Saturday, May 11, 2013

Find your happy pace: Mermaid East Bay Half Marathon

Mermaid Series: Best shirts ever!
After last week's Western Pacific HM, I felt pretty lousy, physically and mentally. I ended up being sick the entire week with a bad cold/sore throat, and I didn't work out at all except for an 8am CrossFit class on Monday (which was awesome, because I PRed my deadlift at 225lbs!!) - no running and no further CrossFit. I was feeling pretty miserable and depressed. My work wife/bestie Lisa kept telling me, "You know this is your body's way of telling you that you've been working too hard, right? You need to stop doing EVERYTHING and just rest." I grumbled about it, but forced myself to rest. (Well, actually, I tried to run Thursday morning. My body just wasn't having it.)

I was even dreading today's race a little bit because of all my time off, and because I was still feeling awful yesterday, and also because I knew it was going to be in the high-80's again, despite the strange cooling off we had this week, and again, Quarry Lakes just doesn't have a lot of cover. But of course I wasn't going to skip it, because 1) my bestie Rebecca was going to be there, and we haven't raced together since Disney World, and 2) I felt like I needed to restore my good name or something. I didn't want to let Quarry Lakes beat me.

Well... I am proud to say that I finished in 2:44:36, which is a brand-new PR!!!!!

How in the HELL did I drop fifteen minutes off my half-marathon time from last week (and ~2:30 off my previous PR)? Here's what was different:

- The weather. It was hot, yes, but a teensy bit less so, and there was a breeze (a SMALL one) that would pick up every now and then. There was also a bit more shade because...

- The course was different. The course in general went in the opposite direction of the WP race course, so we were running in the absolutely-shadeless gravel area early on instead of at the end, rejoined the same trail until mile 5, where it crossed a bridge and ran on the OTHER side of the creek from the WP race course - the tree-lined, asphalt side. Oh glory, hallelujah!! When I saw the turn-off for the bridge, I wanted to kiss the ground. Pavement. SHADE. We stayed on that side of the trail pretty much until mile 12, and I think that was a key difference for me.

- I ran a 5/1 interval. Considering how I've never run this interval before in any practice runs, I think this worked out really well for me. Last week, I had it set to 12/1, because I essentially wanted to take walk breaks only at every mile marker, and that was a colossal fail. I definitely wasn't ready to do that, especially not in that heat/sun. I actually really like this 5/1 interval because it's long enough for me to HAVE to find a comfortable pace I can sustain, but it's not interminably long either. (I have been known to push too hard on a 3/1 because it's pretty short, and then wear myself out because of it.) Aside from hills and water stops, I stuck to my interval pretty strictly until mile 9, stuck to it mostly until mile 11, and then pretty much took it easy for the last two miles. In the future, I'm hoping to be able to stick to it the entire time.

I'm feeling pretty good. I was definitely feeling the heat those last four miles, but aside from that and a little tiredness, my legs feel great. I do have a yucky blister on my foot though, and my throat is super scratchy right now.

I feel quite proud of myself. Considering how horrible I have felt since last weekend, this is a great pick-me-up :) Actually, it would seem that I bookended my week with a pair of PRs :) EXCELLENT.

The announcer lady had a heck of a time trying to figure out my name :)

Me, Becca's friend Tracie (this was her first HM!!), and Becca

Finisher's necklace... though, they didn't give us a chain...

HELLZ YES

Me and Amanda, who ran the 10k

LIKE A BOSS, YO
Next up on the race calendar - the Vibha Dream Mile half marathon in June.

Half marathon #8 on the year... IN THE BOOKS.

For the record, LISA, you were right and God bless you.