This race fell in line pretty well with my half Ironman training, and since I got a free entry with a shoe purchase at Endurance House I figured I'd go for it. Its a pretty small race, with only 2000-some half marathoners finishing. But that was fine for me right now...I don't need the hype, I just need the miles.
Yesterday I biked to packet pick-up (I'm really into this biking for transportation thing lately...especially with gas hitting $4/gal.) and only got in 21 miles, which made me feel like a big slacker. Which should really put in perspective how totally distorted Iron-people reality becomes....there are many, many people out there who would think a 20-mile bike ride was a pretty decent workout....and I'm sure there are even a few who wouldn't be able to complete a 20-mile ride....and here I am thinking I'm a slacker for only getting in 21 miles the day before I am supposed to run a half marathon. Seriously. Iron-people are whacked in the head.
The race went pretty much like I thought it would, considering where I am in my training. 13 was a stretch since I only hit 10 miles in training two weeks ago. But I'm not above walking, and I'm all about a training run with water stops (having to be self-contained is so annoying) so bring on the half marathon.
I started strong. The pre-emtive overdose of Ibuprofen had given me some temporary relief of all my aches and pains so the first couple miles felt great. I even made a point to pass my the pace group for my goal time because it just felt like they were going so slow. Things were ok until mile 6, when I saw my goal pace group pass by me as I stopped to get water. Huh, that's not good.
Mile 7 is when the pain in my hip kicked in (apparently Ibuprofen works for about 6.5 miles), and it was pretty much all downhill from there (figuratively, I only wish I had been speaking literally about it being downhill). I felt OK up 'til mile 10, when the pain was starting to be particularly worrisome. So at that point I just gave myself permission to walk. I had matched my longest training run, and I didn't want to do more damage than necessary. There's a fine line between pain that you can/should run through, and making the problem worse. I chose to err on the side of caution.
So here's what I learned on my well supported training run:
1. If you start ahead of your pace group you will probably finish behind them. (I knew this too...its the number one rule of racing...don't start too fast. But in running as in life, when you break the rules you usually have to pay the price.)
2. I still hate Gatorade.
3. I much prefer taking the road solo, to running in a crowd. So annoying to have to dodge people.
4. I hate people yelling my name like this will make me run faster. Just cheer and say something encouraging if you must.
5. I am slower than a lot of really un-athletic looking people. And I am not as OK with that as I thought.
6. I have GOT to get some better running music for the iPod.
So now that I'm pretty much over feeling like I need to puke, I'm off to take some more Ibuprofen....that goes well with beer, right?