Yeah, its been a while since I’ve been here. Looks like its been at least three weeks, based on my last post; sorry about that! I’ve been almost totally MIA from the online world in that time, neither reading nor posting blogs. I’d like to say I’m back, but life is what it is and I’ll post when I can – when the choice comes between family or posting, I’ll pick family every time.
Over these past couple of weeks, I’ve had time to reflect on a lot of stuff – the race, my weight, my eating habits. Lots of stuff. Today though, I’m going to focus on the race, which was last weekend.
First, I want to commend the good people who organize the Rock-n-Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. 6 years later, this is still by far the best-organized race I’ve ever attended. This year, I went to the runner’s expo on Saturday with my friend Leslie, who would be running with Team in Training. For those of you who don’t know, people who sign up with Team in Training run the same race that everyone else does, but they also raise money (Leslie raised over $1400!) for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It’s a great cause, and a great way to have a sense of camaraderie as you train. Having trained alone for the last two races, I have to say that I was a little jealous. I may consider training with them for my next one.
The expo, as always, was excellent. I learned quickly that I can spend just as much money in a runner’s expo as I can in the same amount of time at the mall. I ended up with a slew of gear with the race details on it (a little tee for Liam, plus a tech tee, a plain tee, a fleece, a tech hoodie, a pint glass, and a pin all for me), a couple of hats, a pair of cold-weather sleeves (basically, you add the sleeves to a short-sleeved t-shirt, and when it gets too warm as you heat up from running, you can just slide the sleeves off), a tee that says “If you see me collapse, pause my Garmin”, and a 13.1 mile magnet for my car. I almost bought a tutu to wear to the race, because they had them in hot pink, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to run 13.1 like that. Next time though, totally doing it. I’m mad at myself for forgetting a medal hook, but that’s a goal for next time, unless I can find someone out there who specializes in medalworking, because I kind of have an idea of what I want, and I’m sure its something I’ll have to commission.
I left the expo with mixed feelings. You can’t help but get all hyped up at an event like that – tons of runners of all shapes and sizes, the excitement of finally having your number and your time chip in your hands, and all of the wonderful gear, nutrition, and swag available to you from a number of superb vendors. At the same time, I knew that my training had once again slacked off in the weeks running up to the race, and I wasn’t sure that I’d finish. Still, I’d spent enough money in race-logo gear that I damn well better finish! I wished Leslie luck and headed home, nervous and excited all at the same time. Leslie was visibly feeling the same way, so at least I wasn’t alone.
Didn’t sleep a wink that night. Thankfully, there was recently an article in Runner’s World (which I currently cannot find) that spoke about the fact that the REAL time to get sleep is two nights before the race – good. I slept like a rock that night. Anyway, was up around 5am and headed down to the Art Museum to get myself ready to go. I had spent enough money at the expo that I was able to use the VIP potties available (a slightly higher-class port-a-potty – they have more of an airline feel to them, meaning they sort of flush, and you actually get soap), so that was a nice touch. Especially since I have to use the thing like 4 times before the race because I’m panicked about having to pee during.
I’ve learned something about myself over these past few years running, and most recently over this year as I’ve trained for the two halves: I S-U-C-K at pacing. I started out with the first mile running around 12:00/mile. I finished the first 5k in 42:55, which was around 13:45-ish/mile. I finished the race at 3:10:04, which was just around 14:30/mile. Now, I’ve been reading a lot about running over the years. Between the books I’ve gotten recently, and the Runner’s World that I’ve been buying for several years, I know that you’re not supposed to start off like a shot, but shoot out I do. And of course, I slow down immensely toward the end. By the last maybe mile and a half, I was walking a LOT. Still, I had a ball. I spoke to a few people who were running the whole thing in their Vibram FiveFingers, and every one of them couldn’t have been more excited to talk about them and tell me how much they loved them. I’m very excited to start running in mine.
Around 12.75 miles, I could see Will with Liam on his shoulders – talk about a sight for sore eyes! As he did in May, Liam ran the end of the race in with me. They gave him his own medal, and we had our photo taken together once again. I’ll post it as soon as I get a copy of it myself.
All in all, I’m proud of myself. It wasn’t my best time, but it wasn’t my worst either. I know that I’ve got some stuff I need to work on, like pacing myself, and my overall speed. But I can do that. For now, I think I’m going to cut back to 5k’s again and start working on that speed. I’ve got a 5k race in October (please join if you can, it’s for a wonderful cause … a little girl who lost her life to brain cancer … look for Get Well Gabby here), so that’ll be a good time to see how I’m improving … it’s a little less than a month away. I’ve also learned that two halves, at least two as far apart as these two were, is not good for me. The first one was fine; the training for the second one was forced. Maybe if they had been a month apart, it would’ve been okay, but having the number of months in between, I feel like I’ve been training all damn year, and that’s just too long. Sometimes, its okay to just go out and run for the love of running. I’m going to use this fall to get back into that. 5k’s, maybe the occasional 10k, but that’s it – no hardcore training involved – just going out there and running because it’s fun.
I took the week off to recover, and I’m itching to get back out there … I start my barefoot running campaign sometime between this weekend and next week … I’m very excited for it! The 5k will be my first barefoot race, which is just as exciting! I’m happy to get back into shorter, hopefully more meaningful runs … doing it because I love it, not because I have to. Here’s to a lovely fall full of choice running weather!