Monday, October 26, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Here’s the thing – this course is not an exciting one. For most people, it’s really boring. You start at the south end of this barrier island and run straight up to the north end – 18 miles. The only turns you make are in the last half mile – a left and then a right into the finish area. By mile 14 you can see the lighthouse at the finish, but it’s a terrible tease, because you still have to run 4 miles to get there. Having grown up on LBI, though, and running there often even now, the race isn’t as boring to me. I pass friends, businesses, the street I grew up on, my grandmom’s house, and so much more to look at and look forward to along the way (and as I passed my grandmom's street this year, there she was in her nurse's car, waving to me!). Yes, the run is long, straight, and boring, but I enjoy it. The only thing that would make it better is if the course took us right along the ocean…
So as I ran through the first half of the race, I soaked it all in – how easy I was running, how great the weather was, how strong I felt mentally. I made sure to take water at the stops and thank all the volunteers. A friend of mine, C, is a sergeant for the local police, and he was patrolling the course on his motorcycle. He pulled alongside me and asked how I was feeling, for the first time, around mile 6. I smiled and told him I was really good. He’d continue to check on me throughout the day, and I’d always say the same thing. When I hit mile 8, I passed my parents’ street and noted that this time the last 2 years, I was overcome with the heat and started walking. Not this year.
I kept running my pace and kept feeling good. Miles 9 through 11 take you through a couple towns where there were people out cheering and businesses flank the street. After mile 11, though, you start into the north end of the island where it’s mainly residential and the spectators are generally thin. Seeing my parents and my nephews along the way made it fun. My left knee started bugging me around mile 10 (probably because of the crowning road) but by mile 14 I wasn’t really noticing it. I had taken a gel at mile 6ish and another around mile 12 or 13, and still felt good. C had let me know that my sister wasn’t feeling so great, but that she was still running, and I started to see my two friends up ahead.
This is L and G, post-race. They both finished just minutes behind me.I passed my dad at mile 14.5ish and he said after mile 15, start picking people off. I chuckled, because I had already started doing that.
I caught up with my first friend before mile 15 and he was ok, but slowing. I caught up to my other friend right near 15, I think, and we ran together for a few minutes, but I felt myself slowing near her and I wanted to push the pace. I went ahead. Miles 15 and 16 came and went, and I fully realized how well I was going to PR. I cranked it up a notch for mile 16, and then concentrated on hammering home for miles 17 and 18.
My legs were starting to feel it, but I dug in. Miles 17 and 18 would end up being my fastest miles of the day! When I got to the end of the straight and made my left turn, C pulled up next to me and told me he was giving me a police escort to the finish line. Cool! Lights going, he rode next to me the length of that street. When I made that last turn into the finish, he told me great run and let me go.
I waved to my nephews, looked up at the clock, saw the time, and felt successful before I even crossed the line. I knew I had done what I wanted to do. I crossed the line, stopped my watch, and made my way through the chute. I had just run an 11 minute PR!
After catching up with my friends and seeing my sister come through (she didn't like her pics, or I'd post one with her), my mom took some pics and we headed home.
My friend, R, who placed 20th OA! And it was his birthday!
Everything I wanted out of my training this summer/fall showed through today. I got to the start mentally prepared and feeling strong, I ran a solid race, and I improved my pacing. The only thing left to do was enjoy a jump in the ocean and a chocolate milk to cap off a great day!
Mile paces:8:24, 8:35, 8:33, 8:34, 8:34, 8:34, 8:36, 8:36, 8:36, 8:33, 8:35, 8:35, 8:34, 8:28, 8:34, 8:29, 8:09, 7:59
Chip time: 2:33:26
7/52 AG220 OA (although they handed me #218 when I crossed and one guy is listed in the results 2x)
And, the kicker – if I still had my LBI driver’s license, I’d have gotten 2nd Overall Islander Female.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
2:33:26, an 11 minute PR. No mental anxiety, weather was good, running was smooth. Whew. More details and pictures to come.
Today was a good day.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
For now, though, the focus is Sunday. 3 years ago, I ran this race for the first time and loved it. I ran it in 2:44:xx and loved it. I loved that day.
Then I ran it the next two years and it sucked. The weather was hot, hot, hot and the race doesn't start until 10:30am, and it sucked. My times were terrible, and I hated that that's what my experiences were these past two years.
Last spring, I blogged to myself about remembering that first 18 miler and channeling the positive experience it was. To Me is something I printed out and look at from time to time. It was such a good day, and I needed to get back to that positive race experience.
So I've worked hard, and I've lost some weight (really, without trying -- it just happened through this stressful summer) and I'm running better. Today's last workout wasn't tough -- it was 2 warm-up miles + 3 miles at race pace (between 8:30-8:40) + 1 mile cool-down. It wasn't going to be tough, and I looked forward to it all day. But then I got out there and it wasn't a comfortable run. Between my shoes not feeling right, my HR all over the place, the millions of gnats sticking to my sweaty face, shirt, neck, arms, and feeling like I was working too hard to stay at the right paces, it wasn't a great run.
I hit the 3 race pace paces, though. 8:35, 8:30, 8:25. I just wish the run had been more comfortable, less annoying. That's how it felt -- annoying. Annoying that I was faster than I was supposed to be, annoying that the bugs were thick, annoying that my shoes didn't feel right. But you know what? It didn't make me question that I could hold the race pace. I'm trained to run that, and I know I can. This last workout wasn't great, but it didn't break me.
A few easy runs and then race day. I'm ready.