Saturday, March 3, 2012

Half Marathon #3: The Xpress Half Marathon Recap

OMG!!Half marathon number 3 is finally in the books, but it almost didn't happen.

Yesterday went fine...I did the 5 hour drive from home, went directly to packet pick up and got my goodie bag, headed over to Academy Sports and picked up nutrition/my first pair of running shorts since high school/3 Nike visors. Then I headed over to Napoli's Italian Restaurant to get my carb loading on! My next stop was to get the car washed because I could barely see out the window and see my brown blue Explorer. I then drove to Shepard AFB and checked into lodging and found that they had converted dorms into lodging you had two room (one set up as a living room and the other a bedroom) joined by the bathroom. LOL! Odd, but it works. I had to make a trip to the BX because I wanted to get a new camera but they didn't have one I liked so I ended up driving back into town to go to Walmart where I got breakfast items and a camera. I hit Hastings to see if they had the new Women's Running magazine and got a smoothie that I had to wait for for 20 minutes after I paid! Grrrr! Last stop was Target to get scissors, tape and chocolate milk for post race. By the time I got back to lodging it was 10pm and I had to get my outfit ready, take pics, play on Facebook, load up the camera software, etc. It was about midnight by the time I went to sleep.

Race outfit

I woke up at 5:30am (4:30am MT) and like and idiot got on Facebook like I always do first thing when I wake up. I let the time get away from me and it was just before 6am when I got breakfast ready. Playing on Facebook and eating at the same time, it took me until nearly 6:30 to finish eating...I don't know why so long.
Jumped in the shower and tried to clean up fast, had to tape up my knee and tried to see how to use KT tape to tape up for peroneal tendonitis, but gave up due to loss of wi-fi and just used the ankle support I had brought. I still had to put my Gu gel into the flask and thin it out with some water and mix up some G2. I hurried and stuffed everything in the suitcase or post-race bag ran out to the car and loaded up. I drove over to the lodging office to check out and find an ice machine to fill up a baggie to keep my chocolate milk cold (post run protein).
I finally left the base at about 7:40am...the stadium is about a 15-20 minute drive from there! I didn't speed (good thing because there were cops everywhere) and actually missed my exit!! Arrrrrgh! Took the next exit and made a U turn. I got to the stadium about 5 minutes to 8am. I checked in and got my chip and made a quick restroom break. It looked like they were running late so I hurriedly taped up both my feet for my turf toes since I had forgotten to do it at lodging. Thankfully they were running about 5 minutes late and I am now proficient at taping my feet! I managed to have about 5 minutes to warm up before the race started. While I was waiting there was a girl...young lady...maybe in her early 20s who came up to me and asked if I was running the half. I responded in the affirmative and she said, "In this weather? Doesn't it cause any problems?" This kind of surprised me because it was perfect weather in my book...slightly overcast, wind maybe 10mph, temps in the low to mid 40s. I told her that it shouldn't be a problem and that I've run in rain and snow and still enjoyed it. She kind of gave me that "You're crazy" look and we chatted just a bit more before she went on her way. I'm guessing that she probably did the 5K since I didn't see her on the route.

I managed to start at a nice easy pace and kept it up for most of the first half. I would run about 1.5-2.5 miles at a time taking short walk breaks of about 100 feet before running again. It's been awhile since I've been able to run that distance before a break. For most of the race I was third from the last...nothing new for me in a small race. Around mile 5 I finally passed the lady that had been in front of me. She was wearing a shirt from the New Year's Double (2 half marathons on New Years Eve and New Years Day in the Dallas area) and we chatted about that for a bit before I pulled away...yes, I actually passed her and kept on going!! That put me at 4th from the last! I was able to maintain that position for quite awhile and even sped up my pace from about mile 6 through mile 9 where I passed yet another runner...again, yes! :D At around that point the trail went from paved to a tightly packed gravel trail with some loose gravel on top. I wasn't expecting this and it actually scared me a bit since my ankle was feeling wonky this morning and because anytime there is an uneven surface, my IT band seems to kick up. Luckily, this was not the case today. I maintained about a 12 minute/mile pace where I passed another runner at around mile 10...again!! Yay!! That doesn't happen often for's usually the other way around! I managed to keep pushing but my pace slowed slightly at about mile 12. I had to keep talking to myself to try to maintain or pick up the pace but even though I could see the finish line I found myself walking. I allowed myself to walk about 50 feet and then said that I would have to run the rest of the way and try to push for as fast as I could...which wasn't very much! I think the thing that probably kept me going was that I could hear the steps of the lady behind me and I wasn't ready to let her get ahead of me this close to the finish! I crossed the line and let out a huge sigh of relief with a smile on my face. I had managed to get a clock time of personal best so far!! I'm trying to find the website where final times are supposed to be posted, but I'm not having any luck. I'll probably have to contact the race director for the URL. Over all in my age group I was 4th out of six...darn!! Only 30+ minutes and I could have gotten 3rd and a plaque!! lol! No matter what I'm happy with my performance after a rough start to the day. I set a new PR and was able to apply to the Half Fanatics Club...the latter really being the only mission today!! So hopefully in a day or so I'll be able to say that I'm Half Fanatic #1982!! Whoohoo!

Finishers medal
Finished 4th in my age group,
Edit: Official time for the race is 2:37:31, my age division finish dropped from 4th to 5th. :(

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