Monday, January 29, 2018

Race Report: F^3 Lake Half Marathon

Toni and I got in pretty late Friday night, maybe 10 or 10:15pm, so I was very thankful that we had a late race start at 10am. Except I tossed and turned the whole night because some idiot forgot her ear plugs and hotels are loud AF. I also felt super overheated the whole night.

When we got up, I was pretty thankful that my stomach felt pretty good. During my race in Boston, I was shocked at how normal my stomach was pre-race. It was SO NICE. I still had to use the bathroom a million times more than a normal person, but so far so good! My stomach had been killing me on the last 3 hours of the trip, so I was so thankful it was being normal.

We had time to get to the stadium early, do some stretching, pick up our bib, wait in some more bathroom lines, and take some pictures by the field. I was just ready to GO.

We finally made our way outside and to the race start. We were some of the first people out there, so we hopped in at the 9 minute pace sign. Don't ask why Toni jumped in there, because there was no way in hell she was running a 9 pace. We hung out for a bit, and as people started filling in around us I told her we needed to snag a pic and she needed to get up closer to the 1:50 pacer. Going in to race day, I *knew* she was going to beat my half PR and I was so freaking excited for her. I thought she'd hit a really low 1:50, and maybe, just maybe if she was feeling ready to work super hard that last 5k, she could run under 1:50. And now I'm sure you know just how wrong I was about that prediction! #shesabeast

My race plan was to stick around 9:15 for the first 5 miles, speed up to sub 9 for the second 5 miles, and run as hard as humanly possible for the final 5k (8:30 pace was my A+ sort of day, final 5k hopes). This executed perfectly would have me at a 1:57. Perfect. Plenty of room to wiggle if necessary. It was sunny, 39 and a wind from the south, so we'd run into it for the first half, and it'd push us to the end. 

Let's go! We started out and I was surprised at how congested it was, but I was still able to run my own pace and settle in. I wasn't thrilled at how my legs felt, but after being in a car for 10+ hours just ten hours prior, I didn't blame them. But I figured they'd loosen up. Mile 2 I hit my intended pace pretty spot on and was feeling good. Mile 3 clicked off exactly as planned as well. The 2 hour pacer was in front of me from the start. They had 2 hours and 9:00 pace written on their sign. Within the first 5k I determined that they were definitely abiding by the 9:00 pace. This was good mentally as they were pulling away slightly but I was staying nice and even.

1. 9:23
2. 9:05
3. 9:12

It was around mile 3 that I thought of Toni's strategy of 5k, 5k, 5k, mystery mile, 5k and laughed because so far so good. My average pace was almost exactly 9:15! But I was a little concerned as to how high my heart rate was already..... 169-174 was.....high. Especially for the beginning of a race. But if it stayed right there, that just meant I was working hard, and it was okay that I was feeling labored! Onward!

I took a GU around mile 3 or 4 I think, I already can't remember, and was snagging a glass of water at each of the aid stations. Looking back, I should've been mindful that at 39 degrees it was MUCH warmer than what I had been training in, and probably should've drank a couple of glasses early on. The next "5k" felt much harder than it should've and my heart rate continued to just creep up and up.

4. 9:01
5. 9:17
6. 9:15

During mile 6 my heart rate averaged 176, hitting 179 as a maximum. For frame of reference, I do all of my training by heart rate. My maximum heart rate is 187. I do my long runs in the 150s, occasionally it'll hit 160 if we do a fast finish for a long run. Intervals might have me in the 160s-170s, I've raced 5ks recently where I didn't hit 170 for a heart rate. So this was.... alarming with 7 miles to go. Gulp. I took my salt pill around 6.5 miles.

Sidenote: prior to the race, I was looking at my heart rate data from my previous half. I had spent 4 or 5 minutes in zone 4 aka the threshold zone. I told Toni that I vowed to spend more time in zone 5 meaning I planned to really push and give it my all to fight for that sub 2. Lolz, foreshadowing you guys.

I saw Toni sometime during this stretch and she looked great, super strong, and definitely within striking distance of the 1:50 pacer. I also didn't know that she started in my corral, so I panicked a bit thinking that she was not having her best day either, as I expected to see her a bit sooner. Now it makes total sense that I saw her where I did.

Shortly after I saw Toni I let up on the pace a bit to see if that would trigger my heart to chill the eff out. Nope. We hit the turnaround shortly after mile 7 and I thought I was going to die. My stomach started cramping, and I was dry heaving. Woof. Mile 7's heart rate was 178 with a max of 181. Seeing this now, no wonder my body was like, peace out I'm DONE. I finished the  final .11 of the TC 10 mile race with the exact same stats and dry heaved my little face out when I was done. So I had hit my breaking point, and it sucked.

I started to walk, trying to get my heart rate to come down. And started to drink two cups of water at the aid stations. I walked for minutes (which felt like decades) and my heart rate was still crazy high and I felt really crappy. I convinced myself that I could slow down and because the first half was pretty speed, I could still run a faster time that I did in Boston. Which lasted for about 5 minutes until my heart rate was back to scary high and I was feeling nauseous. UGH.

After the second aid station of drinking 2 glasses of water, I did start to feel a bit better, or at the very least I was able to run for longer stretches of time, so maybe I was just really dehydrated? Regardless my pace was around 10 while I was running, and obviously much slower than that with the walk breaks. Just keep swimming.

7. 9:23
8. 11:06
9. 10:38

Even with all the walk breaks and slowed down pace, my heart rate data is still some of the highest for the day. Craziness.

I stopped even looking at my watch, my pace, zero calculating my finish time, just putting one foot in front of the other. I don't really remember much of the last part of the race with the exception of the finishing stretch. With a half mile to go, I tried to run as hard as my body would allow me, knowing that if I felt like crap at least I'd be done soon. Logic makes sense, right?

Toni's caption: “just keep smiling. This is fine. My intestines are on fire. My body is shutting down one system at a time, but it’s fine”

10. 10:12
11. 10:13
12. 10:18 
13. 9:59

.2 at 8:08 pace

For a time of 2:08:45 for 13.2 miles, 9:45 pace.

To say that I was bummed and upset was an understatement. This was the first half in a long time that I went into with all the confidence and strong training in the world, and to have my body revolt sucked. I thought I was struggling with gallbladder issues all week long, and blamed the poor race on that, but after a lot of time at the doctors last week, that's not what's ailing me. But after a week of reflection, I am choosing to see the positive in the race failure.

  • This race was 6 minutes faster than my half a year ago. A half in which I ran my exact goal pace.
  • This race was just 3 minutes slower than my half in May, where I had a really darn good day and ran my fastest time in YEARS!
  • In the past, I've had a tendency to undertrain and be over confident on race day and be shocked when I don't hit my race goal, and come up with excuses as to why it didn't happen. On this day, I am super proud when I look at my race data and see that I kept pushing even when my body was like da fuq?!?!

I'm so proud of this girl, and her monster PR, and I can't wait until we both have a most excellent race day together so we can have DOUBLE THE CELEBRATION!!!

Half marathon #33 is done!

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