Monday, January 22, 2007

How NOT to run a half-marathon

1. Friday before the race, do a killer am masters swim.
2. Because, obviously, this isn't enough, do a very zippy 10K run that evening. Add some fartleks in there for good measure.
3. Saturday, the day before the race, bike 56 miles.
4. Make sure you have a good head-wind and some hills after the turn-around to really give yourself a challenge.
5. Wake up late so you have to rush to the start the morning of.
6. Get stuck in traffic trying to park and end up having to park a mile away from the start, 10 minutes before the gun goes off.
7. Sprint the mile to the start and jump into the crowd, muddling across the mats.
8. Spend the first 3 miles pushing it to try and catch up with your running buddies, who you know started before you.

Despite all this, I had the most awesome race. Actually, it was the easiest half-marathon I've ever done. OMG, did I just use the word "easy" and "half-marathon" in the same sentence? Don't ask me how that happened.

There were over 6000 people registered for the race. In spite of the hectic beginning, I actually did run into my running buddies at mile 3 (Jason had already taken off in front)! After this, we settled ino a nice, slow, relaxed pace for the next 7 miles, averaging about 10 min/mi.

At mile 10, we did a reality check. I felt GREAT! What? Huh? My running buddies told me to go on ahead. I took off after that. For the next 3 miles, I felt like I was flying, light on my toes. I surged up hills and charged down them. I gradually accelerated, and when I heard there was only 1/4 mile left to go, I sprinted. I surged down the chute (which always gets a lot of support from the spectators--bonus) and crossed the finish.

2:05 was my final time. Not my best, and I definitely wish it was a little better but I felt SO strong throughout. I know I could have done the whole thing faster, and I could have gone longer. I'm very happy with this because it felt so easy. I've never had that happen before. I've been training so hard and feeling pretty fatigued. This was the last thing I had to do before starting an earnest week of R&R. Now, I really feel like I earned it.

I took it easy the rest of the afternoon. I actually feel pretty good today. Not too sore and not any more tired than I have been on previous Mondays after a hard weekend. I guess I was ready. I feel caught up with my appetite. My weight has gone up a bit but my body fat has dropped and my clothes fit the same so I think it might be muscle weight (sure explains the strong feeling uphill).

The one thing I can't figure out is why I feel so wasted after my long bikes but so good after my long runs. This seems very counter-intuitive to me. Why is biking so hard and running so easy? Even when I do bricks, I feel better 1 mile into the run, than I do at the end of the bike. Maybe I'm just a runner at heart.

After this week, I think I'm going to keep the volume the same since aerobically and distance-wise, I'm there but try to work on adding back some speed and strength. I guess this is why they call that the "Build" phase. So that's what I'm going to do: Build.

Here we are after the half-marathon in Carlsbad yesterday. Post-race, pre-breakfast phase.
Left to right: Jason, me, Julie, and Mie Mie
Jason rocked this race in 1:45 (no fair!).

This photo was taken last weekend during our freezing-cold bike ride at the Wells Fargo Stagecoach Century in Ocotillo (Anza Borreogo Desert). As you can tell, we were both pretty cold. Jason was a lot happier after I gave him my booties.


bunnygirl said...

Great job on your half! I used to do the Covered Bridges half in VT every summer, and like an idiot I would always hike the nearby mountains the day before. LOL! But the half if a forgiving distance. It's challenging, but long enough that you can justify a second helping of post-race goodies.


Triteacher said...

You are too much!! #1-8 are firmly off of my list prior to my half in April. Really, that all just makes it more impressive that you felt so good. Congrats!

Bolder said...

tapering is highly over-rated...

well done!

JeffM said...

Good job on the half! The training is really paying off.

Jenö said...

Well done on the half! Good recovery, too, given that you took no time off prior to the race and ended up doing the first mile as a sprint (the mile between your car and the start that is!!). Looks like the training is coming together!

Cliff said...

My weight gone up during my training for HIM as well. If u feel good afte ryour long runs, I guess u need to do more of those *j/k*

Don't worry about the time. From the looks of it, this is more of a training run than an actual race.

It's a good sign that the half feel easy. Your aerobic base is widening, that's for sure.

Paul said...

Good job. At least with #7 you got a warm up :) and #5 allowed for some recovery sleep. You timed it juuuuust right.

Jodi said...

Great job! I was amazed in December how good I felt at my Half mary. This training stuff actually does work!


Lance Notstrong said...

I ran a half marathon 4 weeks before my full marathon where it felt easy, but my time was 2:16.

RunBubbaRun said...

Anybody can race when they are rested. It takes alot of strength to race when they might be tired. Great job on the race and also the bike ride.

Kate said...

Go Jason!

Great job on feeling strong on such a hard week! Time is not as important as feeling good and keeping going :-) That's what you need for the half IM- not a sub 1:50!

Andy said...

Awsome race despite all you went through (both good and bad) before and the morning of race day! You know you have accomplished something when you can do all that and still say, "Wow, this was pretty easy!"


Zoo said...

At least you finished, that's a plus in my book any day. Great job!