October 7, 2010

Run Like a Diva

I completed my third Half this past Sunday, the Run Like a Diva Half Marathon in Long Island. Over three thousand women ran towards the finish line wearing hot pink boas and tiaras, where we were greeted by firemen handing out medals and champagne. Awesome.

To start from the beginning, this weekend rocked! First of all, I got to spend it with Dori of Dori's Shiny Blog, and her running pal Melissa. These girls are divalicious and we had such great time together. Of course we had a few snafus, like when the rental company told us they gave away our rental car giving us three hours to find a way to get to the race expo in Long Island before it closed. But we sucked it up, put smiles on our faces and remaining excited and positive as we jumped into a cab to Penn Station so we could take the train instead. This would also be a great time to tell you about our luxurious hotel room in the basement of the race hotel. We were worried there would be no windows and we thought we got lucky when we saw our balcony... until we saw that our balcony overlooked the indoor pool and gym. Hysterical!
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Yours Truly, Dori & Melissa. We're DIVALICIOUS!

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The view from our hotel balcony. Luxury at it's finest!

I decided to run this race as part of my Marathon training to add a little spice into my schedule, and as per The Laminator's advice, to practice good pacing skills and as a halfway point fitness test. Unfortunately, I fell at around mile 6.7 and twisted my right ankle so this was my slowest Half yet. But once again, I learned a lot and had a great time doing it. I really can't complain.

This run also gave me another chance to try out some new fueling ideas. Last week I enjoyed some delicious vanilla flavored GU (oozing with sarcasm) at miles 6 and 12. This week, I decided to try GU Chomps in the scrumptous Blueberry Pomegranate Flavor, and added Lemon Lime Gatorade back to my menu. I know, sounds like a beautiful juicy fruit salad. If only that were true. I can't believe the processed crap that I am putting into my body! But I digress. I also experimented with my fuel timing, taking 2 chomps at mile 4, 3 at mile 6, and 3 again at mile 10. This timing seemed to work great for me as I didn't really feel low on energy until the very end of the race. But I did find it difficult to chew, run and breathe at the same time and my stomach hurt a bit after each chomp meal so I'm going to keep experimenting for now.

And now for Race Day! I woke up nice and early at 5 race morning to go through my pre-race ritual. Food, coffee, shower, digestion, stretching, etc... then headed to the hotel lobby to relax and stretch a bit more as I waited for Dori and Melissa to join me. The lobby was filled with women who had traveled from all over to run this race. The energy was incredibly exciting and it was wonderful to watch groups of women gather and head to the starting line together. There were bridal parties dressed in crazy outfits and wearing veils, women young and old wearing tutus, bright red lipstick, feathers, sparkles, and even some superhero costumes. It was so fantastic and got me psyched to run.

Dori and Melissa appeared and we set out on the mile walk to the start line. It was pretty cold out there and the walk was a great way to warm up. Unfortunately, once we arrived at the start line, we learned that the baggage check was located at the finish line, more than a mile away! So Melissa and I hightailed it over there while Dori took care of other business. We walk/ran to the finish line, dropped our bags off, and ran our asses back to the start line as we heard the race begin. And so began my third Half Marathon.

As you might already know from reading some of my past posts, I have a difficult time pacing myself at the start of a race. This was something I really tried to work on this time.  It was a bit difficult since I began this race almost last ( darn baggage check drama!) and found myself weaving around and past lots of walkers. But I tried to stay focused on the task at hand and although I still have some work to do in the pacing area, I'm happy with my performance. My total time for the race was 2:23:15. Again my worst time yet but still respectable. I'll take it.

My splits:
Mile 1: Started a bit flustered due to the pre-race drama and used the first quarter of a mile to get my head in the game and my focus back. Started at a pretty comfortable pace.
Miles 2-3: Focused on maintaining that comfortable pace instead of speeding up. I was surprised at how great the crowds were. Lots of families there to cheer on their mothers, kids holding signs that said "You Rock Mom" or "Mom, You're My Hero." It was seriously awesome! I also saw Dori during one of the turnarounds- she looked strong!
Miles 4-5: Still feeling strong. A bit of a lonely and boring part of the course as it ran along a main street with almost no spectators or scenery. There was also a pretty cold and strong headwind blowing most of the time making it feel like a bit of challenge.
Mile 6: Going strong, strong, strong... damn, where did that rock come from?!?! Yup, my right foot landed on a large rock at around 6.7, twisting my ankle and I went down! I might have screamed a few four letter words, or maybe the same four letter word over and over, as I picked myself up and kept going. But as you can see from my splits, it went a bit downhill from here
Mile 7: Trying to ignore my throbbing ankle.
Mile 8: Told myself it's just pain, keep running. You can stop when you're done.
Miles 9-10: Paying the price for the stupidity I repeated to myself during Mile 8. Faced the fact that not only wouldn't I PR, but this would be my slowest Half yet. So decided to embrace it and have fun with it. The spectators started to appear again, lots of young tweens cheering us on and handing us water and gatorade. I took the time to give them high fives and thanked them for coming out to cheer us on.
Miles 11-12: Saw my best friend Michelle at the start of 11 cheering for me!!! Her hug was probably the best 5 second of my day, and it was a pretty good day. I turned into an emotional, sobbing mess right after I saw her- I am so grateful to have her in my life. She definitely gave me the strength to keep going even though I was in a lot of pain. There was an adorable cheerleading squad at around 11.5 so I decided to take a minute to cheer with them- fun!
Mile 13 + .1: I forced myself to speed up and run as hard as my legs would let me. The crowd was awesome and everyone was cheering for us by name. I love spectators! Finished!
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Finished! Did I mention that Dori PRd?!? She rocked it! And yes, my headband says "Run Like a BAMF"

Lessons Learned:
  1. You can only plan so much. Pre-race rituals will take you only so far. It's important to know how to handle those unexpected moments like baggage check drama or rocks at mile 6.7. Breathe, focus and keep your head in the game. I will BE a MARATHONER.
  2. Still need to work on pacing.
  3. Still need to build up core strength.
  4. Boas are not the best running accessory. For one, feathers & sweat don't really mix. And when the feathers get up in your nostrils, breathing can be a bit tough.
  5. Tiaras, on the other hand, are fine.
  6. GUs still taste like crap, even in gummy form.
Once again, thanks for reading my recap and coming along for the race. On Sunday, I run my first 18 miler and I'll find out what it's like to run 2 miles longer than I've ever run...wooohooo!

Some more pictures from the race for your viewing entertainment :) See? Running really is fun!!!

13 comments :

  1. Congrats! Love it... and great job pushing through the injury. That's pure mental toughness right there - you will kill it in Philly!

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  2. I love this recap! I had such a great time with you this weekend and I probably would have been a lot more stressed if you weren't there to calm me down. I'm impressed by how much you remember from each mile. Also, they might be similar but I eat Shot Blocks, not Chomps. Might be worth a try, even though they are also chewable, the consistency might be different? Maybe try it when you're not running and see how you like it.

    I think you ran a fantastic race despite lots of difficulties. So happy I got to run this with you! Congrats!

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  3. great recap and congrats erica! the hotel balcony IS hysterical. did you gals harass anyone doing laps in the pool? your number 1 lesson is something i always tray and explain to non-runner/tri friends, no matter how much preparation is under your belt, game day is still game day and you never know whats going to happen.

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  4. Love the recap and the photos! Hope the ankle is fine!!

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  5. way to go running through an injury! Sounds like a great time!

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  6. Ben: thanks!!! Can't believe Chicago is finally here. Good luck this weekend- you're going to rock it!!!

    Dori: So happy I could be there to keep you guys calm! The weekend was seriously awesome & I had an incredible time with you. Congrats on your PR!

    Baker: no harassing... I guess I'm not as BAMF as I thought I was ;) I definitely learned a huge lesson this race.

    Nicki: thanks lady! Ankle is feeling great

    TNSRA: Thanks lady!

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  7. Looks like such an awesome race! Glad you had fun. And your #1 thing you learned is pretty important, every race where you learn something is a useful tool for marathon prep!

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  8. Sorry you fell. Great mindset, the baggage check drama would've put me over the edge. Will check on baggage for chicago, thanks for reminder.

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  9. OMG what a great race recap! I love the pictures....what a fun race to run! Reminds me of the Disneyland Half, with everyone dressed up. Sorry about your foot....but you are such a rock star, you totally carried on just great! Not every race can be a PR, not every run can be epic, You inspire me, Erica!

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  10. that looks like such a fun race!! i enjoyed reading about it:-) pictures are awesome!

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  11. Great recap. I think you handled everything amazing and took falling in stride. Good for u, and you look great in a tiara, btw!

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  12. Wow everyone! Thanks so much for your support, kind words, encouragement, etc...!!!

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