Fredericksburg Blue Gray Half, Dec. 13, 2009, age 52
02:42:10 12:22 min./mile
You placed 526 of 557 runners, 236 of 258 Female runners and 19 of 19 in the Women's 50-54 division.
It was the worst of times...it was yeah, the worst of times.
Race day dawned with temps hovering around 35F, the kind of raw cold, gray day with a steady nonstop rain that there is just no escaping and that seeps deep into the bones. Not an invigorating cold, no. More like a pull-the-covers-up-and-put-pillow-over-head-cold.
Well, it could have been worse (it can always be worse). It could have been windy.
I wore my usual Emma Peel outfit: black tights, black turtleneck, blue vest, and then ruined the whole thing by topping it with a yellow rain jacket. I hate running in a rain jacket. I overheat, I hate the way it feels, and I hate the swishy noise it makes. But turns out it was a wise choice since it rained nonstop for the 2 1/2+ hours it took me to finish this bad boy.
Ms. Emma Peel of the Avengers
The race starts with a two-mile fairly rapid descent, followed by a flat mile, followed by a slight uphill, followed by sort of flat until mile 6 where it's another uphill, run around an athletic field and retrace. That nice rapid descent turns into a motherf$#@$^r uphill that if I knew anything about hill grading, I could tell you what it's graded at, but I don't, so I'll just say if I were riding a bike, I would have had to get off and walk.
The hill starts at mile 11 and ends around mile 12 1/2. Did I mention it's a motherf$#@$^r??
I spent the night at the lovely Susie and David's (Susie was one of the original bloggers from the Running Blog Family (for those of you who are new to this sport (I mean the sport of blogging); you should totally go read her archives):
Susie, David, Beau
I drove to Fredericksburg late Saturday afternoon, after a loooong day of swimming, boozing, and general girls-gone-wildness at the off-season triathlon, which quite possibly may not be the best preparation for a half-marathon.
And since we seem to have drifted into the EXCUSE portion of this broadcast, let's carry on, and add as another possibly-less-than-optimal pre-race strategy: not sleeping.
My detox from Klonapin is still going on (nope, not off it yet), and one of the less pleasant side effects is insomnia. If I manage to fall asleep, like clockwork I am bolt upright an hour later. I was wide awake by 3 a.m. the morning of the race, and it wasn't from nerves, cuz I wasn't nervous. (I did have a fascinating dream starring Thomas the Rubbish Marathoner, involving my underwear and...well nevermind. He's a married man! But it was pretty funny.)
Some other fun side effects: dizziness, feeling off-balance, legs feel detached. It really does kind of blow.
And still another factor is heart-rate training, which I started doing this fall. But this race is only the sixth time I've run with a heart-rate monitor, ever, so I'm guessing the training part of heart-rate training has not really had time to kick in.
I knew going into this race, given my long-run times, that it would not be a PR. I really didn't think it would be such a PW. I mean, this was slower than my slowest half-mary ever, which I practically walked and skipped through.
So, I told myself to treat it like a training run, and as such, was prepared to try to stay in Z2. To refresh:
Z2: 149-158 (basic endurance)
Z3: 159-169 (stay out of)
Z4: 170-180 (lactate threshold, pace you can hold for 60-75min)
I knew by mile 3 it wasn't going to be a good day. Even the downhill was hard, I couldn't get into a groove, I couldn't see (rain and fogged up glasses), and I was cranky and unsettled. I couldn't stay in Z2 but couldn't get into Z4. Dehydration? Detox? Desleep? You decide.
1: 10:45 (HR 150)
2: 10:33 (HR 159)
3: 11:14 (HR 167)
4: 11:48 (HR 164)
5: 12:20 (HR 165)
6: 12:30 (HR 165)
7: 13:03 (HR 168)
8: 12:00 (HR 168)
9: 12:18 (HR 172)
10: 13:29 (HR 168) (2:00:05)
11: 12:44 (HR 172)
12: 15:07 (HR 172)
13: 12:37 (HR 179)
.1: 2:10 (HR 180)
I was in the stupid zone the entire way. Lots of effort, no payoff. Not recommended!
I was a block of ice at the end. I'm still cold. I skipped whatever "festivities" there were at the finish, and just grabbed a cup of hot tomato soup (instead of a victory beer, like last year). Susan and David hustled me into their nice warm car, which I proceed to drench. I shivered my way into their house, jumped into a burning hot shower where I watched my body turn various shades of red, and then we all shuffled off to the thing that kept me going when I really wanted to quit: french toast at Amy's of Fredericksburg. And then drove the 60 miles back to d.c. where I sat in a boiling hot tub for a few more hours.
Why do I do these things again????
For you history buffs:
5. Fredericksburg Blue Gray Half, Dec. 15, 2008, age 51
2:28:43 11:21 min./mile (10/10) Victoire!
4. National Half, March 29, 2008 age 51
2:31:57 11:36 min./mile (48/53)
3. Fredericksburg Blue Gray Half, Dec. 9, 2007 age 50
2:34:26 11:47/min (8/9)
2. Philadelphia Distance Run, September 16, 2007 age 50
2:38:06 12:04 min./mile (221/303)
1. Parks Half Marathon, September 24, 2006 age 49
2:38:15 12:05 min./mile (55/64)