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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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myrtle beach half marathon

Myrtle Beach Half Recap

There is something about taper week that just makes my body shut down.

Last year, a mere day before the Myrtle Beach Marathon, I woke up feeling tired, icky, and run down. Luckily, I was able to go home early and rest before we left, and rest in the car, and by the evening I felt better. I PR’ed the marathon distance the next day.

Not to be outdone, I woke up the Tuesday before the half feeling tired, icky, and congested.  Wednesday I felt slightly better, but had no voice. Thursday I felt better than Wednesday. By Friday, the day I hoped and expected to feel even better,  I battled a cough and felt tired and icky again. I took meds all week and rested as much as possible. No cancelations Friday so I couldn’t go home early, and to make matters worse, Bryan had taken a pain pill (he is still dealing with shoulder surgery recovery) and couldn’t drive. So, no resting in the car.

About 2:00 Friday afternoon I began mentally preparing myself to not “race” this race. I knew that as long as I didn’t wake up feeling worse the next morning I’d be able to run it but a PR was out of the question. I tried to focus on the fact that I was not injured (as two of my friends were) or so sick I couldn’t run at all (as another friend was), but of course I was still bummed.

I got home from work around 4 and Bryan and  I left around 4:30. My parents had agreed to take the kids for THE WHOLE WEEKEND, so I figured even if my run didn’t go as  planned, we still had that. It was a pretty uneventful ride out. We stopped at my favorite place ever for dinner (Chick-Fil-A) and arrived at packet pick up at around 7:15. Bryan waited in the car so I didn’t get the traditional pic holding my bib (though I guess I could have asked someone to do it for me) but I did get a couple fun items at the expo.

 

We got to the hotel around 8:30 and the rest of the evening was spent prepping (including meds) and resting.

That night, like every night before a race, I slept like crap. I swear I woke up every 30 minutes. More importantly though, I woke up feeling better! I got dressed, drank some coffee and hitched a ride to the start with a fellow speed work friend (Bronwen), looking to PR her marathon time.  Race morning was CHILLY (yes!) and we arrived at the start around 6am. We stood outside freezing for a few minutes while I ate my Clif bar and then we did a quick and easy warm up. I tried to get in touch with the rest of the group to meet them at the start, but never could find them, so I took a solo start photo.

We had quite big group racing this weekend, each with his/her own goals. John was aiming to BQ, Bronwen to finish in 3:30, Melissa to run the half in under 1:33 (sheesh). Amy had originally planned to aim for a 1:35 PR as well, but was sadly out due to injury. My goals were as follows:

Stretch goal: 1:42:30 (7:49 average – I liked the even finishing number)

A goal: 1:42:36 (7:50 average)

B goal: sub 1:44:48 (anything under 8:00 average)

C goal: finish and don’t die (always a good goal)

At 6:30 the gun went off and the race began.

Miles 1-3 (7:49, 7:49, 7:50)

I felt great the first mile, but typically do during the first mile of any run or race, until my heart rate catches up with me if I happen to be going too quickly. I actually got stuck behind some slower runners despite starting pretty close to the line, so started out at about an 8:30 and had to catch up. I saw Melissa ahead of me doing some of her own runner dodging, but kept myself from calling her because 1. it would be distracting and 2. I knew if I was going to do this I needed all my energy. She quickly disappeared from sight.Thankfully I completed mile 1 and still felt great into mile 2 and 3. I actually had to make myself slow down. I did stop for some gatorade at mile 2.

Miles 4-6 (7:52, 7:51, 7:55)

Slightly slower these three miles but this was partly due to the water stop at mile 4, and the part where I took my ear warmer off and dropped my sunglasses. I had to run backwards to get them, so I was pretty impressed that my 4th mile wasn’t slower between the two stops. Somewhere into mile 6 I started to feel a little wheezy ( I took one puff before the race which is usually enough but when I’m congested I need it more often) so I also lost time there at the water stop digging for my inhaler and my preventative ibproufen (that I only use during races to fend off soreness).

Miles 7-9 (7:41, 7:43, 7:52)

I pulled my headphones out for the second half of the race but was happy to realize I hadn’t really struggled without them. It gave me a boost of energy and  a couple faster miles, and I felt surprisingly strong. I saw John briefly, as he passed me. Mile 8 even included a water stop. Somewhere between 8 and 9 I passed Melissa, so I knew something was wrong, but I knew talking would wind me so I squeezed her shoulder as I went by. Mile 9 we made our way onto Ocean Blvd, and here is where I began to feel the wind. And actually, it wasn’t the wind that was so bad, but this pathetically slight but gradual incline through most of mile 9.

Miles 10-13.1 (7:50, 7:52, 7:53, 7:45, 7:02 last .1)

Y’all. That stupid wind and pathetic incline KILLED ME here. My paces weren’t far off my overall goal but considering where I was at mile 7 and 8 I could feel the difference. The last 3 miles took so much more effort. I thought I’d get a reprieve when we turned off Ocean Blvd but I was immediately greeted with a more legit hill. FFS. I skipped the last two water stops because I was nearing the point of feeling like stopping would just make it that much harder to get going again. I felt seriously ridiculous that the tiny inclines affected me that much, but all things considered, I was still very close to goal pace. The final mile was nothing but grit and determination. Seriously.

I crossed the finish clock almost exactly at 1:42:36, BUT, my official time was 1:42:17!!

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After finishing I collected my medal and tried not to puke. Then I found Amy, who had graciously come along as the Pit Crew even though she was injured. We chatted for awhile while following the rest of the group, mostly waiting for Melissa. Once we had confirmation she made it across we set out looking for her, and luckily she was well taken care of thanks to Wise Man and his wife. She had also been sick the week before, and thought she was feeling better but her body revolted. I hitched a ride back to my hotel with Amy (thanks Amy!), where I rested until mid afternoon, enjoying the nice beach view from the window. I asked Bryan to take a picture of me with medal and he tried to get all creative, telling me to sit on the ledge and look out the window. This picture is literally catching me asking him “why?!”, but turned out really cute.

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We spent the rest of the day walking around Broadway on the Beach, stopping in almost all the restaurants, deciding we didn’t want to eat there, and ended up at Applebees of all places.

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After all the crazy maybe illness/maybe allergies drama, I’m convinced this race ended up such a success because of all the rest I was forced to take. I ran less than 8 miles and swam once the whole week before, taking 3 full rest days. So I now have this documented so I can remind myself next time: MORE REST! REST REST REST!

Final Results

Chip Time: 1:42:17

Overall: 177/2511

Gender: 46/1509

Age: 12/167

I Have A Need for Speed (2/27-3/5)

This week could also be named “The Workout Week That Wasn’t”, and not just because it happened to be race week.

Monday cross – swim 1600 meters. Good news for this swim – my warm up swim speed is about back to normal! I’ve spent the last couple swims really focusing on drills, and hope to really get some good technique down by joining Masters Swim at the YMCA this Spring.

Tuesday – short tempo. 4 miles with 2x 1/2 mile @ 10k pace and 2x 1/2 mile at 5k pace with 400m recovery. This workout felt difficult for a couple reasons. One, it was 65 degrees  and humid when I started it and two, I wasn’t feeling 100%. I woke up feeling congested and worn out, but hoped it was just leftover congestion from the pool water the day before (something in that pool irritates my sinuses). I got it done, though, so yay for that.

Wednesday rest. I woke up with no voice, and still felt worn down. I had planned to do an easy run at speed work but decided to take an extra rest day instead, hoping I’d recover enough for the race.

Thursday easy run. 2.75 miles @ 8:22/mile. I woke up still without a voice but not feeling as fatigued, so I did a short easy run.

Friday rest. Friday I started coughing and the fatigue came back. At some point that afternoon I resigned myself to the fact that I probably was not going to PR this race, but tried to stay positive that I was not injured and not so ill that I couldn’t run at all.

Saturday race day 13.1 miles, if you want to know my pace you’ll have to read my upcoming recap, or have followed me on Facebook already 🙂. Bryan and I enjoyed a kid free weekend though.

Sunday rest.

We finished the plank challenge, and have moved into a squat and pushup challenge, which brings with it a whole new set of fun picture ideas. 🙂

 

Stay tuned for the race recap!

I Have A Need for Speed (2/20-2/27)

Well we are down to the last couple weeks of training for this race already, but I am tired and ready for taper, so bring it on.

Monday cross – ride 16 miles @ 19.2 MPH I got a little overzealous with this one. The weather this winter has been extremely bipolar and I swear we’ve hit every season every week so far, with lows to highs ranging from mid 30’s to nearly 80. It was a warm morning so I hopped on my bike for the first time in months, and was excited to see that my speed training in running seemed to have crossed over to the bike. So excited in fact I decided I could do my whole ride at 19+mph.

Tuesday tempo – 1 WU, 3 @ 7:50, 2 @ 7:40, 1CD 7 total. Yesterdays fast bike ride turned out to be a stupid move. I killed my quads going that fast  and while it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal normally I think the fact that I hadn’t ridden that long or hard (thats what she said) in months played a part here. So, I got this run done, but not without a couple rest breaks.

Wednesday – speed. 5 x 1200 @ 10k pace with 400m recovery. I didn’t keep to 10k but didn’t any faster than 5k, so I didn’t quite slow down as much as I had planned but was still slower than speed work pace (6:45).

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Thursday – easy run/yoga. 3.33 stroller miles/20 minutes yoga and stretching. Thursdays are the hardest day because I can never decide what I want my workout to be. I think this is partly because its my 6th day in a row and I’ve about hit the point where I need a break. So I asked the twins if they wanted to play while I worked out inside, or go running snacks. Guess what they picked? Afterwards they got out of the stroller and ran a quarter of a mile on their own!

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my kids are awesome 

Friday rest

Saturday long. 8 miles 4 @ 8:30,  4 @ 7:50. This run was, unfortunately, harder than I hoped. This happened to me the last time too so I dunno if I’m really overshooting with my goal here or just easily affected by the weather, as the last 4 miles were in 60+ temps. No, that doesn’t sound all that warm, but speed just becomes harder for me once it is above 55. I guess time will tell here.

Sunday cross. 55 minutes of yoga. 

And, for once i’m still participating in a 30 day challenge and working on my creative pics. We are up to 3 and a half minutes. M and M’s were involved.

I Have A Need for Speed (2/13-2/19)

This week was a bit rougher, training wise. My stomach was feeling “off” for lack of a better word, on and off the whole second half of the week. Luckily it never turned into anything. Bryan also had shoulder surgery Monday, so there has been a lot of extra house duties for me recently. Also, I’m tired.

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Monday cross. 2000 meter swim. I focused a LOT on technique and drills this time, following a suggested workout from a website I found posted on Facebook. The theory here is you have to go slower in order to go faster, and I can tell you without a doubt I have zero issue with the slower part.

Tuesday tempo. 2 miles @ 7:50 (half pace), 3 min recovery, 2 miles @ 7:33 (10k pace), 3 min recovery, 2 miles @ 7:16 (5k pace). I changed things up from the book a bit and took a suggestion from the one we call the “wise man”. I remember wondering how on earth I was supposed to manage 2 5k pace miles (7:06) after 2 half and 2 10k. Because I couldn’t. I mean logically, my 5k pace is an all out effort for 3 miles. If I can run that pace after 4 speedier miles, I wasn’t running fast enough. Turns out I didn’t read the workout correctly. I was supposed to do ONE 5k mile or 2 half miles at 5k pace. So yeah.

Wednesday speed. kinda. 2 miles @ 7:05 (goal was 7), 2 miles at 7:46 (goal was 7:50), with 1 WU, 1 CD. This was the weekly pub run put on by the local Fleet Feet store. Wise man suggested I do both sets at half pace, but I wanted some speed also so figured I’d split the difference. I had a few issues here. First, my stomach wasn’t feeling great. Second, I was still tired from the workout the day before. Third, I did the two miles on the local trail which has inclines. Pathetically small ones, but when you’re doing speed work, they might as well be Mt Everest. Then, by the time we started the group run it was dark, so I ended up going faster in order to keep the lead runners in sight. Well, can’t win them all.

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I am in here somewhere

Thursday cross. 40 minutes trainer intervals, 10 minutes lower body. 

Friday REST

Saturday long. 12 miles. 2 easy, 8 @ 7:50, 2 easy. My watch had satellite issues AGAIN and skipped .15 miles somewhere into the first faster mile, and dipped over a minute in average lap pace somewhere in mile 9. I did it, but it wasn’t easy, and I’m not sure where I’m going to pull another 5 miles at that pace from. Thin air maybe. Here is hoping taper helps, because I’m pooped.

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Sunday cross/easy. 55 minutes yoga/2 easy stroller miles @ 9:02. I did rock a nice headstand.

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And I forgot to mention it last week, but still doing the plank challenge and attempting to take some creative pictures.

See Bryan waving on the left? He didn’t remember me taking it. 10 minutes later he asked me if I took his picture. HAHA

Bring on taper. I am ready.

I Have A Need for Speed (2/6-2/12)

Ugh and I’ve fallen behind again. I’m blaming this one on Bryan’s recent shoulder surgery.

Monday – cross. 1800 meters. In short, I’m still slow.

Tuesday -tempo. 7 miles @ 7:46/mile. With only a little over 3 weeks left I really wanted to run some more race pace miles, so I substituted the books’ tempo for this one. I felt good for the majority of the run, save for a side stitch I had to stop for for a bit because I couldn’t just run through it. And wise man says to try to finish faster, so that was my goal. My only complaint was it was getting warm quickly and was 65 degrees once I was done, and I could really tell those last couple miles.

Wednesday speed. 3×2000 (1.25 miles) at 6:55. NAILED IT, with a 6:54, 6:49, 6:47. HELL YEAH!

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Thursday easy run/cross. 3 stroller miles/yoga. Ok, so I know this sounds ridiculous, but I really don’t like sweatpants. Not for myself, or for my kids. But Miles has this one pair that he now refers to as his “running pants”, and so now I have a soft spot for them. He insisted on wearing them for today’s run and asked me at least 6 times when he could “run on the sidewalk”.

Friday – rest day

Saturday – long run. 10 miles at 8:10. I mixed this one up a bit too, again hoping to get in some more race pace miles, so I ran 5 miles at 8:30 and 5 at race pace. I had some issues with my satellite and think a couple were a few seconds off (my lap pace had a crazy range and I check it pretty often), and my allergies were acting up so it wasn’t perfect, but I did it. YES.

Sunday – cross. 45 minutes yoga. Honestly I didn’t feel like doing much of anything, but I knew my muscles were tight and needed to stretch a bit at least, so yoga seemed like the logical solution.

3 weeks to go!

I Have A Need for Speed (1/30-2/5)

Monday: cross. 40 minute interval trainer ride/abs. I wasn’t in the mood to deal with a cold pool this morning so I drug my bike out of the living room and did my usual interval ride. 5 min easy followed by 2 min hard gear/3 min easy. Then I played catch up on the ab group I joined and got 4 days behind.

Tuesday – tempo. 5 miles @ 7:35/1 mile CD. Perfect weather, and except for a pathetically slow incline that slowed my last mile down, NAILED IT!

Wednesday speed work. 10x 400 with 400m recovery between each. Goal pace 6:20. It was a warm warm up mile but I stood around talking long enough that it cooled down a bit before the speed part, and I hit most splits between 6:17-6:21. I tried to speed up the last 3 and succeeded at least for 2 of the 3, at 6:09, and 6:06. I have to say, I’m SO EXCITED to see numbers like this, even if it is only for 400 meters.

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Thursday cross. Basically a repeat of Monday. 40 minute interval trainer ride/abs. 

Friday rest

Saturday long. 15 miles @ 8:18/mile. It was a chilly and windy morning, and my watch did NOT want to cooperate. A somewhat last minute group got together to run and afterwards I was more thankful than usual. It took 1.25  miles for it to find a satellite, so I’m told told the first mile was the slowest at around 8:50. After that though we kept things pretty steady, even speeding up a bit the last 4 miles. The headwind was awful, and a couple times I found myself falling behind, but I made myself speed up, catch up and stay with them. I have to admit, I thought to myself hmmm, If I can run 15 at that pace, surely I can train to run a marathon….ha. Probably, but not this year. Afterwards, we all met for a MUCH needed coffee and breakfast.

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Will run for coffee

Sunday cross. 40 minutes yoga/abs. I had planned an easy run but I was feeling more tired than usual and had a sore shin, so I opted to stretch instead. My chiropractor would be proud.

I’ve also been following a 30 day plank challenge, attempting to come up with creative plank selfies.

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Will also plank for coffee -Abby says “mommy is kissing a cup”

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