Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wine Country Marathon and Half part 1, the lead in

So I've been a bit quite lately.  SJRNR just sort of smacked down my running confidence - falling apart in mile 9 and just flat out not being able to will myself out of it really bothered me.  I tend to think I can hang with a fairly tough mental game (heck, I was running that entire race with bladder pressure from the infection) so to just have my body not cooperate with my mind in two races in a row sort of wore me out.  (This is my lack of experience showing -- and I know that logically). 

 I also think going into that race I though I'd be able to nail it as I'd done it once already.  So yeah yeah, Disneyland was hard but that was because it was new -- this is old hat.  Of course all my training was derailed a bit after Disney but I didn't want to think too hard on what that might do to the race. I had managed to keep my miles up so that would be good, right?  Who knows sometimes why something is just hard to get over.  This was.

But, I'm one to want to fix problems and if I can analyze data in the process so much the better. I had data. I started reviewing some of my training information over my entire whopping one and a half years running career and I discovered that while I felt like I'd increased my mileage a lot recently, I hadn't.  I was running just a few more miles a week on average this year vs. last.  And then last year I did a lot more in hill training and this year while I usually nailed the track work outs -- I just could barely get a tempo run in at target paces to save my life.  

It would naturally make sense that my times are very similar this year to last.  And possibly that it is okay to struggle a bit on the races because each time, I learn something.  Actually I learn at least 10 somethings.  

So I had been thinking a lot on how I was going to approach today.  This was never going to be a PR race in my mind as I figured the course had rolling hills (wine country -- yeah) and initially I was going to do so wonderful in Disneyland it wouldn't matter!  'But I noticed two themes while reviewing  my race data from Disneyland and SJRNR: 1.  I would start out too fast, even when I thought I shouldn't because I just told myself to run what felt good at that mile.  2.  Bad, not strong finishes.  Finishes where I wanted to die (probably caused by running too fast at first).  So that led me to my two goals for Healdsburg:

1.  Negative Splits 
2.  Finish strong

I was willing to sacrifice time to get there -- I was willing to take a 2:10 if I could finish strong (for both SJRNR and Disneyland, I was also dizzy at the end -- SJRNR it was very bad -- in addition to having the world pass me and not being able to find that last bit of energy).  I didn't know the course at all and when my girlfriends drove it the night before they came back a bit worried because of the hills.  Lot of rollers -- and a larger hill around mile 10.  So then I just mentally told myself to calm the hell down and if I could get 1 and 2 -- and the race would be a success.  

How I did:

1.  Negative Splits -- check (1:00:13 for first half/58:51 for second -- estimates on splitting mile 6)
2.  Finish strong -- oh yeah baby.  I started passing people at 9.5 miles even on the uphills -- and from that point on, I was only passed by 3 tall young men who appeared to be flying and one woman!!  And then when two men actually had the nerve to try to hit the finish pad sooner then me, I just couldn't let them -- I was probably less than a half second ahead but they were still behind me when we hit the pad.  No dizzy -- felt awesome.  My friend was at mile 12 and said I looked about a thousand times better than I did at mile 12 in SJRNR and I felt it.    

Best part ever -- official time:  1.59.02.  Not a PR (that was Disney at 1:58:33) but my second fastest time tying with SJRNR 2010 (who does that, runs two races with the exact same time?) and this was a more difficult course.  7/94 in my age group and 272/1065 overall.  The best part though was I ran a good race!  It was the race I set out to run and I did it!!

I'm done for now -- more of a recap in the next day or so.  And hopefully I can get my garmin page to let me copy the elevations!!  I'm just so pleased.  I let so much get to me -- but confidence is restored -- and I'm up to 95% sure I can accomplish the BIG M.  


Terzah said...

SO HAPPY to read this! Congratulations! You are definitely ready for the big M. I think being able to make and then pull off a race plan is so key. This is another example that! Great job!

Nelly said...

Sounds like a good race! One of my friends did that race too, it was her first half marathon, and I gave her some tips on training the past couple months, it was good to see her race went well. Hopefully in the future I can do that race sometime, I've heard its a gorgeous race to do. I'm assuming that you got wine and beer at the finish line? I bet that is one of the best parts of the race!

I know you are hard on yourself for what happened at SJ Rock N Roll, but it just didn't seem like your body felt right. Doing a half marathon well you need to have everything go right, so I wouldn't worry about it.

And yea, you can definitely handle a marathon, I bet you could do one in the spring 2012 or fall 2012 depending on what you wanted to do. Heck, I bet you could gut one out right now if you really wanted to. It would be painful the last 6 miles or so, but I bet you could pull it off.

Paul said...

Thats great Tricia!

I like to see great pacing. Even if you have a little left in the tank I think it's great to practice getting even or negative splits to learn that fading is not always inevitable.

And pretty darn close to a PR. You are posed to do a PR. I would sign up for another half soon and snag it 8)

Remember that the big M is way harder than a half, so pacing is KEY. Have a good day and go SLOW. It's your first so it's a lock in for a PR 8). You can always open the throttle on marathon #2.

Anyway, good job and we look forward to the RR!

ajh said...

Great age placement! Awesome time too.

RoseRunner said...

I was very close to entering this race, but it came down to not wanting to book a hotel room and not wanting to drive 1.5 hours before a race morning. So....I want to hear all about the course and the race. Would you recommend it? Looking forward your full recap!