Thursday, February 28, 2013

Scenic City 1/2 recap (Race #1 for 13 in 2013 Challenge)

Here it is the end of  February and I'm just now finishing my first half marathon in 2013 for Jill's 13 in 2013 challenge. I blame the whole 'no working out' first 3 weeks of January + then trying to hopefully to gain some of my stamina back before attempting to run a race of any considerable distance. 

Half Marathon # 43
TN 1/2 # 6
Time: 1:49:21

Originally my first race of the year planned was for this upcoming weekend in Vegas, however I just felt wrong going 2 WHOLE months with no races, so I started looking around for something driveable toward end of February. Chattanooga is only a 2 hour drive + the race is the last weekend in February so it maximized how much I could build back base before having to push myself.

Want to know how to tell when you register for too many races around the same time? When you arrive at packet pickup and you find out you didn't register for this race--- YUP, that HAPPENED.  The real embarrassing part was that I had scoped this out in early January, planned to do it with one of my gfs, but she  backed out and I managed to convince my friend Bryan to sign up the week prior letting him know I was already good to go. Registration closed on Wednesday, so with no way to officially sign up, I decided to bandit run and then drop out before the finish line so at least I could run a half mary and get the miles in. 

I never sleep that great in hotels, so 6am wake up call came way too soon. We slowly started getting ready and then went downstairs for free breakfast (race day first not doing my traditional lara bars) I think I have died and gone to pancake laziness heaven <insert photos here>

They were delicious and ended up being just the perfect amount of food for the race, not once did I get hungry.

The Start:
  • Original plan was to get to start area around 7:15 so Bryan could do his traditional 45 min race warm up / stretches, buuuuuuuuuuuuut that didnt' happen and we go there around 7:40- minimally stretched, and walked over to the crowded start.
  • Small race- 1500 or so participants with standard 7min/ pace, 8min/ pace 9 min/ pace etc paceholders to help determine where to start in the cluster of a corral.  I settled in the 8 min / pace knowing I'd slow down but at least would allow me to get a comfortable start. Had zero idea about pacing since I have been running more frequently, but keeping the runs shorter (1 8 miler and a bunch of 4-6 milers) I went into the race thinking it would be "cool" to break 1:50-- no game plan or strategy, just see how my body reacted and hang on as long as I could.
  • Although the weather was PERFECT temps at start high 40s/ low 50s, I kept my throwaway on so it wouldn't be obvious that I didn't have a bib. I was sweating just standing there waiting for the start, so I knew it would only last me 1 mile before I finally said goodbye to my trusty purple fleece I rocked for Idaho and Portland
so long old friend :( 

The Race

  • Within seriously 2 min of starting the race I was burning up and decided that the jacket would have to come off right at mile 1, which it did. 
  • I'm traditionally always a 7:30 first mile girl- its what comes natural when I want to get a good start but not feeling like I'm dying, unfortunately I can't keep that pace up so I've been trying to be conservative and slowly back off the first few miles so my pace won't be all over the place--- mile 1: 7:42, mile 2: 7:43--- perfect. 
  • Right after mile 2 a girl in front of me ran over to her boyfriend who then got down on one knee and proposed..... at mile 2? Why not wait till later in the race bud? Aside from that, the only thing of note was the constant uphills- there were 2 downhills in the first few miles of the race, then all up the remaining. 
  • By mile 3 I was done-- I was wheezing like a fat kid in gym class and I just felt uncomfortable. My legs were carrying me, but my lungs were working as if I was at mile 12, NOT at the 5k mark. I somehow managed to get lost in thought a few times and ever though I thought I was going to keel over, I didn't stop and walk--- woo huge accomplishment. 
  • Mile 6 I decided to take a gel in hopes to get my energy up a bit.... I'm telling you now I am SOLD on  Cliff double expresso. I took this bad boy (first time trying it) and within 15 min I was a new woman 
  • Miles 6.5ish-9 were amazing- although I wasn't super speedy, I felt like "me" again- lighter on my feet, better form, controlled breathing, and actually happy out to be racing. I actually passed a guy and while doing so he said "not fair, you make these hills look effortlessly!" haha. Although I don't love hills, they are a part of every outdoor run I do (not by choice, but by topography of where I live) That being said, just because I run them a lot, doesn't mean they're easy, it still sucks, however I just bounce back quicker. 
  • Although its called scenic city, the course wasn't very scenic--- this is about as good as it got:
  • Mile 10 breaks came off. For those of you who remember my little heart problem I experienced last winter- well I had an episode around 10.5. No I didn't pass out and wake up in the arms of a man carrying me this go round, but my heart did feel like it was going to explode out of my chest so I had to stop and walk- dang. 
  • Unfortunately the walking didn't help completely, but it did calm my heart down, so the rest of the race I had to dial back my pace. 
  • I knew Bryan would finish about 1 mile before me so at mile 12 I texted him to see how the finish line was (i was debating on crossing line and just not taking medal)- he let me know they were announcing  names as they crossed so that i should in fact bow out. Luckily I had been taking corners wide so i could run off tangent and gain some distance well before finish line. 
  • I hit 13.1 right after turning a corner and seeing the finish line in view- walked off the course, toward finish line and Bryan. Was THRILLED to look at my watch and see 1:49:21. I don't have my garmin to show total time first screen (have to click on 2nd screen), so I was shocked that I broke 1:50 despite my inconsistencies and hating the last 2.5 miles. 
This is my 3rd race I've banditted (first was Air Force to pace my brother as they were sold out, 2nd was air force when I had to drop down from full to 1/2 and they wouldn't let me) 

43rd malf marathon to date

Mile 1: 7:45
Mile 2: 7:42
Mile 3: 8:01
Mile 4: 8:18
Mile 5: 8:32
Mile 6: 8:29
Mile 7: 8:24
Mile 8: 7:59
Mile 9: 8:39
Mile 10: 8:18
Mile 11: 8:57
Mile 12: 9:05
Mile 13: 8:37
.1 8:50

Overall I'm pleased with my legs holding up (although they were incredibly sore, calves and hips, afterward). My stamina definitely needs some work as expected. Last year at this time I was in the midst of trying to break 1:50, and since I did that with ease this race, I'm really looking forward to what later in the year will bring.

The race is a small no frills, great for hill training, but very boring. I wouldn't drive 2 hours again to run it, but would be idea to add to schedule if your nearby Chattanooga

I leave today for San Diego then Vegas to do the Caveman March 1/2 on Saturday- hills galore and higher altitude so i'm not sure what to expect, but at least I have a better understanding of where my fitness is. 


  1. You are so naughty banditing yet another race.

    Those pictures look like Oregon.

    And, I am sad that your purple people eater jacket is gone forever. I hope it ends up in a good home. It sure travelled far, from Boise all the way to Chattanooga.

    I love how your difficult/walking races are faster than my PR. Speedypants.

  2. Way to go Lisa! Wow 43, so awesome!

  3. Ok so you are totally that person who goes into a test and talks about how poorly you are going to do because you didn't study and then proceed to ace it! Great job!!! Amazing that you've run 43 half marathons!!!

  4. Um hello the longest you ran before this was 8 miles and you just totally worked it out! Freaking rock star status and I think this sets you up perfectly for an awesome year.

    Don't feel bad about banditting....races make plenty of money and I do it to! Shhhh

  5. I like your shirt - it's so cute!

  6. i have such a fear of this!! showing up for packet pick up and not being registered! GREAT JOB though! 43 halves!?! you're awesome!

  7. Sinner. :) Awesome race - way to not let the crappy first couple of miles get you down!

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  13. oh oh you are a little criminal ;) Good job on the race!!

  14. I'm with Rachelle, for not having a ton of training under your belt so far, you just hit this one out of the park! I don't know why but your heart freaks me out. I've had that same thing happen to me but on a bike ride. Going up hill super fast, breathing like a demon, heart feels like it wants to explode. No bueno.

    Congrats on the race! Hope you had a tasty beer to treat yourself!