Monday, March 17, 2008

Shamrock Race Report

Like all race mornings, I woke to a nervous stomach. I had, however, at least slept well the night before. I debated heavily what clothes to wear since the weather looked iffy but ultimately settled in on what I had set out the night before: my new TRIgirl race skirt, a long sleeved running shirt, my waterproof green jacket (for St. Patty's day) and my new Endorphin visor. I ate my plain cup of white rice I had made the night before in my rice cooker, loaded my fuel belt up with GUs and Endura and after a few pit stops headed out to meet my fellow TRIgirls at the Starbucks on the corner. Immediately, I was afraid I had under dressed. It felt cold.

We all headed down to the start together and met up with a few more TRIgirls along the way. In total, I think there were 23 TGs who did the half marathon and 4 who did the whole. TGs Molly, Sharon, SanDee, Lynn and Mary and I all huddled close at the start of corral 4 trying to avoid the wind and keep warm. Soon the race started ... Bart in corral 1 was off and running. We waited a few more minutes and finally it was our turn to cross the starting line.

With my morning's adrenaline, my first mile felt easy and great. I looked down at my watch and I was still in zone 2 and around my 9:40 starting goal pace. At the end of mile 1, I believed completely for the first time that I really might make my goal. The first few miles continued to easily click by. By mile 3 however, I noticed my HR creeping up and I slowed my pace to around 10 minutes to keep it in zone 3. I continued to feel strong and ran into TG Jill around mile 4. It had started to feel warm as we rounded the bend near Fort Story and we both ditched our jackets to the side of the road and chatted a bit. I knew TG Jill was a strong runner so I was happy to run into her but tried to keep within my own race and watch my own pace and HR. I noticed my HR creep up again into zone 4 and by miles 6 and 7 I decided to let it just creep but not too much. I knew I was still below 10 minute pace and I wanted to at least maintain my current pace until mile 10. Around mile 8, still in Fort Story, I started to mentally struggle. There were very few spectators and it seemed to take forever to get out of the military base. My body must have felt this struggle, because apparently my pace slowed down a little bit too. Around 9, we started to round the corner out of Fort Story, and I knew I was on the home stretch and it was time to give it what I had. It was getting harder to keep my pace and my legs were starting to feel achy, but I decided not to look at my watch too much and just focus on form and feel. Every other block or so, I would focus on another aspect of my running form for that block in an attempt to keep my cadence up and increase my speed. Each mile closer, I tried to give it a little bit more. Right around the 13 mile marker, TG Molly and Sharon passed me. They looked fresh and I'll admit the competitive side of me was disappointed as they passed but I tried to keep up and they remained great targets and motivation for me to try and catch the rest of the way in. By this time, however, I could feel my heart pumping hard and my legs were starting to scream. As I rounded the corner to the boardwalk, Bart was waiting with a big smile and an encouraging cheer. I gave it my all down the boardwalk and crossed with a PR. My Garmin read 2:08:54 and an average pace of 9:46.
TGs Molly, Sharon, Lynn, Jill and I all crossed the finish line within 30 seconds of each other. All apparently had been close by me from a few miles into the race and I had no clue (that is until I saw Molly and Sharon race by). TGs Mary, Debbie and SanDee weren't too far behind. In typical TG fashion, we clogged the finish chute for a few minutes while we exchanged hugs and congratulations! Everyone had huge smiles and great attitudes. By far my favorite part of the race!

At the finish, I felt sore, tired but elated. I had pushed myself and took a leap of faith to believe in what Coach Michael already believed and set as my goal. In exchange, I was the proud recipient of a PR and slightly stronger belief in my own abilities as an athlete. I know I still have a long way to go and a lot of hard work ahead, but to be able to reach this goal was a great feeling.

So... here are the official numbers. Chip time: 2:08:51. Ave reported pace 9:51. 181 out of 492 in my age group.

Other statistics I'm proud of:
An overall negative split and starting at mile 8, I consistently dropped pace each mile until the finish.
Fastest full mile: Mile 13 at 9:19 average pace.
HR zones: 5 miles in zone 3, 7 in zone 4 and 2 right around at or above my AT.
Minutes faster since my last half-marathon: almost 24.
Minutes faster since my fastest half-marathon: almost 15.
My fast husband Bart's time: 1:40:42 finishing 38/250 in his age group and 363 out of all the men racing.


TriGirl 40 said...

Great race report! You did awesome! So happy for you! And what an amazing PR! Congrats!

tryingtotri said...

Great race! congrats on awesome times!!

Diane said...

You are awesome! You looked so strong and happy when you blasted by me in the first mile - sounds like you kept it going because I never saw you again! Great job!!!!

Melissa said...

way to go! it was great seeing you out there.