Posts tagged ‘race recap’

Turkey Trots

Happy Thanksgiving from the great city of Philadelphia! My brother and I made the 8-hour drive yesterday, getting home just after 9:00pm. And then this morning, all (but one, sigh) of my brothers and I got up to run in the Fairmount Park 5 Mile Turkey Trot in Philly.

It was really important for me to run a race today, because last year I ran in the Cincinnati Thanksgiving Day Race – the first race I had ever run (and the first time I really had ever seriously run before in my life).

Though I didn’t start running regularly until March, I definitely credit the 10k in Cinci as giving me the “running bug” – it was such an awesome experience to run with so many people, and the sense of accomplishment I got after finishing was amazing.

The race today was alright – it was pretty small and much less high tech than any race I’ve run in before. Instead of having chips, our times were recorded as we crossed, and we tore off part of our bibs for the finishing order.

I felt pretty crappy for most of the race, truth be told. I got a cramp, and my right heel felt unbelievably tight. 

Around mile 4, though I felt a lot better (I think this bodes well for my marathon – I’m so much more comfortable running long distances than short). I finished in 41:28, which is a lot better than I was expecting, given how bad I felt – that’s a 8:17 min/mile pace! Comparatively, last year I ran my 10k at a 9:54 min/mile pace – a pretty good improvement, I’d say :)

I think running on Thanksgiving might be my favorite new tradition. It’s so nice to accomplish something in the morning, and then be able to go home and really enjoy the Thanksgiving feast.

Speaking of which, a full recap of Thanksgiving Day eats will be recapped after they’ve been eaten :) Enjoy your day!

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November 26, 2009 at 1:32 pm 1 comment

Done and Done

Well, that’s that. I finished my first real road Half-Marathon this morning. And it was so much fun!

I woke up got out of bed at 5:20 (as per usual, I woke up a few times during the night, and finally couldn’t get back to bed at 4:30) and chowed down on my usual pre-run fuel.

The race started in downtown Detroit at 7:15, and even though my brother and I left Ann Arbor at 5:45, after a bit of sitting in traffic, parking and walking to the start, I was rushing to use the bathroom and find my place in line.

It was cold this morning (around 35 degrees at race time), so I was rocking the headband, gloves, a jacket, my shorter pants, and sleeveless shirt under my jacket. I love my Under Armor jacket – it keeps me warm,  but I don’t get overheated. When I do get a little warmer, I just unzip it (there was a lot of zipping and unzipping, depending on whether or not we were running in the sun :).

The Half and the Marathon started together, and actually ran together almost the entire 13.1. As there were approx. 20,000 runners, this meant for some pretty crowded conditions, almost the entire race.

The multitude of people was actually a welcome change from my Trail Half-Marathon, especially since I made the (very last minute) decision to not use my iPod. I usually run without music, but I’ve never done a race without it before. But I really wanted to take in everything, instead of zoning out to my music, and I didn’t want to have to deal with any technical difficulties. I was kinda scared when I started (and maybe could have used a little musical pick-me-up at around Mile 10), but I survived, and barely missed it at all.

Miles 1-2: Very slow going and very crowded. I tried to go about 9 minute miles, and tried to stay pretty close to the 2:00hr pacer.

Miles 3-6: Over the bridge to Canada! This was possibly my favorite part of the whole race. Because it was still cold and at the beginning of the race, going up the bridge wasn’t that bad at all. The sun was just rising, and the huge mass of people already on the bridge made a really cool silhouette. When we were actually on the bridge, the sun was peeking over Windsor – I wish I had had a camera! After the bridge, the run through Windsor was great – I started to speed up a bit, and at about 45 minutes in, I ate two Sharkies.

Miles 7-8: Through the tunnel back to America! There was a great downhill into the tunnel (followed by a not-so-bad uphill out of the tunnel), and although it was a little warm, it was thrilling to be running “underwater”. I actually think they might give “Underwater Mile” splits (race results aren’t up yet), so I’m interested to see that!

Miles 8-9: There was great crowd support during this part, so although I was starting to feel it a bit, I was still doing okay. I took two more Sharkies during this time, just for a little pick-me-up. It’s funny – I thought I wouldn’t like the mile markers at every mile, but it was so much nicer to know how far there was to go, so I could pace myself accordingly.

Miles 10-12.5: This was definitely the roughest part of the race for me. I didn’t know my time (I was specifically not looking), but I wanted to speed up a bit for the last 5k. Unfortunately, my left knee started to really hurt, and it was just a really uncomfortable couple of miles. I tried to keep the same pace, and just kept moving forward.

12.5-13.1! – The knowledge that I was almost there made me forget about my knee pain and I sped up as best I could. The mass of people surrounding the last .1 mile made it really easy to make it to the finish :)

According to my watch, I finished around 1:55 (I beat the 2hour mark!); I can’t wait to see the official results.

The victory of the finish was slightly tainted by a runner who had collapsed :( I moved quickly to the side, and grabbed a space blanket, my medal, and a goodie bag from Whole Foods!

I found my brother, who snapped a oh-so-flattering post-race photo :)

Hopefully the official photo is better…

After the race (and about 45 minutes driving around Detroit trying to avoid the Marathon…), my brother and I went to Benny’s Family Dining, a greasy spoon diner in Ann Arbor. Honestly,  fancy brunches are wonderful, but sometimes nasty hash browns and hot chocolate from a machine is just what the doctor ordered :) I also had a veggie omelet (with egg whites, cheese, onions, peppers and mushrooms) and half a biscuit (which tastes purely of flour). Unpictured, because I forgot my camera in the car, but I promise you, it was entirely unremarkable (if delicious).

And now? It’s my favorite post-race activity – vegging on the couch, reading blogs and watching TV :) I’ve been pretty hungry, too:

If I get really motivated, I might go take a nap :) I love post-race Sundays!

PS: I really want to run a marathon now…

October 18, 2009 at 3:00 pm Leave a comment

This is It!

Well. That was without a doubt the most physically and mentally exhausting and difficult things I’ve ever done in my life. The course description on the race website describes it as a “very hilly single track Potawatomi Trail, a beautiful wilderness experience”. And my were they correct on both counts.

So anyway, on to the race. I didn’t sleep very well last night; I kept waking up, and the during the final hour of sleep I got, I even dreamt about running! I woke up at 5:50am so I could make sure I had everything, and eat a little something.

Looking back on it, I think I would have eaten a bit lot more. I usually only eat the banana/PB combo before I run, but I was starving by the end.

My brother-cum-roommate was kind enough to accompany me, and also to serve as my photographer :) It took about half an hour to get there, and when we arrived, I started getting pretty nervous. Not because of the race itself, though, but because it was still pretty dark (we arrived around 7), and I was afraid I’d be running through the woods in the dark!

Luckily, it got light really quick!

As I mentioned awhile ago, the run I was doing was called “Run Woodstock”, which was put together by the local running store. It’s the first year of the race, takes place where I volunteered a few weeks ago, and featured a 5 mile run, a half-marathon, marathon, a 50k, 50 mile, and even an 100 mile race! I admit, that was part of the appeal of signing up for me – I wanted to see a 100 mile race in action! (As it turns out, I only saw some 50k people, but even so! I can’t imagine having done a marathon on that trail, let alone a marathon x4!). It really took the “Woodstock” theme literally – there was tie-dye everywhere, live music, and the race events were actually set up over the course of 3 days, with camping options available!

A bit before 7:30, we all lined up behind the starting line

and at 7:30 on the dot, we were off!

Most of the race was run on a dirt trail, though occasionally it was on grass, or even a boardwalk at a few different points. This also meant that there were rocks, roots, mud, puddles, and wet leaves – although it didn’t rain during the race (thank God!), it had rained a little last night, so everything was a bit…slick. I saw a few different people fall, one guy was running with a definite leg injury, and my brother said he saw someone stumble out of the woods muddy and bloody…I slipped a few times, but I was luckily able to right myself.

It was also more hilly than I could have ever imagined. There was very little flat terrain; most of the time was spent either running up, or running down. Or in my case (especially during the second half) walking up, and hopefully running down.

The first four miles I was really able to appreciate the “beauty of the wilderness” – I’m sure I started way too fast, due to the adrenaline, the effect of being in a big group, etc. But I didn’t even turn my music on; I just ran and enjoyed the scenery.

Mile 4 brought my first really big mental block – I took advantage of the aid station, but then it really hit me how far I still had to go, and I was starting to lose a bit of momentum, as the trail so far had been pretty hilly. I turned on my music for a bit of motivation, and continued on. And then it started to get really hilly – I’m talking pretty vertical at some points, and very long, continuous climbs at others. As much as I hated to do it, I had to stop and walk many of the hills – this is the only thing I probably could have prepared a little more for (though, at the same time, I probably wouldn’t have made it through every single one no matter what I did!).

After 45 minutes of running, I took the first of my two Sharkies, which gave me a great energy boost. And then around the hour mark, I came across what I thought was just an ultra aid station, so I didn’t take anything. Big mistake! The half hour between that, and 1:30 (when I told myself I would take my last two) dragged like no other.

Not long after that, I came across the final water stop, where my brother was waiting with the camera!

He informed me that there was only 4.2 miles to go, and I took off, re-energized.

I routinely do 4 miles; in fact, it’s one of my favorite distances to run. I figured I had it, no problem.

…Not quite.

Aside from the obvious convenience it would provide, I’ve never really wanted a Garmin (well, that’s partially a lie. I would not at all say no if someone were to just give me one :). I tend to work against myself if I know how far or how fast I’m going – I would rather just run and then figure out all the specifics later. But I have never wanted anything more in my life during that last 4.2 miles than I wanted a Garmin.

There were absolutely no mile markers along the trail, so I had no idea how far I’d gone, and since it was through the woods, there were no visual clues either. I also had no clue how fast I was going, so there was no way to base distance off of my time. It was literally the longest 4.2 miles of my life. I started out really strong, and then it just dragged longer and longer, and to make matters worse, the trail wasn’t as clearly marked as it had been at the beginning, so I was scared I was going the wrong way. The race had also really thinned out by that point, so aside from a few 50k racers, there was no one I could ask. At one point, I was honestly just walking along the path, close to tears, because I was sure that there was no way I would be able to finish.

Finally, after way way too long (it took me about 50 minutes to do that last 4.2), I heard the music that had been promised for the finished. So I kicked it into gear, and I finished as strong as I could muster.

Keeping with the “Woodstock" theme, the finishing medals were dog tags with “3 Days of Peace, Love & Running, Hippie Half Marathon, Run Woodstock” inscribed on them.

According to my unofficial results, my time was 2:28.57. And I couldn’t be happier with that time. I even did well enough to finish third in my age group (not too much of an achievement, as it’s possible there was actually only three people in my age group…), and score an awesome medal!

Quite honestly, I don’t know that I would ever do a trail race again. Or at least not alone – I might consider a Dances with Dirt type relay. But at the same time, I think it was a great half-marathon to start off with – any road race will seem much easier compared to this! And there’s no way I won’t PR…Maybe I’ll consider doing the Detroit Free Press Half afterall!

I did have lunch with my running buddy after we returned today (of which I have no pictures because I’m still a bit shy about taking pictures in public, but she made pasta with goodies from the Farmers’ Market – squash, DELICIOUS tomatoes, onions, olive oil, etc.), but now I’ve assumed this position:

And I can’t imagine myself moving anytime soon :)

September 26, 2009 at 5:43 pm 1 comment


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