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Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:27.53)

Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:27.53)

In summary, the Atlantic City half marathon was a good race. I had hoped to be faster but the wind was unforgiving and I raced for the conditions. It stinks to not have a faster half before the NYCM, but that’s how it goes. I’m proud of my efforts, and I was able to negative split the race.

My alarm at 5 am came early. As I mentioned, the days leading up where chaotic and I found myself on the go and on my feet for almost 48 hours before (except for sleep). I could have used a few more hours of sleep beforehand, but that is okay.

I got to Atlantic City around 7 am.  I met some of my local friends and running groups.  When I went to drop off my bag at bag drop, I dropped my entire bottle of Gatorade and spilled it all over myself.  I was cold and wet at the start of the race…a great combination.

atlantic city half marathon me running

I got to the corral with about 3 minutes to spare and talked to a few friends.  By the time I knew it, it was time to go.  During the first mile, we hit some severe headwind. I thought to myself…it is going to be a long way to go.  I also quickly realized my legs didn’t feel great but I was going to make the best of the situation no matter what.  I hit the first mile in 6:48 and thought, if I could hold this at least I would be faster than other races.

Before the race I thought it was entirely on the boardwalk. I didn’t realize how much was through the neighborhoods and actual Atlantic City.   All of a sudden we ran over an overpass and down through a tunnel.  I thought for sure my watch would lose GPS signal, but it surprisingly didn’t.  The tunnel was peaceful and still because there was no wind. It was nice.  Directly after, we climbed another overpass, and I hit mile 2 around 6:45.

atlantic city half marathon me running

The next mile went on without much note. I hit the 5k around 21 minutes and felt pleased. Away from the boardwalk, the wind wasn’t as bad.  You could still feel the gusts, but it wasn’t the 50 mph gusts that you felt on the boardwalk.

During mile 4, a man passed me listening to music without headphones.  It was blaring. I wasn’t in the mood to listen to his music, and honestly, it’s just poor form. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t use headphones, and it made me so irrationally angry to listen to it. I don’t like to listen to music while racing which is why I don’t. I don’t want or need to listen to someone else’s. Unfortunately, we ended up running near each other for about 4 miles.

During mile 5 and 6, I focused on getting to the halfway point. We went over a few more overpasses and through a couple neighborhoods.  The view was beautiful. I tried to pass the man with his music, but my legs didn’t have the speed.  The volunteers thought it was “so cool” with his music, but it just made me angrier. Looking back, it was dumb to be that mad but at the time.

I hit the halfway point in 44 minutes.  I reevaluated how I was feeling and thought that baring nothing major, I could probably hold that pace and run an even 1:28.  I also knew the last few miles were on the boards and while it would be the windiest, I could probably get some speed there.

I trucked along, and by the time I knew it was mile 7.  The next two miles went by without much note. I finally dropped the man with his loud music, and I was thankful.  We entered the boardwalk between mile 8 and 9.  Entering the boardwalk made me feel like the race was over, but we had 4 miles.

atlantic city half marathon me running

We passed the start/finish line somewhere between mile 9-10.  It’s always mentally challenging to see where you will be done and know you have a long way to go.  By this point, the race was spread out. Even though the half and full marathon were still together, I was alone on the boards.  Alone on the windy boardwalk is not where you want to be.  Since it was a crosswind, you were like a ping pong ball being pushed on either side of the boardwalk.

I ran a 6:40 mile 10 and just kept moving along. Finally, we rounded the turnaround, and we headed back to the finish line.  I just kept telling myself, two miles to go. Mile 11 always seems to be the most challenging mile of a half marathon for me. I passed one of my good friends.

I hit mile 12 in 6:35 and then just told my body haul butt. At the turnaround, I saw I was about 20 seconds back from the next half marathon women. I didn’t have any plans to catch her, but when I saw I was, it gave me the motivation to run faster.  I had déjà vu of when I ran head-on with a pedestrian in April and told myself to pay attention.  Runners for both the half and full were also going the opposite direction, so I wanted to be mindful of that.

12 miles became 12.5, became 12.75 and all of a sudden I was almost caught up to the women.  I passed her around 13 miles.  I could see the finish line in the clock ticking around 1:27.30 and I knew if I wanted to be under 1:28, it would be close.

atlantic city half marathon me running

IDK what I’m doing with my hands. I don’t remember doing that.

I crossed in 1:27.53 and as 6th women overall. I’m happy with my efforts for the conditions.  Like I mentioned in my training log, I was hoping to be faster, but you can’t control the weather.  It wasn’t hot, but the wind is a different battle and just as challenging battle (in my opinion anyway).  I feel like I fraud every half saying I know if the conditions were better I could be faster, but I’ve raced each time for the day, and that is all you can do.

After the race, I spent just under an hour playing the slots at the casino.  I have a limit of $20, and I spent $20 and won $20, so I broke even for the day. So success all around.

Questions for you:

What is the windiest you’ve run in?

Am I overdramatic that someone listening to music without headphones during a race is rude? 

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I Have a Fall Goal Race

And it’s the New York City Marathon…

Sometimes I start to type a post but leave my computer without saving or creating a “publish date”.  Then once my computer goes into hibernate, it posts automatically.  So sorry if you saw this on Tuesday (along with 3 other posts).

Anyway, for the last few weeks I’ve tried to figure out how I wanted to type it out… The race itself, is only 6 weeks away but it isn’t as if I haven’t begun preparing. I ran 20 for the Boothbay Half and I’ve run a few 16-18 mile runs in the last 2 months.

I don’t want to be too prepared but I do want to finish healthy.  I’ve made the mistake of being overprepared which is probably how I tweaked my butt for my last marathon 3.5 years ago. Right now, I strongly believe if I went to run a marathon this weekend, I could finish.

If you are a long time reader, you might know I’ve done two marathons:

My first was New York in 2013.  I ran a 3:17 after moving across the country. I had never run a marathon and had no idea what to expect.

My second was Phoenix in 2015 and I ran a  3:14.59.  I had great training but the week before I tweaked my butt and kind of hobbled to the finish line.  I never walked but it was a positive split and unenjoyable.  I still PRed but Phoenix is a much faster, net downhill course, and I’m far prouder of my race in New York. After that, I decided marathoning wasn’t for me so I took a break.   I raced 5ks, PRed in halves and have enjoyed the shorter and faster stuff.

So this whole marathon thing probably comes as a shock to you.   If you have read training logs with a microscope recently, it might not be “as surprising” (but who does that LOL).  No one runs 17 or 20 miles for fun. Some of my close friends have known for a couple of weeks.  I haven’t hidden it from anyone who asks in person but I’ve been waiting until everything has been finalized.

NYCM is a lottery system and I’m long past the lottery…So how did it happen?

First, I was never in the lottery. About a month ago, I was talking to my boss and store owner at work.  (I work in a run specialty store.)  He was getting ready for a marathon so we were just discussing marathons. I mentioned I wanted to run New York eventually again but couldn’t commit to lottery deadline.  Due to the military life, I don’t really think I will ever be able to commit to a big lottery system without the risk of losing a ton of money.  I’ve risked it and lost and risked it and been fine.  NYCM or big marathons is a lot of money to gamble with. In fact, the first time I ran NYCM, was a week after I moved from Texas back to the East Coast. (Which was 100% not planned).

My boss said he might be able to get a bib for a brand rep and I said I wouldn’t turn it down if he did.  A few days later, he called and said if I wanted to run NYCM, he had a bib for me. It took me a second to even process it. Me? Marathon? I mean…I said I wanted to run it again didn’t I? I just didn’t think it would be so soon. Whether it’s moving, job, running, or even kid I don’t think there will ever be an ideal time. So I said yes.

After running two trail races and being on my feet longer than ever before (longer than either marathon), I thought another marathon was doable.  Right now, the only marathon I wanted to do again was New York.

Sure I could run another marathon like the Philadelphia or more likely Richmond but New York still intrigues me.  I don’t want to run a marathon for the sake of “running a marathon”.  I don’t need to feel cool, or a real runner, by running marathons each year.  I feel as real of a runner when I slog through a 3-mile training run as a finishing a marathon.

So why New York?

New York is a brutal course.  It’s hilly, often times windy, and you have to be up before the light to get to the start.  Like the trail races, it’s not easy.  The crowd, the people, and the experience make it worth it.  I loved my experience at NYCM in 2013.

Running the NYCM 2013

That is why like the trail races:

My only goal is to start and finish the marathon healthy.

Since marathoning, I’ve run PRs in every distance. I’ve run a 1:22 half and I’ve run a 1:22 half in Carlsbad, CA as well.  That equates to well below a 3-hour marathon but I’m not a marathon expert or pro.  After taking over 3 years away from marathoning, I’m treating this as my first one all over.

I will, however, be in the sub-elite corral.

It’s crazy but it’s also a once in a lifetime opportunity. I might be running most of the race alone, or I might spend the entire race getting passed but I don’t know when, if ever, I’ll get the chance again. Heck, I might even come in as the very last sub-elite finisher and you know what?  I’m okay with that because someone has to be!

I have no shame if I’m the very last person in the corral. I’ll be lining up behind the elite men (not with the elite women who go off much earlier LOL).

This is the first time I’ve been excited to run a marathon since Phoenix. I wouldn’t involve myself in something running related, I’m not excited to do.  2018 has brought a lot of: OMG, I never thought I would be doing this races…but here we are.

Questions for you:

Have you run NYCM before? Will you be there? 

How to Save Money on Races

How to Save Money on Races

I race almost every weekend.  I posted about it recently.  It’s a hobby I really like to do.  I’m not made of money, and when I can save money, I try too!

Any hobby cost money and paying for something I want to do doesn’t bother me.

You make time for what you want to do, but you also budget appropriately for what you want to do.  It’s like budgeting for the vacation I’m wrapping up, a new car, new house.  Budgeting is important to make time for hobbies you want to do.

I was thinking a lot about budgeting for road races last week, so I decided to compile tips on how I try and save money.  Hopefully, they can help you too!  This also keeps in mind that I do not have children to take care of.  Both my husband and I enjoy racing, and that can cost as much as groceries some months.

So How do I Afford to Race Almost Every Weekend?  

Looking back at the last few months, I’ve spent between $120-170 a month on racing 5ks or a few half marathons. That is the cost of 2 half marathons sometimes even one (Please don’t get me started on the Philadelphia Half Marathon…I have yet to sign up but it’s $130)!

  1. Look at Your Options: Spending a few minutes the morning of (or if you are more prepared, the day before), you can look at various options and see what the cheaper races are.  As someone living in the greater Philadephia area, I’m fortunate I do have options from Wilmington, Philadelphia, and of course NJ.  When I lived in Texas or Alabama that was not always the option.

Running at local races also prevents paying money on extra gas, hotels and even meals the night before.  Local races are a lot less expensive!  Traveling to my neighborhood 5k and supporting a local cause, is a lot less expensive than traveling 300 miles to a highly competitive 5k.

  1. How does LOLZ choose races? I scout out races by some factors: 
    1. Price: if there is a 5k that’s 15 dollars or a 5k that’s 50, it’s easy to choose.
    2. Location of where I’m working:  Since I work at multiple places in NJ, I try and find the closest to work.
    3. Friends status:  Are any of my friends doing it?  I love seeing local racers and friends.  As well as if I use the resources the race is benefiting.  I’ve paid more for races that I use already use their benefits such as the Cherry Hill Library.
  2.  This is fairly obvious but sign up for races early.   Many races cost 5-10 dollars less if you sign up the Thursday before versus race day registration.  Yes, I’m as guilty as anyone for waiting last minute, but every $5 does count.
  3. Check out the brochures running store.  Sometimes race directors will drop off special coupons/discount codes at the local stores.  We have plenty of race directors that do that at our store!
  4. Finally, remember that every 5 dollars counts.  If you save 5 dollars on each road race and run 15, that is 75 dollars.  That is enough for a few more races!
  5. Read Blogs or Google Races:  Sometimes just putting X race coupon code into google will yield a discount code.  This can also be said about saving money with a lot of different products.  Races and products are trying to promote online and many bloggers have coupon codes!

The moral of the story is planning and strategizing for races can save a lot of money.  If you research and see what is available near you, often times it’s a lot easier to save.  It doesn’t have to be months or even weeks in advance.  I’ve found codes the week before a race, just by google searching!

Related Posts:

Should You Race in Racing Flats?

Racing My Way to Fitness

Questions for you:
How often do you race?
What are some tips you have for saving money?  

 

Workouts: Double Races

Workouts: Double Races

Another week of training is now in the books and I have no complaints.  As it has been for the last nearly, 10 weeks, my weekday runs were boring and easy.  Then I ran not only 1, but 2 races this weekend.  For different reasons, both races were equally important to me nso after debating whether I want to run 1 or both, I decided to run both.

Monday: 60 minutes easy
Tuesday: 60 minutes easy
Wednesday: 90 minutes easy
Thursday: OFF
Friday: 60 minutes easy
Saturday: Dragon Run 5k (19:06) Total miles: 10
Sunday: Run for Recovery 5k: 19:12 Total miles: 10

Total: 40-43

As I mentioned, my weekday easy runs were just that…easy.  There wasn’t a lot to note and most of them were alone and in the early morning.  Running in the dark isn’t my favorite but that is how fall goes and I’m glad to be running again.

Dragon Run 5k (19:06)

The Dragon Run is one of my favorite fall races.  Last year it was the first race I broke 19 minutes again.  While I didn’t do that this year, I did have a strong race.  I’ve begun increasing my mileage, and my legs are more fatigued.  My splits were 6:11, 6:10 and 6:03 so I can’t complain about a negative split race.  Plus, the overall winners get cupcakes and my time was good enough for second place this year.

Run for Recovery: (19:12)

If you count feet per each race, I suspect the Run for Recovery was a little longer of a race than the Dragon Run and I actually ran a bit faster the second day.  Albeit, the course was flat around Cooper River Park.  Does it matter?  No.  I did the race for the cause meant a lot to me and I wasn’t running for time.  The race itself benefited a local drug treatment center. Even before my car was hit by someone under the influence, drug treatment and addiction is a cause that is both meaningful and personal to me.

I felt surprisingly decent for the race and ran a 6:02. 6:04, 6:11.  The race itself was uneventful and I ran most of it alone.

In all I’m happy with my progression in running.  While my streak of continuing to improve in 5ks this training cycle has stopped, that had to happen at some point.  I suspected it would be this weekend either Saturday or Sunday.

Progression:
I wonder how long I should keep including this.  It’s getting lengthy.
Week 1: 31-33 miles
Week 2: 33-35 miles
Week 3: 33-35 miles (1 workout)
Week 4: 35-37 miles (1 workout)
Week 5: 29-31 miles
Week 6: 45 miles (1 workout)
Week 7: 40 miles (13.1 miles workout)
Week 8: 43-45 miles (2 workouts: 1 race/1 tempo)
Week 9: 41-43 miles (2 races)

Posts of the week:
Altra Escalante Shoe Review
Why a Running Streak Does Not Work for Me

Questions for you:
Is there a health topic close to your heart?
I haven’t talked much about health topics recently but I did graduate and work in the community health field (with drug studies, sexual assault, and eating disorders) for a while. I also do some volunteering in the field. On a personal level, drug addiction is a big one and not because my car was recently hit by someone who overdosed on opioids.

Double Bridge Run 15k (58:41)

Double Bridge Run 15k (58:41)

Last weekend, my husband and I raced the Pensacola Double Bridges Run 15k.  We heard from various people the Double Bridge run was a fun, well put together race.  I hadn’t raced a 15k in a long time. They are more common in Upstate NY while 10 milers are more common in New Jersey. The Double Bridge Run Presented by Publix is a premier 15k in Downtown Pensacola which runs down Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound. It’s one of the more beautiful races in the country I’ve done, and runners and walkers get a full view of the Bayfront Parkway, Gulf Breeze, and Pensacola Beach. The 15k races point to point over the Bridges across the Pensacola Bay.

Due to our schedule, we weren’t able to leave Montgomery until 5:30 pm.  We arrived in Pensacola around 9 pm, checked into our hotel and immediately went to bed.   I woke up around 4:30 am, got ready for the Double Bridge Run and headed to the shuttle by 5:30.  The only race I’ve also used a shuttle was the Phoenix Full marathon.  Since my hotel was essentially at the end of the race for the Double Bridge Run, the shuttle drove us the 15k backward.  Once we arrived at the Double Bridge Run 15k start, we realized how cold it was.  Originally the weather was supposed to be 55, but it turned to 38 and windy.

The hour before the Double Bridge Run, there was little to no shelter from the wind.  Even through my layers and jacket, I was both miserable and freezing.  If I had known about the Double Bridge Run start conditions, I probably would have driven to the start, sat in my car and taken a taxi back after the race to get my car.  It would have been a pain, but I wouldn’t have been cold.

The restroom lines for the Double Bridge Run were long, and I found myself in line 5 mins before the start.  I was lucky my husband dropped my bag off, and I sprinted into the corral less than 30 seconds before race start. It was nowhere near ideal, but I made it to the start.  Out of any race, this one cut it the closest.

Because my adrenaline was pumping from nearly missing the Double Bridge Run start, the first mile went by quickly.  I was running in a pack of people including my husband.  He planned to take it “easy” the first half of the Double Bridge Run and then finish strong the second.  We hit the first mile in 6:17.

During the second mile of the Double Bridge Run, the pack began to spread out  I got my bearings of the area, and I found myself 5th woman overall.  I passed a couple of women and grabbed water.  I was hoping for Gatorade, but it was water only.  I crossed the second mile in 6:24.

Double Bridge 15k me running

We entered “3 Mile Bridge,” which is exactly as the name indicates.  A three-mile-long bridge.  You could see the first “hill” up ahead.  Since there are no tunnels, the bridge hill is what allows Navy ships to pass through, so it was pretty steep.  I crossed the third mile of the Double Bridge Run in 6:20.

I wasn’t feeling bad during the Double Bridge Run, but I didn’t feel amazing either.  To be honest, I had hoped I would feel amazing and have a magical race.  I didn’t feel awful, but I did not feel as though, I had cut miles and tapered.  My calves were extremely stiff.

Double Bridge 15k me running

My husband was still several feet in front of me.  As we climbed the bridge hill during the Double Bridge Run, I knew exactly what he would do. He was going to power up the crest of the hill and surge downhill and leave me.  He did just that, and I was proud because I knew he was going to have a great race.  I found myself alone during the Double Bridge Run with two women directly ahead. I ran mile 4 in 6:27 and passed the remaining two women.

The fifth mile of the Double Bridge Run was boring.  It was the last mile of the 3-mile bridge, and I was running alone.  Just me, staring out over the water looking for manatees.  It was windy but not bad, and I ran it in 6:18.

As we entered land, my body began to feel worse.  I became and stiffer.  Typically in the 10-13.1 mile distance,  I end up feeling better towards the end.  I’m not a fast race starter, and I’m not a runner who “counts down” miles.  So when I didn’t feel great at mile 6, I knew immediately it was going to be a pain train finish of the Double Bridge Run.

Double Bridge 15k me running

We passed the 5k race start, and they were chanting “first lady”.  All I could think was WTF, how did this happen.  I thought there must have been a couple of women out of my line of sight.  I had looked at race results of the Double Bridge Run from the previous years, and female overall had sometimes won in 55.  Despite feeling stiff for the Double Bridge Run, I tried to focus on the finish.  I crossed mile 7 in 6:23.

The second bridge of the Double Bridge Run also brought a drastic banked turn which felt extremely uncomfortable.  I can run uphill, and I can run downhill but running up banked hill always seems to shred my legs.  It did in the Philadelphia half marathon, and it did during the Double Bridges 15k.  That mile hurt, a lot. I crossed mile 8 in 6:28 and thought: “just one mile to go.”

During the final mile if the Double Bridge Run, a police motorcyclist approached me and told me to show my bib so he could radio to the front.  My bib was directly on my top but because it was windy, it was hard to read the numbers.  I honestly didn’t have any energy at all, and the police officer weaving in and out because he could not see my bib was the last thing I wanted to entertain.  I just wanted to finish.  I knew the second place woman was quickly approaching.

Double Bridge 15k me running

She caught me around mile 9 of the Double Bridge Run, and I tried desperately to hold on.  I didn’t feel great, and my legs were stiff.  I had led the race for the last 5 miles and wanted to hang on.  Unfortunately, even with powering my strongest, it didn’t happen.  She outkicked me in 9.2 out of a 9.3 race and broke the tape for the Double Bridge Run.  I finished the last .3 in a 5:50 pace. I won’t pretend as though I’m satisfied to be outkicked in the final strides of the Double Bridge Run, but she was faster that day.  I gave the Double Bridge Run everything I had!

Double Bridge 15k me running

Double Bridge Run Thoughts:

There were a lot of minor issues that happened during the race.  I’m happy with it and how I performed under the conditions but I was hoping for a faster time which I do believe I’m capable of.  I ran Broad Street at a 6:11 pace.

While the Double Bridge Run went pretty well under the cold conditions, I don’t believe it yet shows where my fitness is.  My calves were stiff the entire race and didn’t feel as though they had their usual “pep”.  Luckily, the Double Bridge Run was just one of many races in my 2017 Goals.

Questions for you:

Have you run over a bridge before? Have you done the Double Bridge Run? 

Have you been to Pensacola? 

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