Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SRLA 18 Mile Friendship Run 2/21/2010

Here comes the race report!

Wow, today I spent most of the day laying on the couch snuggling with my dog...half the day passed out and the other half screaming in pain because EVERYTHING. HURTS. TODAY.

I made sure to start carbo loading on Friday night. Earlier on Friday I also went out and ran 6 miles, 3 of those miles I ran in the 8:40s to see if my legs could handle it. I'd had a couple of really slow runs the past week so I was unsure of how I'd be able to run on Sunday. I felt back to normal and the run put me in good spirits for the upcoming race.

Saturday night I went to bed at 11. I remember tossing and turning a few times but for the most part, I had some good sleep. I set my alarm for 5:50am and when it went off, I quickly jumped out of bed and got dressed. I left my apartment at 6:20 and got to my mom's condo at 6:45. She lives really close to Hansen Dam which is where the race was located (we later realized that we could've just walked to the park from her condo instead of driving there). So both my mom and my little brother were coming to spectate and help me out at the race. We jumped in her car and drove to the race start. We found parking pretty easy and got to the park at around 7:20am. The race was set to start at 8am. So I went and got my BIB# and timing chip and stood around getting ready. It was supposed to ran Saturday night into the morning but it didn't rain that night and there were plenty of gray clouds threatening to start pouring on us so I wasn't sure what to wear as far as layers. It was really cold but I knew that once I started running I'd warm up and since it was a 2 loop course, I figured if it started raining or I was still freezing after the first loop, that I'd ask my mom for my long sleeve when I ran by. So I just wore my red running shorts, a racing tank and my pink Zensah arm sleeves for a little bit of extra girlyness =P

At around 7:45 they started asking us to line up at the start. I quickly went up there so that I could get a spot near the front because I didn't want to get stuck behind 3,000 middle school and high school students at the start! I located myself maybe around 6 rows of people back from the very front. But as time progressed more and more people kept just jumping over the tape and pushing themselves in front. UGH. PET PEEVE. And all of a sudden I was stuck standing there with absolutely no room anywhere around me and a couple of annoying kids kept stepping on my toes and it took so much for  me not to give them my evil stare.

The gun went off and there we went. Of course, most people immediately started sprinting from the very start. I knew I had to focus on running a pace that felt easy those first couple of miles. I tried to block out all the sprinters and let my Garmin guide me. I knew soon enough I'd pass a lot of those people once they'd tire out. And sure enough, by the second mile, there were kids walking already. It reminded me of running these races back in high school when I was in SRLA. We had no concept of pacing at all!

So the first 2 miles are mostly on a downhill with the exception of an uphill at the very beginning of the race. Then you start climbing on the 3rd mile and then it's uphill, uphill, uphill, oh another uphill, and OW, uphill...'til you reached the turnaround point at 5.5 miles. Then I flew downhill while listening to a remix of Britney's "3" which I love! Those next 2 miles I ran in the low-8s! Then you got to the bottom of the dam at which point you had to climb the hill to get to the dam and then you had to run across the 2 mile stretch. Ugh. This was the 5th time I've run this race which means I've been atop that dam 10 TIMES my whole life and it's always so discouraging! My mind starts to panic when I see how far away the other end is, and during the first loop seeing how far you have to go to cross it and then thinking you still have to run ANOTHER LOOP! *gasp* Anyway, I was still feeling great...feeling proud that I was managing a pace around 8:30 not feeling like I was pushing too hard. I finally reached the end of the dam where my mom was waiting with my supplies for the second loop (last packet of Gu, sportbeans, and powerade). I had had a Gu at mile 4.5 and I took another at mile 9 when I reached my mom.

I then started going downhill again for the second loop. I was still feeling great. I made sure to grab water at every station but unfortunately I still have not managed to figure out how to drink from a cup while running so I had to walk in order to drink. At mile 11.5, I started climbing again! That's where my legs started to really feel the pain of the hills. I took 2 short walking breaks while going uphill between miles 12 and 15. My legs were tired, but once I'd start running again, I'd go back to my 8 min pace. I passed a few of the female runners that had been running in front of me the whole time. At mile 14, 2 girls passed me and I felt a little discouraged but I managed to pass them just half a mile up ahead.

I then reached the turnaround point for the second time and took advantage of the downhills. I was telling myself that it was only another 5K! Piece of cake! Once I reached the bottom of the dam again, I decided to walk part of that steep uphill because I wanted to save my legs so that I could push it those last flat 2 miles on the dam. I got up there and took off. But once again, that dam started to torture me. All I kept seeing was how far, far away the other side was and how far off in the distance the finish line was. Oh it is cruel! I tried to find some tunes to pump me up but none of the music on my shuffle seemed to work. I was running out of gas and breaking down mentally. I knew I was making good time I'd be able to reach my sub 2:40 goal. I took several walking breaks during those last 2 miles and somehow my splits were 9:07 and 9:05!

I finally reached the other side of the dam and started going downhill towards the finish line at the park down below. I tried to push it down the hill, then once I reached the bottom I knew I did not have much left in me. It took everything I had to just run down to the finish line. I just did not have a kick to sprint. I stopped my Garmin as I crossed and it was 2:39:28.

My time last year at this race was 2:52:? (on my watch) and 2:53:09 according to gun time (there was no chip time last year)

So I PRed by 13 minutes from last year's race. And apparently last year the race was about a quarter of a mile short and this year it was a third of a mile longer than 18. My Garmin tracked it as 18.31.

So all in all, it was a fun race. I proved to myself that I can run 8:30 pace. I came in 31st female and 4th in age group. But I was looking at the results tonight and it's clear some women who finished before me may not have run the whole thing. It also looks like I should've gotten 3rd in my age group too.

The hills destroyed me since I never run any hills during my training. I'm hoping I might be able to hang on to 8:30 pace for the LA Marathon. It's only ONE MONTH AWAY! AHHHHH!!!

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