Race report, race report....where to begin....there's so much to say......chronologically will be the only thing that makes sense I think. Here we go:
As you all know from the last post, I was not feeling my best when I was heading to Virginia Beach to run the Rock n Roll Half Marathon (which was yesterday.) My mom drove down to College Park picked me up around 11:30 and we were on the road about 11:45.
After sitting in insane amounts of traffic on I-95 and dealing with two accidents and a tunnel back-up resulting in a detour on I-64, we finally made it to our hotel about five to five and half hours later. And by that point I was feeling like crap. I walked into our room and started freezing, and the air conditioner wasn't even on so the room was really hot and humid. But I was shaking like crazy and dove under the covers and fell asleep for a while. My mom had gone to take a walk just to see the beach and such and when she got back she suggested we head over to an emergency care walk-in place to see what my deal was.
(Oh right I forgot to mention before I fell asleep I was crying like crazy because I thought I wasn't actually going to be able to run the race with my throat on fire and my head congestion and feeling achy and cold.)
We find a walk-in place and by some miracle there is no one else there. We were in and out in like 45 minutes...when does that ever happen at any medical facility? Anyway, turns out I had an upper respiratory bacterial infection. (Basically some throat infection that is not a strain of strep.) But ALLELUIA! it was bacterial! Which means they could give me antibiotics. So with my Z-pack in hand and a container of microwavable chicken noodle soup, my mom and I headed back to the hotel where I popped the pills and hit the sack.
Woke up Saturday still feeling like hell. But I had to go to the expo to pick up my race stuff if I wanted to have any chance to do the race. By nine when we get there, I've taken my antibiotics, some Advil, some Sudafed and gargled with Listerine to help with the throat. (Yea the medical section of my race number had quite a bit of medicine listed.)
At the Expo, I'm feeling guilty as hell when my mom buys me a nice long sleeve race shirt because I'd feel like such a fake wearing a shirt for a race I didn't actually run (and at this point, I wasn't feeling any better.)
We wandered around the Expo for a while, checked out all the cool stuff, and headed back to the hotel where I took more Advil and Sudafed. I napped, watched the Notre Dame football game (dismal), laughed a bit when Michigan got knocked off by App. State, and then my mom and I went to carbo-load at a pasta place.
By dinner I wasn't feeling great, but I wasn't feeling bad, and I figured if nothing else I could at least start the race and drop out if I felt like hell. Or maybe I'd even be able to walk the entire thing.
After dinner it was back to the hotel to sleep. (After first of course checking the Maryland football score with my friends. Terps win 31-14 over Villanova! GO TEAM!)
4:30 a.m. wake up call Sunday morning. I'm feeling better than Friday, but not great. Had it been a training run, I wouldn't have done it. But hellllo I've been training for this all summer and I'd be damned if I wasn't going to at least attempt it. Antibiotics, check. Advil, check. Sudafed, check. Lots of water, check.
I packed extra Advil and Sudafed in my running waist pack in case I needed it on the course. I also threw in a pack of Clif Shot Bloks, my camera and cell phone (so my mom and I could find each other at the end.)
Because I wasn't feeling great I had no appetite, but I knew I needed to eat to have the energy I needed. I ate a pack of Sharkies Energy Chews and forced down about 3/4 of a Clif bar. It was all I could manage, and I was a little worried it wouldn't be enough.
I was in corral 16 and my mom was in 20. It's a good thing it was a wave start because we stood in the porta-potti line for like a half hour and missed the first few corrals start. I was soooo nervous as my corral approached the starting line. I had all these negative thoughts about having to drop out, about getting sick, about not being able to finish in the amount of time they allotted. I was trying to calm myself down as my corral was about to start.
When we did start, I jogged nice and slow and steady. I didn't want to push it or risk anything. By the time we got to mile 1, my throat was so dry and scratchy and thank god not far ahead was water stop number one. Also at mile one I noticed I was running way under a 12-minute mile. I don't remember my exact split, but it was something between 11 and 11:30. I was surprised, but kept telling myself to not get overly-confident.
It was hot and sunny and the sun was strong and there were long stretches of the course without shade. I was keeping a good pace though. I got to mile two at around 22 or 23 minutes and mile three around 34 minutes. But I was tired then and stopped to walk for a bit. And I wanted some more water. I was figuring this is where I was going to have to start walking the rest of the race. But I really didn't want too. So I told myself I'd try a walk-run pattern and see how that worked. I was able to keep run five, walk two for most of the rest of the course. (I know Wes always says start walk-run from the beginning and stick with it, but being sick and all I threw all my plans right out the window lol!)
As the miles markers kept passing, I was checking my watch to see how I was doing time-wise, and I was consistently under the time for averaging 12-minute miles. I was doing a little happy-dance in my head.
Nothing too important sticks out in my mind between miles 5 and 10. I ran with a group of people for a few minutes between miles 6 and 7. They were nice to chat with, but I lost them when I started walking and didn't want to jump back into the conversation when I caught up with them when I was running again.
I ate two Shot Bloks around mile 7, washed them down with water. The sports drink of choice on this course was Accelerade. It was the nasty stuff I have ever tasted. Seriously it was gross, but I choked it down because I needed the electrolytes. I also think mile 7 is where I started taking two cups of water. One for drinking. One for dumping on my head/down my back.
Right before mile 8 some neighbors had hoses and were spraying runners down. They rocked my world at that point.
I hit mile marker 10 at 1:57:58 or something like that. Two whole minutes under two hours! I was elated. In fact, I'm pretty sure I fist pumped and said "YES!" (But kind of quietly lol!) I was also thinking "BOOO-YAAAH upper respiratory infection!"
At mile 11, we started the final stretch down the boardwalk. (To be read: There was no shade, it was the last leg of the race. It was hot and super sunny and I was tiiiiiiired!) I hit mile 11 under the time for averaging 12 minute miles, so I was pretty stoked, but I was also looking pretty desperately for the next water station. They seemed to be getting scarcer and scarcer. I was able to keep the five run, two walk until mile 12. That was the last mile I made in the time to average 12 minute miles.
I ended up walking most of the way from 12 to 13. I was just dead. I tried to keep moving fast. I was still passing a decent amount of people even though I was walking. When I could see mile marker 13 wasn't too far away I started running again and once I passed the mile marker I sprinted with everything I had left in the tank for the last tenth of a mile.
It was good enough for an official time of 2:37:49. (My watch had 2:37:58, but I don't think I stopped it right away.)
I'm okay with that. I know I could have done better if I hadn't been sick. I also know I lost at least a minute to a minute and a half at every water/Accelerade stop. A lot of the stations didn't have the cups pre-poured so they were pouring as you got there. It was a lot of wasted time. But all things considered, I still think I kicked ass.
My mom kicked ass too. She finished in 2:43:00. She would have done better too, but at mile 7 she had to stop, take off her shoe and sock and adjust her blister pad because it had come unstuck and was causing problems. She was majorly bummed out.
My one complaint about the course was that there were not enough water stations, especially towards the end of the race when the sun was strong and there was no shade coming down the boardwalk.
But over all it was a fun race. The finisher's medal is sweet. And now I so won't feel guilty wearing my race shirt. (I'm definitely wearing it to class tomorrow.) I'm not too sore, just a little tight in the hips. Oh and I have a nasssssty blister on my toe. (Don't worry I have pictures to show you haha.)
10 mile: 1:57:56
11 mile: 2:10:50
Official Splits from Baltimore:
21 mile: 4:15:54
This was slower than my Baltimore half split time. But if you divide my final marathon time in half, it was faster than that.