Monday, April 09, 2007

Some races feel harder than they should...

Several weeks ago I signed up for the spring classic, known in the area as a flat, fast half. I thought I had a chance to really see what I could do on the half marathon distance and it would give me the opportunity to gauge where I was in terms of my marathon preparation.

Until I saw the weather forecast for that much for a "spring" classic. Snow, wind advisory, just lovely! I am fine with sucking it up for the winter but it is April and now I am in full complain mode as this weather is just WRONG!

I awoke that morning to lots of snow and a sketchy drive over to the race. I met up with two others half way to ride the rest of the way together. I was so mad five minutes down the road from the meeting place as I realized I left my running glasses in my car. "Oh well, I don't really need them," I mistakenly thought.

We arrived a little later than planned as the drive took awhile and we did not want to be one of the many cars that were in the ditch /median/ etc. that littered the roads that morning.

We parked about a half mile away and I was cold fast. My fingers were painfully numb by the time I went to the bathroom and and grabbed my race packet. I jogged back up to the car and started my short warm up with Elizabeth who had been jogging around since I had arrived.

We lined up at the start together and took off with the whistle. The first mile we joked around a bit and came across mile one at 7:00. Whoops, probably a little fast! My goal in my own little head had been to break 1:36 (7:19 pace). I knew it was ambitious, but I always had my B goal of 1:45 to fall back on. I figure the whole rule of doubling the half and adding 10 minutes would make my B goal the 3:40 marathon I am looking for.

Hit mile 2 with a split of 7:10. I am still ahead of the pace!

Mile 3, 7:45. Crap, there goes all the time I thought I had in the bank. I look to Liz and comment that I hope it was a long mile because the effort felt the same.

Mile 4, 7:24---better

Mile 5, 7:24 ---staying consistent

Mile 6, 7:51---somewhere between 5 and 6, I turned on my Ipod. I had started to feel like I was struggling with the pace, my feet were soaking wet, cold & numb and feeling heavier by the step. I knew I really could not talk anymore and I hoped this would give me the boost I needed to continue. I knew already that I had started too fast. I fell into my own little world of suffering a bit.

We looped around a field on an icy path by the finish and I got a momentary surge of energy with race announcer, Mickey shouting my name and some encouragement!

And then it was back out on the road for another loop.

Ughhh, not feeling this at all. And then it started. My eyes were fogging up as if I had glasses on and my vision was blurring.

What is this? Is this some terrible time of fatigue that I should worry about? Are my eyeballs freezing because I am really cold? Do I blink less than the average person and should I try blkinking more? WHY? What is this???

I guess at this point I will back up. When I was a kid I had 3 surgeries on my eyes for extropia, basically lazy eye as most people know it. I had one in 3rd grade, 5 grade, and one in 7th grade. Normally one surgery corrects it, but I was not so lucky. Basically they go in and cut the muscles along the side of your eyes and re-attach them. You can still see the scarring on the sides of my eyes. After the surgery, my eyes bled for a day, then I could see another day later and then for about a month or so after each morning I would go though the process of releasing my eyes lashes as the eye gunk over night would hold them shut in the morning. Too much info? All that is to say I have crazy sensitive eyes now. They pour water when it is bright and I don't have good glasses on. I remember leaving several functions early as I child because my eyes were a teary mess in some smoke filled reception. At any rate, although it was unpleasant, I am so thankful my parents spent the money to take care of this so I do not have trouble with this anymore.

So with this in mind, I think between the cold and the wind, my sensitive eyes are just responding in their own way.

So everything is foggy and my feet are so cold. I am so much colder today than normal because my feet usually are dry and today they are soaking wet. I am seriously hurting and the worst is I cannot see. Where is the next stupid mile marker???

I look down and see my watch over 10. I must have missed it. Now I am happy that at least I must be past 7, but it is bad mentally as I wanted to see the marker which is always a boost and also to see my pace.

Keep putting one foot in front of the next. Where is mile 8? I missed it too. I am so frustrated. I can't see well and I am missing mile markers. I am too stubburn to consciously slow down.

Finally at mile 9, I see the marker. 23:15 for the last 3. I already know A goal is out the window and I don't even care. I am feeling miserable. Why can't I just see normal???

Mile 10, 7:41. We are on the way back now, just a 5K. That annoying wind keeps randomly hitting me!!! My legs hurt a bit, are they freezing? I kept thinking, "Some "SPRING" classic this is!!! It was 80 Tuesday, come on, this is ridiculous! I HATE OHIO!"

Mile 11, 8:04. I feel like crap. Cold, can't see...I want to stop. Why am I doing this? I refuse to let myself stop, it is just a pride thing.

Mile 12, 7:51..."please just one more mile"

I am so friggin happy to come into the final icy loop around the field. I am hoping I can see good enough to watch my footing and had one short slip which scared me for a split second.

Mile 13, 8:04

.1 Mile, 0:49 --mananged a small kick, nothing impressive. I started breathing heavier and heavier. I managed to say my age as they were giving awards out there but I needed to walk. As I stopped for a second my breaths became deeper. I can't stop for award now, I needed to walk. The nice volunteer found it as quickly as he could and I try to recompose myself. I saw my dad's friend and forced some conversation while walking and all systems came back shortly.

My breathing that spiked after my kick (and stop which I just can't do at the end, sometimes I really need to keep walking) returned to normal and within a minute my vision came back.

I finished in 1:40:21. 4th overall female, 1st in my age group. I had suffered a lot.

I was excited to see that my running ladies, Elizabeth and Melissa took 5 and 6th! Sweet! Between the 3 of us, we claimed the 1st place age group awards for 20-35!!!

Things learned.

#1 Don't start out too fast.
#2 Cold and windy requires glasses.
#3 Even when I feel very miserable, I can keep going for a long time.

Met the B goal with plenty of room to spare which puts me in great shape for my marathon goal. I PR'd the half marathon by over 7 minutes! So feeling OK on the day.


E-Speed said...

My eyes started to freeze too, just a bit later than yours. It is a horrible feeling though. During the last two miles I started to think my face was freezing off. I guess it just wasn't a great day for a run :)

I wish I hadn't lost you at 6, we probably could have helped each other and come in a bit quicker. Next time!

Good race report and great race! It takes guts to run through pain like that and you definitely have them!

B Bop said...

I'd say that given the conditions, you're overall suffering, and the fact that it is only April, and you still knocked off 7 min. and finished in 1:40 is promising, to say the least. Impressive is probably a more appropriate word.

After finishing the race, you had icecycles hanging from the back of your head to nearly your shoulders!! and unless you are a snow bunny this was bound to not be your best race.

Congrats on more really earned this one, eh.

JenC said...

Great job in tough conditions! A 7-minute PR while feeling like that shows how far you've come this year. Congratulations!

Kate said...

How horrible! You did amazingly considering you were frozen- and 4th overall is nothing to be sneezed at- I'm sure a lot of people finished a bit slower than expected

Brian said...

Congrats! You're continuing to have a great season! Can't wait to see what the summer has in store for you.

Charlie said...

These are the days that make us tough.
Way to push through and take the AG.

qcmier said...

Holy crap!!! Great job. I don't think I can keep up with you.

Mark D. said...

awesome write up :-)

Jodi said...

You are unstoppable! Can't wait to cheer you on at the Cleveland Marathon. BQ here we come!


TriShannon said...

Being cold makes it so hard! Great job working through it and coming out with a PR and 1st in AG.

Mallie said...

Hey. It sounds like you gave a pretty kick-ass performance despite some nasty weather and some issues with your eyes. A PR is good anytime, right? And when you're fighting it out, it must be all the more sweet!

brendaj said...

Great race report and I love the pooch pictures in your previous post...I think our next dog may be a golden.

Ellie said...

Holy cow, what strength. I am in awe. When I see what some other runners are getting through (and PR'ing, no less!!) it makes me realize I can keep going. Thank you!

Papa Louie said...

Wow! All you hard training is paying off in your race performances this year. Congratulations! Great job!