IronGirl Clearwater Half Marathon Race Report

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This is the first race I’ve ever done where I slept like a baby the night before the event.

Granted, that’s probably because two nights before the event I went out with the hubs and got completely wine wasted, stayed up till 3 a.m., had to wake up for work at 6 that morning and didn’t let myself take a nap, but I digress.

All things considered, that was actually, apparently, a really smart idea.  I fell into bed the night before the race by 8:30, and when my alarm went off at 4:15 a.m. I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to go.

The drive from my home to Clearwater was uneventful, and by the time I arrived and found parking, the sun was starting to peek out over the horizon and the day was shaping up to be a beautiful one.

Oh, and I had drank so much water and coffee that I had to poo and pee like, immediately.  So I made good friends with a port-o-potty.  And YAY, that was the only time I had to get friendly with that stinky receptacle for the day.  10 points for me.

This is what I look like at 5 a.m.  I'm smiling, so this is totally after I pooped.
This is what I look like at 5 a.m. I’m smiling, so this is totally after I pooped.

I had done this half marathon before, back in 2011, which was the first year they had it.  The course had changed since then, and I was excited to learn we’d be running along the water, and over and back two of the most beautiful bridges along the way.

Going into the race I knew there would be steep bridge repeats, four total, but I hadn’t really planned for how that last one beginning at the 12 mile marker would feel.

And honestly, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t think too much about it on the front end.

Starting line... 321 GO!
Starting line… 321 GO!

The race was amazing.  We started right on time, and within less than a mile the herd had thinned out and there was room to find your groove.  I even hooked up with a friend of mine, Erin, and we took a running selfie!  She and I hung together for a mile or two before her speedy needs got the best of her and she took off. Go girl!

This is what a running selfie looks like!
This is what a running selfie looks like!

All in all, the race was perfect.  Miles 1-10 felt amazing.  My 5k time was right on target of my goal pace, and my 10k was trending just a bit ahead of where I expected it to be.  My legs and lungs felt great, and I stuck with a cup or two of water at every aid station.  The course was beautiful, and the volunteers were amazing.

Mile 10 marked the first of the two return trips across the bridges.  On the way over I had run up each, but for the first time in the race outside of taking in some water, I slowed and walked up the bridge.  My heart rate stayed under control, but my quads were starting to really not love life.

Check out that view!
Check out that view!

This bridge is the steeper of the two, and after only about a half mile I was on top.  I enjoyed the view for just a moment, looking across the water to the next bridge that awaited me, and started running my way down.

By mile 11 my legs were questioning my sanity, and I started with run/walk intervals.  After checking my pace on my trusty Garmin I realized that I was on target to PR by nearly 10 minutes, if I could just keep my last two miles under 14 minutes each.  Given that I had kept well under that pace up until that point, I knew I could do it.

I was actually moving slowly enough I took this pic and it's not even a bit blurry... what's that tell ya?
I was actually moving slowly enough I took this pic and it’s not even a bit blurry… what’s that tell ya?

Then we hit mile 12, and you know how people say the “wheels came off?”  Yeah, I totally understand that saying now.  It felt like one minute I was chugging along and the next I was lucky to be walking.  My quads were cramping so intensely every step was actually painful to the point that I’m certain I cried out a few times, and the last bridge was really an exercise in will power.

Never once did I think I would quit, but it was absolutely hard to convince myself to keep going.

In the end, that last mile took me 25 minutes.  I didn’t PR, in fact, I finished about 8 minutes slower than the last time I did the race.

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My husband had been tracking me on my Garmin, and when I called him after I finished the first words out of his mouth were, “I’m so sorry!”

He fully expected me to be devastated, as I had been so close to a huge PR.

Funny this was, and is, that I’m not.  Sure, it would have been awesome if my increased strength, fitness, and solid training had resulted in a mile 1 to mile 13.1 strong and amazing race.  But it didn’t.

That doesn’t mean I’m not super proud of my effort.

I haven’t raced in years due to a stressful work environment, and a ton of weight gain.  This is the first time since 2011 I’ve even been in good enough shape to consider doing a half marathon.

The last time I ran this race I did it “just to finish.”  This time, I actually trained and pushed myself to finish faster than before.

finisher medal

Clearly, there were some gaps in my training, and knowing that is going to make me even more prepared for the rest of my races this season.  But I’ve gotta tell ya, even with that last excruciating mile, I am damn proud of my effort.

So MEOW kittens!

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Did anyone else have races this weekend?  How did they go?  What did YOU learn for next time?

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I need help… and I’m willing to show a little leg to get it!

Look at me go!
Look at me go!

So my vagina wanted to divorce me on Sunday.  True story.

See, I’m signed up for the American Diabetes Association’s annual Tour de Cure ride at the end of March, and I am raising money and riding miles to support this great organization. (If you want to support me, please go here.  Every single dollar makes a difference and I NEED help to raise the most money possible!)

And when I say miles, I’m not kidding.  I’m riding sixty freaking two of them.  That’s a long time in the saddle kids.

This past Sunday was a good warm up event, and I got my cycle on with a 40 mile distance.

I’m not going to lie, I was SUPER nervous going into this ride.  I had a friend to ride with, and had been putting in the training and the miles leading up to it, but 40 would be the longest ride I’ve done yet and I was a little concerned my body wouldn’t hold up.

Luckily, I was wrong.  I felt GREAT.  Amazing even.  When we got to 10 miles I didn’t believe we were there already.  At the rest stop at 20 I was itching to get back on my bike. At 30 I was still laughing and having a great time, and even pulling the pack a bit.

But at about 35 miles, while taking stock of how my body felt, I realized a somewhat unpleasant truth.

Despite the extremely padded bike shorts, the plethora of chamois butter, and the time spent training, my lady bits were KILLING me.

How does one get THAT into better shape?

My legs… my LEGS

Why oh why did I think it was a good idea to do “Barbara” after over a month away from Crossfit?

That was Friday.  Today is Tuesday and I am just now able to stand up and sit down without literally needing to use my arms to balance the majority of the weight.  My quads are STILL screaming at me, and I honestly think I should probably avoid squatting for another day or two yet.

I’ve done two EASY 30 minute rides, a lot of foam rolling and stretching, and am still not normal human again.

I wish I were exaggerating.  Yesterday I went to the grocery store and was asked three times by random strangers if I had “hurt myself” or “twisted my ankle” because of the way I was walking.

So yeah, clearly I’ve lost some fitness.

I want to go to CF tonight, but it’s going to be an easy does it workout for sure.

How’s everyone’s New Year’s goals going?

9.27.2013

6 a.m. and the weather was amazing!  Living in Florida we totally consider it Fall when it drops out of the 80s.  This morning when I left for CF it was 72, and it felt spectacular.

Warm Up:  The usual stuff.  Took some time with the foam roller today as my legs are pretty darn sore. 

Mobility:  T-spine with double LAX balls and pec roll out with a softball.  For the record, my boobs are too big to use a LAX ball for the pec roll out.  I end up mashing them into the ground and not getting anything worthwhile accomplished.  Remember that for next time.

SWOD:  Press 4×6
1×10 @ 33 warm up
2×6@53
1×4@63
1×2@53
1×6@53

Ah the press.  My love/hate relationship with this movement never ends.  I’m pretty strong over head, and if I could just PUSH IT so much more weight goes up.

But no matter.  Today was a focus on form.  I thought I had 63 but it ended up being too much.  I should have tried 58 on the last set, but as our WOD had more overhead I decided that my shoulders didn’t deserve that much punishment.  I’m pleased with this effort.  The longer sets are definitely harder for me.

WOD:  Grace- 30 Clean and Jerks for time

Time: 6:something @ 53 lbs

So as long as I don’t have to squat, I love cleans.  I’ve actually been looking forward to doing this workout again, as last time we did it I was three days out of a cast for a broken hand and had to use the 15 lbs dumbells because I couldn’t yet grip a bar.

I wanted to go heavier on this today, but I also didn’t want the WOD taking me 15 minutes, so I stuck with a weight that I knew I could do multiple reps touch and go.

This went really smooth through the first 20.  After that, it started to feel heavier, and I was REALLY feeling it in my lungs.  I had to take a few breaks just to take a few deep breaths.  Weird.

The last 3 reps were tough, but I tried to just concentrate on my form as much as possible.

The last rep, I knew it was going to be heavy overhead after all the press work and 29 jerks before it, so once I completed the clean I gave myself a breath, a deep dip and drove the bar as hard as I could towards the ceiling.

Too bad I totally forgot to MOVE MY HEAD OUT OF THE WAY before I did that.

I knocked myself in the chin so hard I saw stars and almost fell over.

To my credit, I had so much power behind the jerk that even with my noggin getting in the way I STILL managed to lock the bar out overhead and finish that last rep.

At the moment though, I’m black and blue, have a knot the size of about a ping pong ball on my chin, AND I broke the skin.

I kinda look like Quagmire from Family Guy.

Giggity.
quagmire