What a weekend! I took off a little early on Friday to discover that 5 yards of dirt were delivered to our house for our garden. With rain in the forecast for Saturday, John and I wanted to get all the dirt moved so we didn't have a huge mud pile in our driveway. We spent Friday evening moving 7,000 lb of dirt with shovels, a wheel barrow, and garden rake. Not exactly the most relaxing way to spend the night before a race. My shoulders and back were a little stiff in the morning.
Saturday I got up and KM picked me up. She ran the Rock the Parkway 1/2 marathon with me since I was trying to PR. I knew I'd run faster with KM there, so off we went. I wasn't supposed to start raining until 10 am. With a 7:30 start time, I knew we'd be done before then. The problem was that it actually started raining at 7 am. Damn weathermen.
We started out just behind the 1:45 pace group, which was faster than I really planned. My previous PR for a 1/2 was 1:56:51, so I was really just hoping for a 1:50. But the pace felt good, so we stayed where we were. The rain picked up and the course was rolling hills. I started struggling between miles 5-9. The 1:45 pace group pulled away and I could only see the flag on long straight sections. I'm glad KM was there, I definitely wouldn't have pushed myself that hard on my own.
Earlier that morning, I broke the Golden Rule of racing: Never try anything new on race day. We were out of milk, so instead of my usual glass of milk with my pop-tarts, I grabbed a can of Slim Fast. Silly Sam, when will you learn? The additional fiber resulted in some stomach problems that started around mile 5 and never got any better. Every time I passed a porta potty, I was wondering if maybe I should have stopped. The situation hadn't reached critical mass, but I warned KM just in case I had to suddenly dart off course.
After mile 9, I knew it was mostly downhill and we were close. The rain was getting worse and at 40 degrees and soaking wet, I couldn't feel my hands. The numbness was starting to creep up my arms. Time to try to reel in the 1:45 pace group and finish this run. We slowly made up ground and in the last 1.1 mile, we passed the pace group leaders. I cruised in to an official time of 1:44:28, over a 12 minute PR! That put me at 14/187 for the 25-29 age group and 250/1400+ total runners. Not too shabby!
I'm glad we finished when we did. While we were walking back to the car, it started hailing! It took over an hour to get the feeling back in my hands. I followed up Saturday's run with 2500 yd in the pool and 42 windy miles on the bike on Sunday.
After this weekend, my quads have taken on a personality all their own. I've never liked my legs, but these new quads are something else. In my running skirt, they looked like carved hunks of solid muscle. Laying in bed, I could feel the heat radiating off them. They're not sore, just tired. I gave them a massage last night - they deserved it. Hopefully a another week or so of solid training, with a nice 10 day taper, and they will be ready to rock in New Orleans!
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