I saved up my miles this week and did a half marathon with Lauren today – the Melbourne and Beaches Marathon and Half Marathon. Here's a picture of us and a bunch of her fam after the race!
I was thinking about doing this race as a training run for Boston. To me, trying to do this length of a workout alone is pretty challenging, so a race is a great way to get motivated. However, I didn't want to go it alone, so I was really excited when Lauren contacted me herself and suggested we do this together!
We left around 6:25 this morning with a couple shots of espresso and drove the the start area. Since we are very familiar with the area, it wasn't too difficult to find parking even though there weren't a lot of indications for where to go. We made it up to the start area around 6:50, and started at ~7:00 am. The weather was pretty much perfect for running. At the start, the temperature was ~60 degrees F, and didn't get above 70 during the run. The sky was overcast, and there was a light drizzle and mist throughout the duration.
Lauren agreed to do the walk/run plan that I have been looking into recently. We ran a mile, walked 45 sec – 1 min, then ran the rest of the next mile. After walking at the beginning of mile 5, Lauren's cousin Richard and his wife Joanna caught up with us, and we ran pretty much the rest of the race together. We kept up about ~9:20 pace, but I was definitely feeling the burn, literally, at the beginning of mile 8. I asked if we could add a brief walk. This 45 seconds felt like a reprieve, but resuming the jog was nearly impossible. The break was a tease and even contributed to some cramping in my right calf. My recommendation to walk/runners would be to KEEP doing the walk portion throughout, but if you stop taking the walk breaks, do NOT resume them! It almost did me in…
The last 5 miles was ROUGH! The race course included two bridge crossings (Eau Gallie Causeway heading east, then Melbourne/SR192 Causeway heading west). The second bridge was after mile 11, so I was pretty much already DEAD. This bridge is also the longer of the two. Psychologically, I was done!
Well, in the end we all pushed through, with Lauren and I finishing in 2:03:49, at a pace of 9:27. Not bad, considering I have run 20 total miles since April 2010, and since Lauren had to stick with slowpoke me (thanks Milo)!
All told, I certainly learned from this experience. Here are my takeaways:
- Don't race unless you've trained (i.e run) at least a little bit! Now, if you are pretty fit and are planning to walk the majority of the race, I would say you would be fine. However, if you are going to push yourself, it is essential to get the miles in! I did my longest run of 5 miles last weekend at a 9:47 pace – that's about one third the effort I expended today. I would recommend doing at least a two thirds effort, maybe 75% effort, prior to a race.
- Fuel your body! Make sure to hydrate, eat before you run, and also eat a little bit along the way. I neglected to eat during the run until mile 9 or 10 – and it's left me with a splitting pounding headache the rest of the day! The last half I did I ate about 25-50 calories every 2 miles or so, and that left me feeling good in spite of the exhaustion.
- Rest before you run! I was foolish and did a lot of pushups, lat pulldowns, dips, abs, and the elliptical on Friday morning. I thought that 48 hours would be enough recovery time, but it was NOT. This left me with hip flexors that were screaming at me from mile 1, and left me hunched over at the end of the race. Everyone is different though, so while 48 hours might work for you if you are super fit, others might want to avoid overexertion two, three, or four days before a race. A light jog and stretch is probably the best way to go.
- Eat some protein afterward! I know there are many theories on timing your post-workout snacks relating to the percentage of carbe, protein, fat, etc… but the bottom line for me is PROTEIN! It helps me ward off headaches.
The good news was that my knee didn't bother me too much, and that we finished!
Here's the week in review!
|General Workout||Rest/ xtrain||Easy Run||Rest/ xtrain||Tempo run||Easy Run||Rest/ xtrain||Long Run|
|Planned 2009-10 Workout||Rest/ xtrain||6 mi @ 9:45||Rest/ xtrain||6 mi @ 9:45||Rest/ xtrain||Rest/ xtrain||6 mi @ 9:45|
|Actual 2009-10 Disney Workout||Bike 45 and ST||Rest||Bike 45||
|Soccer||3 x 800 w/ 800 cool||
9 mi @ 8:43
|Actual 2011-10 Boston WO12/20
||Stnry bike 30 min||push ups||ST, pullup and pushups||Rest||
Elliptical 30 min, pshup/ pullups