Monday, April 29, 2013

Tobacco Road Half Marathon Race Recap

My new shoes from Disney!  They solved my foot pain!  The race was pain free!  When I got home, I was so pumped to run again.

And then it came back.  New shoes, same pain in my foot.  Damn.  I got an appointment with an orthopedic doctor, but I couldn't get in until after the Tobacco Road Half.  So, I skimped on training (who wants to run 20ish miles per week when it's painful and when it's cold out?) and kind of fought through.  Then, as a last effort for TR to not go terrible, I bought KT Tape and taped myself up.  I told myself "even if it really hurts, I'll just tell myself, this pain is temporary and a PR will outlast it!"

Spoiler alert: It didn't work.

Marissa and I foud the 2:10 pacers and decided we would try to stick with them for at least the first half of the race, and our first two miles clocked in sub-10:00 pace... but only 2 miles in the pain in my feet was so severe I *had* to stop and walk and stretch.  My third mile, betwen stretching and walking, clocked in on my Garmin at over 13:00 minutes.  Not a good look.

I ran/walked from miles 3-4.  I saw Scott around mile 4 and wanted to cry.  I thought about quitting.  Luckily, soon after that I started to feel better.  That is the weird thing about my foot pain - it flare somewhere between mile 1 and mile 2, but if I stop to walk and stretch for a good while, then I can continue running -- relatively pain free.  What is that about?

Anyway, once my pain subsided (around mile 4-5) I was able to keep a decent pace... not great, but decent.  I think I could have pushed harder, but I knew there was no way I could PR, so it was hard to stay super motivated to push through.  It was an out and back course with a turn around exactly at the halfway point, and my next three miles (4-6) were almost exactly at 10:30 pace.  On the turn around, I picked it up a bit (10:21), and then mile 8 was pretty hilly so that slowed me down (10:40).

Around that time I started to think about what a realistic finishing goal could be.  I reall didn't want to PW (personal worst), which meant beating 2:27, and at the same time a PR (sub 2:13) was out of sight.  I settled on sub 2:20 as my goal, and perked up in mile 9 after the hill (10:05 pace).  Then, my knee started to hurt for miles 10-11... stupid tendonitis!  Those miles were relatively slow (10:36 and 10:55), but I was pretty sure I could still come in sub 2:20.

I started to really push myself in mile 12 and clocked in at 10:09.  My knee was still hurting, but I was able to push it out of my mind and just focus on running the best I could.  During mile 13 we were turning back into the park, so there were more spectators, and I was able to speed up (9:41).  I'm pretty good about really pushing at the end of races, so my last 0.1 (or, according to Garmin, 0.2) was at 8:19 pace.

I ended up finishing in 2:18:39, around 6 minutes short of a PR.  Pretty good considering at least one mile took me over 13:00 and I was in pain/injured!
finished half marathon #4!
new medal!
After the race, I showered and then put on my race shirt and medal to meet some friends out for St. Patrick's Day festivities.
well deserved Bloody Mary
So, although I personally did not have a good race, I will say that I mostly liked it and would recommend it to others.  It's relatively small and running on the trail is nice.  It's flat (other than a bit of an uphill at mile 8) so it's a great course to try and PR on (Marissa KICKED ASS, but I'll let her tell her own story if she wants to blog about it!).  The post-race celebration was great - free beer and pizza (and oranges/bread/etc.).  On the flip side, since it's out and back there are relatively few spectators which makes it less exciting of a race.

After the intense pain of the race, I decided I REALLY needed to do something.  On Monday I got a sports massage and was able to talk with the massage therapist for a while about what she thought was going on and what types of stretches/exercises would be helpful.  I also had my appointment with an ortho doctor, who was unfortunately useless (I won't even bother going into that), but afterwards I was able to talk with a friend who is a physical therapist here and he referred me to a friend who was a physical therapist and marathon runner.  Unfortunately her first available appointment was nearly 4 weeks later, but I put it on my calendar and tried to follow the massage therapist's advice in the meantime.  I'll save my post about what's wrong with me according to who / etc. for another day!

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