Monday, October 9, 2017

B.A.A. Half {race recap}

The B.A.A. Half has been on my radar for few years.   I decided earlier this year that this year was going to be the year of the half marathon. So I put my name in the lottery.  I had planned on mastering the half this year, so why not run a race I've been wanting to do?  

Just before I found out I was running the B.A.A. Half, I had applied to be a Maine Marathon ambassador.   I honestly didn't think I had a chance at getting that cool opportunity.  Little did I know that one day I would find out I was doing the B.A.A. Half and shortly after that I would find out I was an ambassador for the Maine Marathon.     I probably should have looked at the dates for each of them, but really, would I have changed my mind?  Absolutely NOT!    So, now I was running two half marathons in back-to-back weekends!   

This weekend we decided to not drag the kids all over the place for another weekend, which meant this was just a Jen & Ward trip.    Being the overly wild couple we are, we checked into the hotel around 7:30, and were asleep by 8:30pm.  We are crazy like that.   

The hotel was only 3.5 miles from Franklin Zoo, and after a lot of stressing and polling everyone I knew about the best race morning way to get there, we decided to just drive there and park where we could.  I was so surprised we found a great parking spot less than a mile from the start!   As soon as we got there, I check my bag and headed out to the porta potty line, with Ward by my side, on his bike.    When I got into line, I had 20 minutes until the start.   

And when I came out of the porta potty, I had a minute until the start.  With nearly 7000 runners, I wasn't going to win (ha!!!) so I didn't feel the need to be in the front, but I didn't want to be in the back either.   So after I gave Ward a kiss, I headed for somewhere in the middle of the pack.   He told me he would see me around mile 3 and I couldn't wait to see him there! 

As I neared the starting line, I started to get excited.   But I also felt hot already.  It was already 70F with 80% humidity (or at least that what my Apple Watch told me).    I told myself I wasn't going to let the head or humidity get to me, and was going to have a fun day no matter what.   

And with that, I went out like I normally start out a race.  Feeling confident.  Feeling happy.  Dodging walkers, left and right.  

The course was so much fun!  I loved running through the Emerald Necklace.   Only a few times did I really feel like I was running in the city.   Most of the time we were running along the parks.  There were hills.  But they weren't horrible.  The humidity was horrible.  But the course was not! 

The first 5 miles I felt great.   Well, mostly.  I was drenched in sweat.  I was getting dizzy from time to time.  But it wasn't horrible.   And then BAM!   I seriously hit the wall.  But this wall hurt so bad.  I was dizzy.  So dizzy.  I didn't know what was up.  I had been drinking my SOS and hitting the water stops.   By mile 10 I had to walk.    I wasn't crushing any PRs today, I just needed to finish.  So I walked.  A lot.    The dizziness stopped.  So I started running again.  Well, slogging.   And then I felt dizzy again.  So I walked again.    

I didn't realize that we were going to run THROUGH the Franklin Zoo, and when we started to enter it, I did get a bit excited!     When I saw some people peel off to the side, I looked to see where they were heading.   A lady said "get your selfie with the giraffe!  They weren't out last year!"  So I did!  It  took a few minutes to defog my phone - through the sweat and drizzle the screen was foggy and I everything I was wearing was soaked with sweat, so I just took the fuzzy, foggy selfie and called it good.  

Finally it started to rain.   I usually love running in the rain.  But this time I was a little pissed.  I mean, where was this rain when I needed it at during mile 1 - 12?  It was a little drizzle and I was already soaked with sweat, so really it just rinsed away some of the sweat.  Right?    

an accidental pic but I kind a like it!  

As I came around the curve to enter White's Stadium I caught a glimpse of Ward off to the side.  And before I knew it, I was on the track, heading toward the finish line.   

After I finished, I walked through the long line to get my kick ass medal had a few photos taken and then had to take a selfie with my medal.   

Ward tried calling me a few times but my soaked phone kept cutting out and when it worked, it sounded like he was underwater.   I thought the iPhone 7 was water resistant?   It didn't rain that hard. 

Finally I found him.  I got my BAA shirt, picked up my bag and headed to the car.   Thankfully we made it to the car just in time before it really started raining.    I took a few minutes to strip out of my soaked clothing, use a shower wipe to clean up a bit and put on some dry clothes.   All that time I held back my tears from such a horrible race time and just feeling awful.   

I looked happy to finish!
 And see those pockets on my Spandits! hold my cell phone?  

We went to the Shake Shack on Newbury Street for lunch.  By that point, the tears started to roll.   I felt like a complete failure.  I was so upset with myself and my finishing time.  I told Ward that I felt like something was really wrong with me.  That I was dizzy for most of the race.   The great guy that he is, reminded me about how bad the bronchitis hit me this time.    A good friend then reminded me that "it is only running" and she was right.  It is only running.  There are more important things to worry about.  So, I sipped on my black and white shake (by the way, is freaking amazing) and thought about the good things I have in my life.  

But you know what?  Thinking back.  I was dehydrated.  I didn't realize it but it took me hours to finally pee.  Seriously.  We were at Trader Joes in Portland.   That's a long time.  Especially for me.  Who has to pee every hour or so.  

And another thing.  I finished two half marathons in two weeks.  That's a pretty big deal for me.  I've never challenged myself like that before.  I know my race times were not very fast at all.  But I did it!   

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Maine (1/2) Marathon Race Recap *2017*

There are runs where everything clicks and all is perfect.  Either you crush you run and hit all of the paces you aimed at.  Or the weather is simply perfect, and you don't care about your pace, and just take in the fresh air and gorgeous views.    Then there are some runs when everything goes wrong.  Your breathing is off, or the weather is absolute crap.  Or you set out to hit specific paces and come no where near them!  

post half marathon, easy run, smiles in my new awesome race shirt

Learning to embrace each run for what they are, and accept that even though that run sucked the big one, you had the opportunity to run.  Not everyone has that chance.  Not everyone has the ability to lace up their shoes and get out the door.  

selfies mid race with Allyn!

When I think about the Maine Marathon course, a feeling of "home" comes to mind.  This course is where it all began.  Well, at least my love for half marathons!  

Scott rocks!  Post race happy faces.  

In 2010, I ran my first half marathon on the Maine Marathon course.  I remember it was an absolutely perfect day.  A typical October morning in Maine.  Chilly in the morning, crisp cool air throughout the day, and the sun shining.   When I finished the race that day, I made the decision that I would be completing the full marathon the following year.  

so old.... but way back in 2010 we did it!  we finished out 1st half!

And that I did.  However, it wasn't perfect conditions like I had experienced the year before.  It was cold and wet.  It poured almost the entire time.  But I didn't care.  The day was perfect.  I completed that marathon and I was now a marathoner.   

a year later, I completed the full, in the rain, with tears rolling down my cheeks with
the cutest boy cheering me on!  

The following year, I ran along with my sister-in-law, Jill, and friend, Carrie, as they took on the 26.2 milestone.  Again, it poured.    

Fast forward to last spring.  I decided I wanted to focus on the half distance.  I have been lacking speed in a big way lately and wanted to take a break from running marathons.  In talking with my coach, we decided that half's were the way to go.  'Half the distance, twice the fun!'    I decided that I was going to train my butt off and kick butt at the half marathon and push to a new PR (which would be a sub 1:44).   

flat jen was ready!

Sometime around mid-August, I came down with bronchitis.  Again.   This time it didn't go away as quickly as I wanted.  That jerk stuck around and annoyed the crap out of me (and is STILL annoying the crap out of me).  Some runs are perfect and I can breathe.  Other runs, I get in a half mile and I have to stop and cough my lungs up and then take a few moments to regain the ability to breathe.  It's frustrating and scary.   (I am waiting to see my asthma specialist.... I've had an appointment made like forever ago)   And then I sprained my ankle.  That set me back again.   BUT, in the midst of all that, I was not going to give up on the Maine half.   I knew the PR probably wasn't in the cards, but a strong run could still be a possibility.   

loved their Maine theme!  

So, when I rolled out of bed at 5AM on Sunday morning, my breathing felt pretty darn good.    The weather forecast looked amazing.  I was excited and ready to go.  In talking with Amy, she suggested I check in with myself at mile 3 and if I felt good, then go for it.  Check in again around 5/6, and if I was still feeling it, then run hard to the end.  If not, put on the breaks and enjoy the run.  

Yes, I forgot to tell you why we had this game plan.  The following weekend I was going to be running the BAA Half Marathon.  

I set out around an 8:18ish pace and felt amazing.   Then it crept down to 8:08, then 8:00.   I was feeling really good.   Then I ran an 8:05, then 8:19, then BOOM!  The wheels came off.  Just like that.   I didn't feel sick or bad.  My breathing didn't feel amazing, but it wasn't horrible either.  I'm not sure what was going on, but I embraced whatever it was and put the breaks.  Actually I decided I would just stop and chat with some friends on the side.  

From that point, I decided I was definitely in the run very easy and enjoy the moment I was in.  And I did.  I decided it was a good idea to do some snaps while I ran on the bridge.  Then I walked a few times, looking behind me for my friends Gretchen and Carrie.  But I couldn't find them, so I kept running along.  When I came up to the Runaways tent with only a little more than a mile left, I stopped again, took a selfie with the rockstar, Sarah, and then continued on my way.  

Sarah is a rockstar! 

As I came around the last bend along Baxter, I remembered the feelings I had before when I came around the curve.  The feeling of pride and excitement, seeing families and friends of so many runners there to cheer them on.   Remembering that 6 years ago, I completed my first marathon here and 7 years ago, I completed my first half marathon here.  

David Colby, from Maine Running Photos, is amazing!  
Thank you for the photos! 

And then, just like that I was finished, with a time of 1:58.  Way slower than I had expected, but seriously happy that I listened to whatever my body was telling me and slowed down to enjoy the day and the race that I love so much.  

a gorgeous day for a race! 

What I've taken away from Sunday's race is that I want to enjoy running for as long as I possibly can. If that means I'm as slow as mud, then so be it.  At least I'll be running.   If my time is fast, awesome. If it's not, oh well!  

this girl has been an amazing friend!  I love going to races with her.  

This doesn't mean I'm going to give up on racing.  I'm going to keep on working hard.   Maybe someday I'll crush that PR again.  Or maybe I won't. 

A proud Maine Marathon ambassador right here sporting all of the Maine Marathon  gear!   

BUT, I will tell you, that I will definitely be lining up at the starting line for the Maine Half again, and again.  This course means the world to me.