Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Thunder Road 1/2 Recap

Thunder Road 1/2
December 11, 2010
Race State #4/50

I was so exhausted by the time I went to bed around 10:30pm, that I slept straight through the night until my alarm woke me up at 5:30 am - this rarely happens on race day! Do my stretches and put my race gear on.  Both B and I were excited to break in our running skirts for the race. I did wear one for a 5k, but never for a half due to being scared of chaffing- horrible feeling if you haven't experienced it. Since my skirt only has bloomers built in to them, I purchased a great pair of Nike compression shorts to go underneath to ensure I wouldn't have to worry about 'chub rub'
Our reflective 'runners' kept ruining the pic
At 6:30 in the morning the temperature is only 30 degrees, so we each had a zip up to at least be a little warmer, in hopes that it would actually reach the 'high of 50' as promised for later in day- haha didn't happen. Grab our 'breakfast' and hit the road. As a nutritionist, you learn all the 'secrets' companies use to make their products look healthier than what they really are, especially when it comes to 'bars'. After coming across Lara Bars and finding something that actually is natural and has a good balance of protein, carbs, fats, and REAL sugar (from fruits and not sweetners) you could say I'm obsessed with them and it is my staple before race food. Today I chose cashew cookie :) 
We manage to get downtown easily, find a parking garage right around the corner from the finish line, and follow the massive herd of people to the convention center to seek out some warmth. During our trek I really start to second guess my choice for a skirt, and now see the value of dressing in layers and doing bag check right before race- something I've yet to partake in. At least 1000+ people are all seeking out shelter inside the convention center until right before race start. I finally have room and warmth to get a really good stretch out so my legs can loosen up. 
When we bought our embRACE bands the day before at the expo, the owner said if we get pictures of us with the bands they will post them on the website. B and I tried several attempts, but unfortunately I never fixed the settings on my droid after it updated, so the quality is just not there :(
B wearing black, me wearing white

Our eyes glow when we're officially ready to run- must be about that time! 
So we finally follow our way outside and head to the start line. OMG- what a huge CLUSTERED MESS!!! So when B and I walked outside the convention center to go to start line there were probably HUNDREDS of people still left behind, not to mention all the people that were behind us in our walk. We followed the signs for half marathon and came to a stand still and couldn't go ANYWHERE. To make matters worst this lady began singing the Star Spangled Banner (side note- not that great) and no one would budge. The announcer guy comes on saying we're about to get started with the race as soon as he says "Ladies and Gentlemen, start you engines" and we are no in a position conducive to just hop on into the race. Hard to explain, but you have all the runners facing one direction- lets say north, and here we are, amongst a group of 100-200 people all staring at the runners as we are facing east and there is a fence separating us from getting to the start line- thank goodness this is chip timing! 
Announcer guy comes on the megaphone, says his 'start your engines' then fires the gun. B and I just laugh because we're standing there and slowly trying to make our way toward an opening in the fence. After a lot of pushing and shoving we finally get in a coral and are making our way to the start line- didn't know it at the time but it took us 1 min and 40 sec for my foot to hit the start line in relation to gun time.
My plan was to go out slower this time so I didn't wear myself out early and have to resort to my walk / run technique- don't get me wrong, this technique definitely works, however its frustrating to know that your time could be so much better if  you just ran all the way through. With a 7,000 runner sold out cap, going out slower wasn't too hard considering I have yet to perfect the art of 'bobbing and weaving' through large crowds. I also knew the elevation that lie ahead of me, and didn't want to die half way through the race. 
Anyone care for some hills?
As you can see the first mile was pretty much downhill- which was a nice warm up- but since I don't have a watch I really couldn't tell my pace- luckily this race had a clock at every mile (LOVE it when they do this) 1st mile comes, 9:30, feeling good. Thank goodness I didn't know that it was really about an 8 min mile or I would have freaked out that I was going too fast. In fact, all my mile splits were around 8-9 min, damn. I was getting nervous because I was definitely going faster than normal, my breathing was heavier due to the extreme cold temps, and I couldn't feel my legs. All I could do was just push through it and ride out my energy while it lasts. Just to be on the safe side I packed 3 gus in my skirts, and a special gu that one of the workers at Fleet Feet HIGHLY recommended Gu- Roctane- flavor, pineapple. So it may be coincidence, OR it may be the gu, but generally I always do a gu at mile 5 then 9- since there was no water station until 6.5 I was forced to take it then, but I felt great and didn't end up needing the other two.
Course was absolutely BEAUTIFUL- ran through some amazingly wealthy neighborhoods that surprisingly made the hills not as bad. Crowd support was pretty large and encouraging, always makes the run a little easier. Saw a handful of people dressed up in holiday spirit, even a few Santas.
For the first time, I was actually enjoying the race. I was keeping a good pace and had a positive mental attitude the whole way- which I think running is extremely mental in the first place so that definitely helped. From mile 4 to mile 12 this 7 foot dude kept pacing with me- I didn't mind because I knew I was at least being consistent, but he kept trying to talk to me. I finally turned to him and told him that if we finish together we can talk, but now its running time hehe. Hey I needed to save my breath.  
Only other 'out of ordinary' event during the race was my daily miler / blogger 'siting'. One of my DM friends and blogger who I follow was going to be doing this race w/ her sister, so I knew there was a possibility of seeing her. Saw the first glimpse of her right before the first water station around mile 1.5- I sped up to run next to her, but she stopped to get water and I just ran by. Next time I saw her was when I had stopped to take my gu and wash it down w/ water at mile 6.5- she passed me as I was standing there so I sped up to catch up. For some reason once I reached her I just kept going and didn't say anything. Then comes one of the last MAJOR hills around mile 11.5 (although it doesn't show on elevation profile)- shes right behind me, catches up to me, then we're running side by side. I wanted to turn to her and say "Hi I'm Lisa from daily mile", but I just didn't have any breath in me. I had been booking it and when I hit mile 11 the clock read 1:40- knew that I was going to PR, so pushed it in mile 11, however once mile 12 hit I had no steam left. DM girl took off and I trotted along just hoping my legs would carry me. Finally reach mile 13, see the finish line, see the clock 1:54 and change and knowing I already PRed by at least 5 min, I don't have the energy to 'kick' it in. 

First race that I finished where I was 100% proud of myself- I didn't walk, I didn't beat myself up, I really did leave EVERYTHING out on the course!!! After the results were posted I realized that fellow running skirt girl was not my DM friend, but indeed her sister haha. At least someone secretly pushed and motivated me! As for B- she PRed for the year as well- so we were both on Cloud 9 after the finish and on the drive home! 
Nice medal and personalized Bib

Official time 1:53:02 - last PR was 1:58:57!!
Overall Finished 844/3227
Division Finish 67/355
8:38 total pace :) 


  1. I saw your post on DM about the race. What an awesome PR! You have gotten so much faster since the Women's Half in September. Have you been focusing on speedwork?

  2. Thanks Jill! The main component that I've focused on has been weight training. My body would normally give out around mile 8 due to being sore and such. Main areas- hip flexors, quads, calves (they take the most beating). Since all 3 are stronger now, I'm just naturally able to go out stronger and keep it :)

  3. Good tips. :) I already weight train but am incorporating training at certain paces and speedwork for the Princess Half. We'll see how it pays off too.

  4. Got plenty of time till princess half to figure out what works best for you. I'll be doing that one too!

  5. Congrats on finishing out this year with a super speedy PR! Hope to see you at the half you run in Oregon next year.