“Race” Report: Race the Runways Half Marathon

First off, please forgive any major typos in the post. I’m currently sitting here with a fever of 102. Seriously, the plague that doesn’t end

Anyway, when I registered for the Race the Runways a couple of months ago I was hoping to race it again. Last year I had a great race and finally broke the 2 hour mark with a huge PR. However, my coach decided it was just going to be a zone 2 training run. I was definitely disappointed when I read my TrainingPeaks, but when I woke on Saturday morning I was definitely excited not to be racing because the weather was not ideal.

Saturday’s weather was rather horrendous. I considered staying home. I barely slept Thursday and Friday night plus my tummy was all upset (probably the beginning stages of my fever?) but I had my pre-race oatmeal and got into my car for the hour drive to Brunswick. I picked up my race packet and then bee-lined to my car for some warmth until the race started an hour later.

I met up with Jen, who I’ll be travelling with down to Jersey in a couple of weeks for the Level 1 Triathlon coaching clinic and who was also running the race as a training run too. We decided that if our paces and heart rate zones matched then we’d run the race together. It was definitely nice to run the race with someone since the conditions were so crappy at least we could laugh about it!

Hiding out in the car!

Hiding out in the car!

We chatted in the car for a while then pissed behind some big water tank and headed to the start line. No warm-up. Just hovered in the cold wind for 10 minutes or so until the cannon went off. Then we were off! First couple of miles were relatively easy and a lot faster than I thought I was going to be able to run. With all my sickness in the past month my running hasn’t been fast at all, but I felt good. Of course it helps that it’s a flat course. This year the race directors changed the course to try to reduce the wind, but I don’t think they predicted steady wind of 20+ mph with gusts up to 50 mph! You’d be running along at a good clip and all the sudden a huge wind gust would come and pretty much stop you in place.

The out and back by the golf course was uneventful. We hit the first and only hill on the course. My heart rate spiked a bit on the hill but that would be expected. I skipped over the aid station because I wasn’t thirsty and then we made the left-hand turn onto the runway for the longest, coldest, and windiest mile of my life. Holy cow was it windy. Last year mile 12 was on the runway and it was windy, but this year’s wind didn’t even compare to last year’s! The wind pretty much ate my heart rate up and spit it out. Our pace dropped from a low-9 minute mile to an almost 10-minute mile pace. I felt like I was barely moving. Eventually we made a right-hand turn off the runway and finally (and I think the only time) got a tailwind! Jen and I joked that we needed a parachute and some roller blades! The middle miles were a two loop out and back route. The wind would come and go. I swear no matter what direction we were going the wind was always a headwind! Mile signs were getting blown over and I’m pretty sure at times people were too!

I finally grabbed some water and attempted to eat a gel around mile 6. I only managed about a quarter of my gel. I’m pretty sure it was frozen! I was surprised how many people were wearing shorts too! Crazy I tell you! Our pace at slowed a bit at this point. Heart rate was pretty good. A little higher than it probably should have been, however, now that I have a fever I have a feeling my heart rate was already elevated by the fact my body was trying to fight something.

Finish line smile! Thanks to Maine Running Photos!

Finish line smile! Thanks to Maine Running Photos!

Finally we hit mile 10. Only a 5k left! At this point I was mentally getting bored with the run. The conditions sucked and I just wanted a hot shower. This was my longest run to date this year so my body was starting to feel fatigued. Luckily I had Jen by my side and she kept me in good spirits and moving. We started to head back towards the finish line. The last few miles are through the neighborhoods. The area is fairly well protected with trees and houses so the wind wasn’t too bad. I commented to Jen that it appeared that the wind had died a bit. Yup, I totally jinxed us! Soon after I said that, the wind picked up again. Crap! I got multiple compliments on my sushi hat! Finally, the home stretch. The last two-tenths of a mile were cold and windy! I could see the finish line, but I felt like I was crawling across the finish line! Finally, I crossed the damn line! unfortunately the second shipment of medals didn’t arrive in time for race day so I volunteered to have them mail my medal to me once the shipment arrive. But I did grab a whoopie-pie!

Done!

Done!

After the race I semi-quickly made it back to my car where it was warm and headed home! Overall, it was a good training day. I finished in 2:07. It’s about 10 minutes slower than my PR last year, but that would be expected as my run fitness is lacking lately, it was a training day and not a race day, and the conditions were rough. I guess porta-potties were blowing across the parking lot! I think the day was good for mental prep. It was definitely a tough one and thank goodness for Jen to keep me moving! There were a few moments when I considered bailing, but I prevailed! And now I have the aftermath of a fever to deal with.

~ Happy Training!

Four Days…

So far taper is going pretty well. I’ve been sleeping like a baby every night and sleeping solidly through the entire night, which is something I’m not use to at all with my insomniac ways. It helps that the weather has not been humid and the temperature is dropping down into the low 50s at night. With the windows open and the fan blowing I can cuddle up with my down blanket and sleep beautifully! It also means my favorite month is not far off! I love September!

I’ve been eating well. Making sure to eat when I’m hungry and to hydrate with water like a champ. Now that it’s Thursday I’ll be cutting out more fibrous foods like veggies and fruit. I’ll still eat some, but not as many servings as normal. Saturday morning I plan to go out for a big carbo load breakfast. Saturday will be an early dinner and bedtime.

The race on Sunday starts before 6:30am to beat the train that rolls through the course. Weather is looking to be really nice too. Since the race starts so early, most of us should beat a majority of the hottest part of the day. Although, it will probably get a bit steamy on the run course. Luckily, Rev3 has ice at aid stations! Win!

Speaking of Rev3, I’m super excited about this race. I’ve been told by numerous people and have read many happy reviews about the awesomeness of Rev3 races, but I’ve been a bit disappointed by them so far. Their communication with athletes really sucks. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt because it is a new race, but come on! They should know that we are Type A athletes who want a working Athlete Guide more than a week out from the race, especially since so many people are traveling out of state and country (Canada)! Anyway, more on that at a later date…

I have my nutrition plan for the race set. I’ve been playing around with EFS on my more recent training rides. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I like it, but at the same time I don’t. The favor is a bit too much for me and on my last big brick it didn’t quite sit right in my stomach. I’m going to use my tried and true Fluid Performance on the bike with Hammar gels. I have my alarm on my Garmin to go off every 15 minutes to remind me to eat and drink.

Mentally, I’m pretty good. Tuesday was a bit of a roller coaster though. I was feeling rather confident until 3pm when I got a text from someone that they may not come to my race on Sunday. For the past 5+ months they have told me they would be there, but I guess other things sound more inviting? WTF?! I was really pissed off about it Tuesday and my workouts reflected that. My wattage for my hour ride was horrible. I missed all my intervals and just rode plain crappy. My 20 minute run off the bike went really well though! For a sprint Tri perhaps! I guess I run much faster when pissed off… Anyway, I’m still upset about the whole ordeal, but I’ve brushed it aside. I don’t and can’t waste my time and energy on the situation. My father will be there and my coach who is currently sidelined with broken foot told me that she’d throw her boot at me if I’m running slow! 🙂

At this point I’m ready to get the race over with. Last night in the pool I realized that I really didn’t want to be there swimming 5 x 300s. Those 300s felt like 3000s! I need a break from the little black line, wattage intervals, and pace charts! I just want to put on my sneakers and run out the door…

But, don’t get me wrong! I’m itching to race! I’m ready and Azul is ready! I have my new aero helmet (although I’m still trying to figure out if I like it or not) and Azul has her race wheels (which, Bike Shop Boy might be selling because he wants a stiffer wheel. So if anyone is looking for a set of lightly used Zipp 404s, let me know!)!! I’ll also be rocking my sweet TriMoxie tri top! We’ll be out on the course in full force and per usual, kicking ass!

~ Happy Training and Happy Race Day!