Monday, October 25, 2010

My first trail race! (and first race ever with the BF)

the results are up...and they have John and I finishing 92nd and 91st, respectively, though our times are not right since he finished on my heels.... but whatever.  I think his time reflects our results more accurately.  It was a lot of fun and a new physical challenge - and his first footrace!!!  In just over two months of dating, look what I've done!  I created a new runner!!

The race was in the town forest in Groton, MA on trails that John uses for mountain biking.  LOTS of roots, and plenty of hills.  None too long, but most VERY steep.  I could barely run up most of them and going down was slippery and scary more than a few times. 

We picked the 3.4 mile course (that my Garmin only measured at 3.17 - click here to see my Garmin data) and hoped to finish upright, not bleeding and in under 45 minutes.  Two other couples that signed up with us did a slower pace and hung as a pack for a while, but they came in one at a time, all of them running!  None of us had any idea what to expect of ourselves and the course, but since I had the most running endurance, I figured I would be able to run most/all.  (for the record, I ran MOST, definitely not ALL)  John sprinted out ahead at the beginning, and I hung back doing my own thing.  I didn't know what the course was and wanted to conserve.  I passed him around the 1.2 mile mark and we were never really out of eye sight of each other after that - other than during some turns.  We ran together for a bit, but seeing as he'd never run that far or for that long before, he needed more walking breaks than I did to keep moving forward. 

We accomplished our goals and while I definitely conserved speed-wise on some of the flats at the end, I put on the gas when he caught up to make sure I beat him.  :)

This was us before the race.  Sadly, since we were all in the same event, I have no finish line photos until the pro pictures get posted. I wore my Half shirt to inspire confidence.  Sometimes I looked down and thought to myself - "you've done harder than this!".  I used the same strategy at the BAA Half (I wore my Worcester Half race shirt to remind myself I'd done this before).  I think it was more useful for that event, but hey, any advantage you can give yourself.  Plus, it's a cool shirt!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I created a twitter account for my athletic ramblings.  if you are interested, please follow MsBariathlete

what if I can't do it? what if it's just too hard?


One of the online communities I belong to has a few smart people floating around.  Maybe more than a few, but there are a few that strike a chord with me.  One of my self-talk phrases I use when I run to motivate myself is "I can do hard things".  I didn't think of this myself, I read it when one of these smart ladies posted it.  Another smart lady kept that post and reposted it on her blog.  I read it every so often because sometimes I try and talk myself out of pushing myself further. 

Yes, we should learn to respect our own limits.  I'm not saying I would try and hold my breath for 10 minutes underwater or anything.  I'm just saying that sometimes, maybe on a training run, I want to wimp out, turn around and go home.  3 miles is enough, even though the plan was for 8.  really?  is it too hard to go 8?  What are the factors?  is it too hot? too cold?  am i in pain?  is my asthma kicking in?  or is there a cute boyfriend sitting on the couch just waiting for me to come home?  yeah, thought so.  Keep running!! 

Sometimes is is too hot/cold/rainy.  it's hard!  but yes, I can do hard things.  My first 5k?  in the rain.  I didn't know what I was doing, but I just ran.  Now I know I can.  Hell, I willingly gave up solid food for 4 weeks after my RNY.  Hard?  YES!  did it?  YES!  Guess what??? I can do hard things.

YOU.  YOU can do hard things too.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

BAA Half Marathon

Sorry, I haven't posted in a while due 

I'll jump right in with my latest activity: The Boston Athletic Association's Half Marathon.  These are the folks that throw THE Boston Marathon.  Well run, well supplied and general AWESOME event, except for 2 things.  First, I didn't love the course that was a decline until mile 7 when it became and uphill battle til the end.  Seems they may be trying to reproduce the Marathon route.  Second, and the only REAL complaint is that it was a real pain in the butt to find family/friends at the end.  I understand they don't want to feed EVERYONE who shows up, but I was frustrated with working so hard to find John at the end of the race, and I had my cell phone on me.  I imagine plenty of people didn't carry their cell and I saw a lot of lost looking runners and spectators at the end.

With those being my only whining points, it was a great race, really.

Fueling up before the start.  GU w/caffeine!

I corralled with the 10:00/mile folks, and hoped for the best.  It was 42 degrees at race time.  I decided to ditch my disposable clothes about 10 minutes before the start and not "dispose" of them completely.   It was crowded, but it was a fast paced start - we were jogging freely at the start and got up to speed fast.  I pretty much spent most of the race telling myself to slow down since I knew the hills would require some energy at the end.

This is a few yards after the start - we're moving!

I ran the first 5K without stopping/walking, but I planned to walk all my inhaler and GU "breaks".  I mostly stuck to that, but did have a few breaks to stop and stretch and sometimes just to walk.  The walking was disappointing, but it was still forward progress, and that's just got to be good enough for now.  It looks like the walking parts only took up about 10 minutes of my total race, and at least I have a benchmark now to think about.

Other observations:  I wish more people pulled over to the right when they decided to walk.  People walking in the middle of the course really aggravate me.  I was thrilled to see/hear so many runners cheering as we passed (and were passed by) a female wheelchair racer who got caught up in the swarm of runners.  People were supportive to eachother, and I love that about running.  I remember telling one guy who I passed going in the opposite direction close to a turnaround "we're doing this!".  He said "hell yeah" and picked up his pace.  GO THAT GUY!

I'm a sucker for the photographers.  I smile and give the thumbs up to all that I see.  I hope to see some good pictures from the pros when they get uploaded.

I liked having a clock at every mile marker. I wasn't so much concerned with the times, but I liked having the mile markers easy to see! My last half I never saw a mile marker until mile 8 or 9 - it was all guesswork until then. Now I have my Garmin, so I could know how far I'd gone no matter what, but if I hadn't, the mile markers were easy to find.
Anyway, my race went ok. I had broken it up in my mind into inhaler times (mile 3, 6, 9, 12) and GU breaks (4, 6, 10, 12). The inhaler is just what seems to work for me. The GU was timed for distance and hills. The biggest uphills were at miles 7 and 11, so I wanted to be ready.

During mile 12 we could see the stadium finish line, so I got excited, but then we turned away from it, and found that to be totally defeating mentally.  I had studied the course map for elevation so much that I was suprised at the turn, and ended up walking part of the last mile, which pissed me off.  I was able to collect myself though, and charge towards the finish.  I just kept telling myself that the pain is short term and that I was tough enough to finish strong.  I dug deep and I'm glad I pulled it out since I could see that a PR was in reach.  I had hoped to make it to 2:15, but figured out for sure at mile 10 that it wasn't going to happen.  The PR did feel great though, and proud to be a 2:20 Half Marathoner. 

FINISH LINE!  I was about 3 minutes behind official race time.

Here is a link to my Garmin readout for the race, and here is a great image the BAA sent me:

And here I am, thrilled to be done and loving my medal!

My awesome boyfriend who took lots of pictures and lugged all my stuff around!

Next up: Trail race in 2 weeks!!!