Sunday, May 29, 2011

Worst run of your life?

I just had mine yesterday.  I can't even call it a run.  It was about 80% walking. TERRIBLE.

I was so tired yesterday, so idk if that was the problem or what?  I also didn't have my tunes because my phone was low on battery, so that could have been mentally psyching me out.  I wanted to run, but everytime I tried to I had to stop and walk because all of my muscles were so drained.  I even took an energy gel that I had left in my bag after the half marathon to see if that would help- it didn't.  Oh, and my calves were cramping up way worse than they already have been lately.

I kept thinking about sitting down and sleeping the whole time.  Not even joking, I was starting to get a little concerned.  I swear I was nodding off while walking at one point. 

But, not all was lost.  I got my new Garmin in on Friday and I wore it for the run yesterday- that thing rocks!  It is great knowing in real time how far you've gone, what your pace is, and what your course looks like on a map. 

So...what were your guys's worst runs? Has anyone ever experienced super fatigue on a run like I described??

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Recap of my most recent half marathon experience.

Quite simply?  I liked this race WAY more than my last half marathon.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

-------------------------------------The Day/Night Before-------------------------------------------

Nate and I drove down to Green Bay after dropping off the doggies at my work (I work at a vet clinic, which is super convenient for boarding!) Nate was not planning on going with me until the day of.  The original plan was for me to run the race with Stacey (WhoWantsToBeAMarathoner), but because of a family problem she could no longer go.  It made me sad, because we were planning on running this one together (unlike the last half marathon, which we never actually saw each other during)- but with the situation she is in, it is totally understandable.

Anyway, since I knew Stacey wasn't running with me, I still was going to go down Saturday and go to the expo, get my shit, run the race the next day, and then spend the night AGAIN because I knew I wouldn't want to drive after running 13.1 miles with little to no real training.  However...since Nate decided to go with me at the last minute, I now could come back the next day because Nate could drive me.  So, that was a big plus.

So, we drove down- in shitty shitty weather (raining, 40ish degrees), and I'm starting to get worried about the next day's weather. The forecast is for 50 degrees and raining...and all I can think about is how miserable the race is going to be for me if it is raining.

Next stop for us- Expo!

This is when I start to realize this race is the biggest race I've done BY FAR.  I mean...if you took all the races I've done and combined them, you wouldn't have enough people to run this race.  There were 12,000 people in all that ran the next day.  It was insane.  There were SO many booths- one at which I bought a new set of headphones since I left mine at home- more on that later (like, another post).  The check in process was pretty cool- you got your packet, and then you had to go and get your chip scanned to make sure it was linked to the right name. 

Nate and I ate at Curly's in Lambeau...which in retrospect was a bad choice, but not terrible...and then we went to the hotel and got checked in.  The hotel was nothing special, it wasn't terrible, but it did smell horribly of the chlorine from the pool.

-------------------------------------The Day of the Race-----------------------------------

I got up at 5am to take a shower and get ready.  The hotel had breakfast at 6am, and my cab was due to pick me up at 6:20.  The race started at 7:00 (which, in my opinion, is WAY too early.)  Well, the cab showed up at 6am and called me to see why I wasn't out there- I had to explain to them I had changed the time to pick me up the night before.  In fact, when I called the night before, they said they had no record of my 6am pickup (which, I had made a MONTH before....).  Anyway, he waited for me, so no biggie.

We got to Lambeau at 6:30am.  I wish I would have gotten there earlier- the line for the porta potties were insane!  There were at least 30 porta potties at the start line, but all of them had about 40 people waiting in line to use them.  You can sort of see them in the picture below...

Oh- the weather that I was worried about the night before.  It was in the 40's and was super windy.  It however, was not!

Anyway, I barely got to use the porta potties and then I had to get in line to start.  The anthem played...and then bam!  We were off!  Well...sort of.  Because I started so far back (since my lack of training and weight gain was going to lead to a pretty damn slow time), it took at least 10 mins to reach the start line.  After we got going, the sea of people I could see ahead of me was amazing.  Truly mesmerizing.  At this time there were also people with something "angel" on their shirts that were pushing mentally and/or physically handicapped adults in adult jogging strollers- it was awesome to see.  It was a little humbling that they were passing me, but whatever!  They were amazing.

At about 0.5 miles in I had to stop and stretch my calves.  I've had to do this A LOT recently in my training runs as well- especially my right calf.  I don't understand why...I would guess due to lack of training?

Every 1.5 miles or so they had porta potties, and every 3 miles or so they had a fluid station and later on things like energy gels, jellybeans, and vaseline.  Definitely the best organized race I've done.

By 4 miles, we were pretty much running with the groups we were going to run with the entire time.

"Please God, let there be someone behind me to read this".  I got a huge kick out of that!  
There was one girl in front of me who in my mind I called "purple runner girl" (because she was wearing a purple shirt and I'm super creative) that I was trying to keep up with.  Later on in the race she said "we're racing!" to me, because apparently she was also trying to keep up with me.  That was pretty neat.  She also said a really good quote- "No matter how shitty you think you're doing, remember, there is a person a half a mile behind you that is using you as inspiration!" 

Around every water station, they also had a band or some other type of entertainment.  One I really liked was near a church- their whole choir came out and was signing inspritational music for us.  I'm not a very religious person, but it truly was a spiritual lift for me to hear that music.  I want to say it was around mile 6 or so.

Shortly after the church group, there was a group on their lawn playing some type of bell instruments that were incredible to hear.  I wanted to stop and listen, but I had just taken the lead on purple girl, so I couldn't do it.

Shortly after THAT, there were two guys on their lawn handing out free beers to any runner that wanted them!  They were also keeping a tally of how many took them- by the time I passed, 15 runners had done so.  Only in Wisconsin!

Also, the spectators at this race were incredible!  Pretty much everyone was out in front of their house for this race (as most of it went through suburbs) cheering for us. They had made signs, kids were slapping my hand like I was an elite athlete....I felt like a superstar!

By this point in the race, the sun had come out and it was in the 50's.  In short, perfect weather!  Oh, except for the terrible 30mph wind.  But whatevs, I'll take some wind over rain or snow (see last post) any day!

By the time we got to the 9 mile station, they were handing out jellybeans.  I thought "yay, jellybeans!"  However, as soon as I bit into it, I though "OMG WHY DID I DO THIS??"  They were terrible!  I don't know if they were like "energy beans" or if jellybeans at this point were just gross, but yeah....spit those out quick.

Oh, and I want to mention even though they had extremely good and frequent water stations, I am very glad I used my Camelback fanny pack.  I love having the ability to take a drink whenever I want to, and as a person who doesn't sweat much, it's really nice to be able to douse my head/arms/whatever in water to cool myself down.

As we got near the end, we could see Lambeau, but we had to run past it and around it to finish out our last 3 miles.  I was prepared for this because a man on the course had mentioned how you shouldn't get excited when you see Lambeau and hear the crowd, because you still have 3 miles to still was pretty mentally challenging.  We were running into the wind at this point, and the wind was seriously strong enough to blow you one way or the other if it was blowing across that was pretty tough too.  At mile 11, the marathoners split off from us and ran another SEVEN MILES directly into the 30mph wind.  Ugh...I felt so bad for them.

After this, we got to run into LAMBEAU FIELD!  Which I feel is why a good 40% of the people who signed up for this run did it...just to touch the tundra.  Yeah...the Packers are pretty much a religion around here...and after winning the Super Bowl last year...even better!

See that guy leaning out in the background?  Yeah, I just slapped his hand.  Because I'm a superstar.  He had the good sense to recognize that.

At this point we were like 0.1 miles away from the finish.  Earlier, I had told my friend who was also running it that day (but we had no plans to meet up) that my goal was to finish in under 4 hours.  I truly thought I was going to walk 90% of this race.  However, I ended up running about 80% I would say...which is just awesome for how much I WASN'T trained.

Right before the finish line mat, there was a mat that you ran across and it read your chip so an announcer said your name as you crossed the line.  I thought that was an amazing touch.  Oh, also, there was mats throughout the course that would transmit your time via text to anyone you signed up for it- so of course I signed up Nate to get mine!

Yes, that is a Mylar blanket that I'm wearing as a skirt.  The volunteers wouldn't let me leave without one even though I was dying of heat.  Probably looked like I was going to die or something.  Minor.
Final time- 3 hours and 21 mins.  However, they later emailed us and said the course was accidentally was 13.25 miles, so they adjusted our times- making mine 3 hours and 18 mins.  Considering I ran the last one in 3 hours and 8 minutes and I was 20 lbs lighter and much better trained for it, I'm super happy with that time.  I'm also excited that I ran the farthest I've ever ran!!  As a side note- I ran even splits for the whole race, as indicated by my text times that were sent to Nate periodically.

This race got me super pumped for the Chicago marathon in October.  That one will have 30,000 racers and will have even better spectators!  I'm even actually training again.  And, I bought a Garmin today (should be here Saturday) so I can track my runs and my paces.  I have an app on my phone that will do that, but since I use my phone for music too, my battery life is shit- it will only last about 3 hours running Pandora and CardioTrainer.  This new HRM and GPS will take care of that for me!

I am definitely running this race next year, and I’m definitely a big race lover!  I would recommend it to anyone in the Wisconsin area.  You also shouldn’t miss this one  if you’re a Packer Fan!

Tee shirt and medal

Not sure why this is rotated??

Other side of medal....also not sure why rotated....

Well, if you actually read all of this super long post- you deserve a cookie!  Thanks!