Garden Spot Village Half-Marathon Recap
On April 9, 2011 I woke up with a start before 5AM. Race day! Time for the half-marathon that I had been training for since Christmas. I had fallen asleep around 10PM and slept soundly all night – WIN! I was beyond thrilled as I checked the weather. No rain or wind and temps in the high 40s for the start.
For the first few years post-accident, I rarely showed my funky leg to anyone. With time, I adjusted to it and decided it is what it is. Because many people are curious when they see it, but few ask (I don’t mind being asked about it) I bought a domain name that racers could easily remember and had it printed on the front of my shirt and the back of my skort. Then I wear shorts, capris or long tights under it depending on the weather.
I’ve experimented with various shoes as I got back into running three years ago. I like the idea of running barefooted. I think it’s natural, it’s what our bodies were designed to do. But I think it makes the most sense to run barefoot on natural surfaces. So I wear Vibrams to run on grass, sand and trails. For roads, I recently bought Saucony Kinvara and absolutely love them. They are a minimalist shoe … so they are lightweight, but offer just enough support and protection for me.
Along with countless medical personnel that have helped to put my beat-up body back together again, I now regularly see a massage therapist … Monica from Art of Touch. She is the best and has brought my legs a long way over the past few years. And recently I’ve been seeing Dr. Marc Calicchio from Atlas Chiropractor for a neck/shoulder issue I’ve been having. He’s been great in working with my training schedule and my neck/shoulder felt great on race day. I thanked each one of them as I ran.
I’ve never been able to tolerate Gatorade … something in it upsets my stomach, so I usually only drank water when running. But last summer, I almost fainted on an extremely humid and hot (temps in the 90’s) race day. I realized I had to find something I could drink while running. I experimented with making my own sports drink and now I swear by it. I don’t like carrying anything while running, so I went out early and stashed my bottle along the race course at a spot that I would run by twice. (at mile 4 and again at mile 10) The plan worked perfectly and I assume that drink added to my good race.
I could not have done it without these gals. Over the past few months, we did a weekly long run together. We began the race together, but then each did our own thing based on how we felt.
I thought I might take pictures while running, but decided I’ll need all my energy to run.
Mile 1 to 4 … I felt great and had to hold myself back from running more and running faster than I planned to. Other than the first half mile (I forgot to check my watch) I stuck to my plan of running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute.
Mile 4 to 8 … Two nasty hills in this section. Uphill around mile 4, a steep downhill around mile 6, turn around at mile 7, then back up that steep hill around mile 8. Though I lengthen my walking breaks to a few minutes on each uphill, they still sucked major energy from me. The finish line seemed far off at this point.
Mile 9 to 11 … Thankfully I recovered from the hills on a somewhat flat section and the race felt manageable again. I loved the long, gradual downhill around mile 10 (which I had gone up around mile 4) I pushed my pace, but then felt a slight twinge in my right knee. I slowed up, shorten my stride and tried to step lightly (like running on egg shells) This helped and I haven’t felt anything in my knee since.
Mile 11 to 13 … This is when the pre-determined plan of running 4 minutes and walking 1 minute was absolutely essential. As my energy weaned and my legs ached … following that plan is what kept me on track. I didn’t allow myself to entertain the idea of walking more … when one minute was up, it was time to run. And I could force myself to keep running the same pace I started with knowing I’d have a walking break soon.
Finish … I’d aimed for 2 1/2 hours. My official time was 2:33.16. I was happy, happy, happy with how I felt. During the last half, I felt good … but I kept wondering if I was going to hit the ‘wall’ sometime. Thankfully, though my legs were complaining, I felt good and had energy to the finish. I’m sure the pasta and delicious sweet potato at Garden Spot’s pre-race dinner on Friday evening helped.
I waited a day to do this recap to see how I felt the day after. I was moving slower than normal. Everything was sore, with the upper thighs being the worse. Going up or down steps hurt. But all in all … nothing hurt more than it should have. I’m still smiling and dreaming of the next race.
Garden Spot Village puts on a great race! Beginning with the director Scott Miller (read his amazing recap here) and continuing with every single volunteer. Super-well organized on a beautiful (though challenging) course. Good post-race food and free massages! And even a caricature artist on hand. Thank you all for a job well done!
If you are a runner … did you do an event this weekend? How did it go?If interested, here’s more running posts … How I Started to Run (twice) A Perfect Running Moment How You Could Begin Running My Head Issues Affect my Running Race Thrills The Day Before the Race A Letter to My Mind on Race Day