her own disappointment is a testament to our friendship.  Thank you, Christy.

I told her that I would take her with me during the race and I meant it. 
I also took a few other friends and sisters along for the ride : ).
miles list
Race Day
I woke up bright and early, had my customary cup of coffee and got dressed.  We got to the race area with a few minutes to spare and found our starting spots.  Nothing unusual here.
start line
My friend Jessica and I had decided to run the first 1-2 miles together and then go our separate ways.  We started out at a faster than usual pace (for me) but I was OK with that- I knew that I would slow down by the first mile marker. 

Unfortunately for me, at 0.75 miles, I (along with thousands of other racers) had to cross railroad tracks.  Being ever so graceful and really, I felt like I was being pushed along by the herd of runners behind me, I did not clear the tracks with my right foot and right there, so near the beginning of the race, I felt myself falling FAST and HARD.  It happened so quick but also in slow motion.  My only thought as I flailed about trying to catch myself was "please, not my hips, not my legs, don't let me hurt my legs, please, please, PLEASSSSEEEEEEEE".

The brunt of my fall was caught by hands, then shoulders, then landing on my right knee, right hip, then left knee.

I cussed like a sailor.  I could not believe after all the training, all the hard work, all the mental games, a mother-effing railroad track might take me out.  I cussed like a sailor.

I could not believe that I had tripped.

However, I had hundreds of runners right behind me and I could hear their collective gasp and rumblings of "Are you OK".  I jumped right back up (pride and ego were at play here), yelled "I'm OK" and kept running.  But holy mother of God, my hands were screaming with pain and redness and burning.  The road rash on my lower leg was oozing blood.  I pulled out the Aspercreme (for aches and pains), slathered it on my palms and kept going.
That's when I knew the mental part of my training was going to come into play, and sooner in the race than later.
By Mile 3, my body was finally beginning to warm up and I was slowly finding my stride.  That lovely fall at the beginning was also letting me know that I might have some new aches and pains that aren't normal for me- like a pain in my right knee.  I normally don't have soreness in the knees until the higher mileages, like between miles 8-10, but here it was, my knee was starting to hurt at Mile 3.
Not a good sign but oh well- I was going to carry on as best as possible.  It's all about the mental game, I tell you.
My best miles by far were Miles 5 and 6.  I had hit my stride (finally) and I felt like I was gliding over the ground.  Really, I don't think I felt my feet touch the ground during that time.  I felt like a gazelle, or maybe a Kenyan not really but in my dreams I did.

Between Mile 7 and 8, I had an emotional moment when Journey's "Don't stop Believin" came on the iPod.  That is a power song for me and Bari and I always think of her when it comes on.  I promptly burst into tears. 
I also saw a dad wearing a shirt that said "Childhood Cancer:  I am making HER wish come true" and there was a picture of a little girl.  I asked that dad if he was indeed making that little girl's wish come true and he said "I don't know if I can, but I'm trying".  I told him "You can do it.  You will make her wish come true".  Just a few words exchanged but such a powerful moment.
Then I hit Mile 8.
Mile 8
Mile 8 is typically hard for me.  It just is.  If I can just push on through Mile 8 and get it over with, then I know I am home-free to the end.  That is when I called Christy.  We chatted briefly until she was called away by her children.  For the record, it is hard to run and talk on the phone at the same time!

By now, my right knee was hurting pretty badly (for me) and my left knee was starting it's usual ache.  I still had 5 miles to go and I knew it was going to be hard.  I won't bore you with the details but really it can be summarized by this:  run, walk, ouch my knees, is this almost over.....lather, rinse, repeat.  It was and now it's over with- yippee!!!! 

When I hit Mile 12, I said to myself "SCREW IT, let's get this over with, damn the knees, it's gonna hurt whether I run slow or run fast so let's run fast and be done!
mile 12
I flew along, passing people left and right.  I was gasping for air, took a short walk break, ran some more and was planning on running the last 0.5 mile until I turned a corner and saw an UP HILL.  ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?!!!!!  Uphill?  At the end of a 13.1 mile race?  I walked up that small hill, and then entered the tunnel of people leading to the finish line. 

All those cheering people and knowing that the end was in sight propelled me to sprint to the end.  I felt my feet glide along the ground once again and flew like no other.  I passed too many people to count.

It felt awesome.  For those brief few minutes, I felt no pain, no achey knees, no sore muscles.  I just let my feet fly, I listened to all those people cheering and I ran as fast as I could.  I enjoyed that moment and felt as light as a feather.  For that brief moment in time, I felt like I had come in first place.

And I did.  I came in first place in MY world.
me with medal 2
Major Props and Kudos and Love go to my racing friends this weekend Thea (who competed in her first 10K), Elaine (who competed in her first 10K), and Christie (who competed in her first 1/2 Ironman). 

Also, I want to thank my friends Jessica, Patsy and Paula who shared my weekend race with me.  I have known these girls since college (that's a long time, folks!) and we rarely all get together.  The last time we all got together, all four of us, was in Cancun Mexico right after college graduation in 1994. 

They are all long-time athletes and now, so am I.  We talked non-stop about running, exercise, other races, and motherhood  They kept telling me over and over how proud of me they were even though I had the slowest time of the four of us- they are some bad-ass runners, I tell you! 
finishers 2
I had so much fun hanging out with them and we have already decided on our next race:


nicole said...

Way to go! I loved reading about your race. I can't wait to see how much faster you get for your next race. And now I am committing to another half, thanks to you and Elaine. Y'all are awesome.

Karena said...

So, so proud of you, Lisa!! And I'm so glad the fall didn't put you out of the race. You are strong, beautiful, and fierce! And, my friend, a true athlete.

Bari said...

I triple puffy heart love you! I am so proud of you and so glad our power song came on for you. When you tweeted me that you were crying, I got all teary for you - and I was in church! (Prayers definitely went up for you, Christie and Thea on Sunday.) I'm sorry you fell (that happened to my IRL BFF on her 1st marathon-on train tracks in the LAST mile-train tracks SUCK), but I'm glad you weren't too hurt to go on. You had an amazing race and I'm glad I was able to share it with you-even if it was just on a piece of paper and in a song! Congrats, girl! You did great!

Kim said...

How exciting this was to read! I loved reading all about it.. tho so sorry to hear it was so rough on you!!

Bacardi Mama said...

You my friend had an awesome race. I'm sorry you fell, but it sure sounds like you sucked it up and went right along your merry way. I'm so proud of you and I was proud to be taken along even if it was only on paper. You are a rockstar!!!

Midwest Mommy said...

You are awesome! I wish I could have been there to cheer you on. I would have even sung my cussing song for you as you ran by.

designHER Momma said...

you are so inspiring! This is on my perpetual to-do list. I just need a big kick in the pants to get out and do it!

Christy M. said...

Okay, it's no wonder you tripped, girl. You're first mile was for Melissa - DUH :P

And the part about being a Kenyan (in your dreams) made me laugh so hard! You are awesome.

I'm kicking myself for letting you go on the phone at mile 8, but Mia had her leg stuck in the recliner in the hotel and was wailing. Dammit!

I am SO proud of you. SO PROUD!!!! You did an awesome job and I am so bummed I wasn't there to cross the finish line with you. Count me in on 2/20/11. I'm totally there with you come hell or high water.

I love you girl!!!

Elaine A. said...

Lisa, the fact that you got back up and kept going for 12.25 miles is amazing. I'm sorry you had to run while in some pain but I think it's also a testament to your determination, which is GREAT!

I am so, SO proud of you, especially after running "only" 6 miles myself and knowing that this is more than twice as far!

Congratulations Woman, you are truly an inspiration!

And look at us Hookers on your back!!! LOVE IT!! xoxo

Roo said...

Loved reading your race report! Congrats on a great day and another one in February!

Brooke said...

i've just got to be honest here 'kay?

i was VERY disappointed to not get a picture of your road rash. :( cause i like all the bloody details.


your legs are freak hot!!!! smokin lady!!! if you were so cute and loveable i'd have to hate you.

Christie O. said...

Your fall, my tacks, you're right, it doesn't matter, anything can happen!!! damn you, fall!! but congratulations girlie, YOU DID IT!! YOU FINISHED STRONG, I LOVE YOU!!!! THANK YOU FOR TAKING ME WITH YOU!!!!!!!

carla said...

IM SO PROUD OF YOU (she shouts :)) and glad to call you my runnerfriend.

sign me:

living vicariously.

The Doll said...

Congratulations!!! I'm so glad you shaved that much time of this race. I can't believe you fell at the beginning but I'm so proud of you for getting back up and taking it like a champ. You're my hero.

*Lissa* said...

You did it! That is an awesome time and I hope someday I will kick that much ass! xoxo

Penelope said...

Great job!!!! I ran my 2nd 5k this weekend. This post is a great motivator for me. So proud of you!!! Maybe I'll run with you next year. Or not.

Stillmary said...

You rock! I loved reading your story even though I teared up when I read about your fall. Then I had to tell Mr. Right about it and we both applauded your finish! Great post!

Footdr69 said...

WOW!!!! Such an AWESOME RECAP!!! I LAUGHED, I CRIED, I Got a little FRIGHTENED, I gained some WISDOM, and most of all... I ENJOYED!!! Such a WONDERFUL RACE!!! Congratulations, My DEAR FRIEND!!!! You KILLED IT!!! The #TakeHomeMessage for me.. GET MY MENTAL GAME IN CHECK!!! #GotIt ;-) Lisa, YOU FREAKIN ROCK!!!! Good Luck in Austin!!!
Love ya Lots
@FitInMyHeart AKA Dr. Mo

Thea said...

The fact that you got up and kept going after that fall is a testament to exactly how STRONG you are. I am so proud of you for blowing your previous time out of the water!

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Holy cow Lisa you are amazing. You are official! And you also inspire me.