Sunday, September 13, 2009

Let the River Run

Ok, so, remember all that complaining I was doing? It was stupid. Why? Because I just ran the best half-marathon ever! So, here's the race report for the Cleveland Clinic River Run...

Claire and I ran this one together, which was great, because even though we didn't really chat during the race, it was great to have someone there going through it with you. We are about the same pace, so there was no "pressure"...although we agreed that if one or the other needed to run ahead or fall back, it was o.k.

She picked me up at around 7, and we got to Wallace Lake in Berea by 7:15 or 7:20. This was a point-to-point course, so we both signed up for the shuttle that would take us from the finish (Memorial Field in Rocky River) back to the start where we parked. I was excited to run this race, because I had recently discovered (thanks to Claire) the Rocky River Reservation, part of the Cleveland Metroparks, which is spectacularly beautiful. Plus, I read online that it was a net downhill course, and that it was fast -- and I had never run a course like that for a half-marathon...or any race, for that matter, other than the Patrick Joyce 5k in August.

The start was "cute" this I mean that it was small, and they kind of rang a little bell when the race began. They did, however, have mats and the new "shoe tag" technology. Started off a little fast for my pace, but we were at the WAY back of the crowd and I would have felt a bit embarrassed going any slower. So I said to myself, "you held the pace for the 5k, and this isn't that fast, you've done tempo runs before, just do it, it'll be good practice." I was thinking for quite a while that the McMillan Calculator didn't quite work out with me...that I could hold an ok pace for a bit, but that once I got past the 5 mile mark, I just slowed and slowed. Therefore, 10ks, halfs, and the one marathon I did were MUCH slower than they should have been according to this calculator. So I said to myself, "you've been training really hard, and maybe you just haven't been trying as hard as you could during those longer races to maintain that 'comfortably hard' threshold pace in order to get the most of your training." And you know what? I DID keep the pace today, and it worked!

I'll break this race into thirds. The first third's splits were as follows:

Mile 1 - 10:08
Mile 2 - 10:16
Mile 3 - 10:05
Mile 4 - 11:13 (hmm, a bit slower)
Mile 5 - 9:49 (that's why!)

At this point, Claire and I had been running pretty much side by side. But then she had to use the bathroom, and ran up ahead to do that, and said she'd hopefully catch up with me. The next few miles are the "solo" ones:

Mile 6 - 10:35
Mile 7 - 10:57
Mile 8 - 10:48
Mile 9 - 10:15

It was around this mile when a huge-ass hill presented itself...I was prepared because Claire told me it was coming. Speaking of Claire, just as we were climbing the hill, she caught up to me. We supported each other throughout the last part, which is always kind of the hardest. (Actually, for me, the "Rodney Dangerfields of running" -- the middle miles -- are the worst.)

Mile 10 - 11:04 (by the way, cumulative time at this point was 1:45, the fastest ten miles I have ever run!)
Mile 11 - 10:18 (can't believe I am STILL under two hours! Wow!)
Mile 12 - 10:42 (OMG, cumulative time is 2:06, I can't believe it!)
Mile 13 - 10:12, and the last .1 - 52 seconds.

Finishing time: 2:17:12 -- a new PR by over ten minutes!! Wow!

So the moral of this story is...even when you feel disgusting and that nothing is working...TRUST YOUR TRAINING :)

Got water and a banana - was "proud" of myself for not partaking of the pizza and ice cream they had in abundance...I say that in quotes because to be honest, I thought I would be sick at the thought of it. :) But I really did feel great afterwards, not delirious like the last half in Madison, and I hardly even got that "brain drain"/gross fatigue that sets in during these races. I guess running 18 miles the previous weekend puts things a bit in perspective :)

Anyway, on to other things...tried two new recipes this weekend: Eggplant Parmesan last night, and Tea Cakes with Jam in Citrus Glaze (!) today. (My mom recently got me this book by Martha Stewart on the art of making cupcakes.) Speaking of which, I've got to go make and glaze my cakes. Pictures to follow. :)

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