This article was originally posted by Charlene at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.
To say the very least this was a stressful week.
Warning This race report contains a lot of grammar mistakes but i am tired and am poorly educated.
Sunday Night- Little ones came down with horrible cold
Monday Morning- Husband cut of part of finger at work….in Missouri
Monday Afternoon- Took daughter to ortho for possible Stress Fracture- got the yellow light for her to continue track
Tuesday very early a.m.- Husband returned from Missouri and discovery that maimed finger makes husband very crabby
Tuesday morning- Off to the ortho with Husband- No surgery required
Tuesday Afternoon- A stop at husband’s place of work where they frown on Workman’s comp and fingers maimed by saws
Later Tuesday afternoon- Relief that Daughter’s metatarsal survived Conference meet. Hopefully only 3 more to make it through
Wednesday- Crabby Husband, progressively sicker son, and a tight calf that threatens half marathon on Sunday
Thursday- Crabby Husband, sick son with a fever, and tight calf that takes 2 miles of "running" before stride is normal. All need TLC
Friday- Crabby Husband, sick son with a fever, and tight calf that only takes one mile of slow running to function correctly. All need TLC.
Saturday- Off to Green Bay, 11th Wedding Anniversary. Calf is good to go. Children still sick and husband is still crabby but all seem to be tolerating Water Park well.
* Husband is a very good guy and I do not mean to pick on him. A maimed finger makes anyone crabby. He was great this weekend to put up with my half marathon.
As for the race. This training cycle has been okay. I was able to add speed work in for the first time since I had PF two years ago. I admit my MLRs were lacking due to the cold wet spring. Long runs were all successful and I did not have a single one that I wanted to hitchhike home from. I did a consistent weekly tempo run but found week to week that their range of pace was much larger than normal. I somewhat suspect that the tight calf that I did not notice til this week may have been impacting this. I tend not to notice knots and tight muscles til they make something else hurt or it is totally undeniable that it is affecting my gait. I think I averaged around 55 miles a week since the 1st of the year. I did a 19:06 5k a few weeks ago that was almost a solo effort on crumbly streets that rivaled those of Columbus. But I just did not feel that magic that one feels when they are ready to throw down a really great race. This worried me but I felt really confident that I was going to finally break 1:30 for the half. Achieving this milestone has been really hard for me as I am not very good at races this long. I am very consistent though with my last 4 being either 1:30 or 1:31. But I have not been able to improve even though I train much better now than 4 half marathons ago.
This morning when I headed out to walk to Lambeau Field it was already warm out even though I was just dressed in a sports bra and shorts. I was expecting to be a little bit cold since it was just a little past 6 in the morning. I jogged to the Stadium and immediately found almost everyone I knew from this area that was running the half or the full. This is no small feat with a crowd of 8000 but this always seems to happen.
I settle into the preferred start corral next to my friend Rick who was signed up for the full We planned to run together as he was going to attempt a sub 3 just a month after Boston. The race started and we settled into a 6:51 pace for the first 6 miles. It was confusing though as the mile markers were really far off from our watches. We were not sure what was off but I think after talking to others after the race that both were. And then the 5 mile mat was short of five miles by at least a tenth of a mile or more. That is why online my average pace for the first 5 is 6:44. My real aprox pace of 6:51 felt really easy and we hooked up with another guy attempting sub 3 and we passed a ton of people. It felt powerful to pass as a group of 3. It was sunny and quite warm. The first 5 had a fair amount of shade though. After six though we all drifted apart. I took a gel about then and it did not go down that great and I fell a bit behind and my pace settle into the high 6:50s. Rick took off ahead and the other guy fell far behind me.
These miles were sunny with a headwind that did offer some relief and gentle inclines and declines that I was feeling a bit more than I should of. As I got to nine miles I passed my first walker. I have never passed someone walking in a half before. Once I got to ten miles I knew that I had no chance of breaking 1:30 and my pace suffered with this knowledge and I slowed to a range of 7:06 to 7:08 for the remaining miles. It was nice though to not have any miles slower than 7:08. I still passed more people than who passed me. I was surprised at the number of walkers the last two miles. Going through the stadium was a bit of a distraction though. This is the second time I have done a lap through a stadium to then finish outside and each time I think it has negatively affected my race as it seems to be just an obstacle that distracts me from focusing on closing to the finish. Any lap right before a finish line is a tease for me.
I finished in 1:31:27. Rick was waiting for me as he decided that he did not want to try to complete the full. I think lots of people decided that. I ended up 3rd in my age group, 18th woman overall, and 88th out of around 5500 half marathon runners. We found my family and then went for a post race massage. I felt a tad bit sick and my brain was not working right so we went back to the hotel where I changed and ate a few slices of pizza.
We then returned so I could cheer in my friends in the full. I watched the full about a mile and a half from finish. I started watching about 3:20 into the race and there was plenty of suffering to behold. I would say that almost half of the runners were walking at this point. Many people looked like they wanted to cry. It was not as hot as last year but it was warm and humid for a mass of runners that trained in 30s all spring. My friend Heather was walking when I saw her and I jumped in with flip flops and a diet coke in hand and ran with her to the finish. This actually felt really really good on my calves. Running through Lambeau Field the second time was a lot more fun and Heather finished right around 4:08.
We then went to wait for everyone else back at the point I found Heather and two friends were passing by right then. One was crying and Heather’s husband ran with her to the stadium. The next two came by an hour later and I cheered for them and then hurried back to the stadium as we had to get home as husband still had to drive to Missouri tonight. I did stop and snag my Age Group medal and it was gigantic. Each child now had a medal and all was good in their world. They really enjoyed Lambeau Field.
What I take away from this is that I have failed to improve at this distance for a long time now. It sucks to never improve even though I know I am fitter, have more endurance, and have came a long way since a few years ago. I have no races to prove any of that though. I think a lot of my problem is that I have a short attention span and lose focus easily. Or maybe I just focus better when I am alone. Other things I do wrong are not mixing up things enough in training and just the fact that I just may not be as suited for longer distances as much as I am for 5k. I think I will put off my next half marathon and just focus on short stuff for awhile and hopefully bust through a few old PRs this summer and fall. I always seem to do best when I race into shape and it makes me mentally much together.