Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mercedes Half-Marathon Race Recap: PR, 2nd Female.

As I have already posted: Mercedes Half-Marathon: 1:19:38 for 2nd female
$500 (spent most of this on registration/travel/bad hotel)

Running this race was a logistical nightmare. We (Husband, Maddy, myself) did not have anything planned out and were scrambling last minute to try to make things work. Not the way I like to do things, but worth it.

On Saturday after running group, Maddy and I drove to Birmingham to pick up my race packet just in-time to watch about 7 heats of 3000m heats on the new indoor track facility in Birmingham, the CrossPlex. It was a great evening for the team, several PRs for some of the younger athletes on the team, men and women. Unfortunately, we didn't get away early enough and I missed the scheduled dinner with M., K., and D.

After driving around for almost an hour, we finally settled on Moe's. Not what I had in mind but I knew they had some chicken/rice bowl thing and Maddy likes cheese and nachos. In the end, Moe's was the right choice and I am happy to say that I survived whatever catastrophic events could have taken place in 13.1 miles the very next day.

Since the race hotel was booked, as well as anything else within driving distance, we ended up getting a great deal on a Baymont Suites some 20 minutes away from the start line. It was a dump, but the sheets were clean and there was bad morning coffee available... for $56 and one night I was not going to complain.

Race morning.

We woke up tired from Maddy tossing and turning all night long (our 2 1/2 star hotel did not offer us a child's crib) and cold...it was 20 degrees and I little bit breezy - not optimal but I was game for anything! We had planned on meeting Meagan and M, K, D in the hotel lobby of the Sheraton at 6:15. It was absolutely impossible trying to get there - let alone try and find a parking spot. After Houston dropped me off I didn't see him or Maddy until mile 12.75 of the race. Being as cold as it was, they spent most of the race drinking coffee and getting a snack at Starbucks - I would have done the same!

After a quick warmup, we all stripped down to our race gear...HA. I had on tights, a training top, arm sleeves, gloves, and a hat. Not once did I feel overdressed and waiting for the gun to go off, I wished I would have wore a warmer shirt. Funny, I had originally packed shorts and a sports bra, its a good thing I had a back up.

Meagan and I had planned on running 6:00-6:05 for the first 4 miles, and when the gun went off it felt like, well, 6:00.

Hmmm, wrong.

We went through the first mile in 5:50, and at this point I think we (Meagan and I) both felt so good that we just kept the miles coming whatever pace they were. Its not often...almost never...that I have such a great group of people to run with, so I figure if there was anytime to just go after it (make it or break it) it was today.

I will say that the mile markers and the Garmin didn't agree...at all. After the first three miles I really didn't pay attention to the mile splits. The Mercedes website clocked me at 36:03 at the 10K. I'm not sure which is more accurate, the garmin or the race clock.

The first 4 miles were fast and felt great. Mile 5 I started to feel amazing, mile 6 I thought I could pick up the pace. Mile 7, were turned a corner and all of a sudden I felt like I was sprinting. My legs started tightening up, and instead of fighting to stay with the pack for a few miles, my hip cramped up (along with everything else) and I quickly fell off around the 7.5 mile mark.

Damn. 

At first I was worried my race was over. I just ran 80:07 by myself three weeks ago, I didn't want to run another 80. Men started passing me (I rarely get passed after half way) and I did my best to try and work my way back up with the pack, but I could see Meagan and her group getting farther out of site.

I remember racing through mile 8 in about 47:3X, and then passing through mile 10 in 60:2X. I gave back a lot in those 2 miles, but my hip was also the tightest here and I believe it was a good bit up hill. At one point, I must have reached over and bumped my watch (maybe reaching for a cup of water?) I don't have a single split after mile 9, but I average 6:03 for the first 9 miles, so I know I slowed down...a lot. You could say I died a little, yes.

For someone that is typically good at math, I didn't do very good math during the last 2 miles. I passed through mile 11 thinking "Wow, I'm going to run 1:18 for sure." Then about a mile later I realized I was running 13.1 not 13.0, and if I was still going to break 80, I needed to pay attention to my pace. At mile 12 I needed to run the last 1.1 miles in 7:15 or less.

I could do that.

I passed Houston and Maddy at about 600 meters to go and we all knew I was going to break 80. Turning the corner heading into the final 100 meters I was almost crying, I didn't know how important breaking 80 was until I finally did it.

Going back a year ago, I had just ran 1:27 at Frostbite, I was only 14 weeks removed from pregnancy, getting back into shape, training fore my first marathon. I told Houston quietly, almost not believing it myself and a little nervous what his reaction would be, "I really want to break 1:20 some day for the half-marathon....." In which he quickly and confidently said, "I think you can do that."

And here I am, after 1 year of 4:30am workouts, 365 cups of instant coffee, hundreds of miles and 2 Garmins later, I crossed the line in 1:19:38 (or :41, still confused) good enough for 2nd (Meagan won in 1:17:XX) and making the whole trip completely worth it.

Finish! Photo by Cathy Sharp
After the race, I went up to sign for my $500 prize money, something I didn't anticipate getting. Someone asked me what I was going to do with the money. I answered without taking a second to think, "Pay Maddy's ER bill." Exit: Athlete, Enter: Mom. I guess I had thought about the money at some point during the race.

Garmin results before I bumped my watch. Not sure how accurate they are.


After packing up, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Cracker Barrel so Maddy could fill up on pancakes and sleep most of the way home. Monday morning I was up at 4:30 am as usually, ran 9-10 miles, got Maddy ready and was off to work - coffee in hand. By 8:00 AM I was at my desk, checking emails, writing my to-do-list, refilling my coffee cup, smiling the whole time.


Here I was back to being Mom, back to work, back to reality- after successfully checking "break 80 in the half" off my bucket list...and it feels pretty good.

13 comments:

mainers said...

congrats on the sub 80 Meggan!

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

Love, love this! Making your dreams reality while never losing site of your priorities! And you look so beautiful in all your pictures.

Jesse Armijo said...

Again, nice job!

lindsay said...

incredible! congrats on the 1:19. very inspiring to hear how far you've come in only 1 year. maybe there is hope for me yet :)

Jenn said...

Awesome report! Really well written! I've been waiting for this:) What a year you've had. 8 minutes on a HM in one year!!! Not to mention you cranked out some pretty freakin' amazing other races in there!

You will go so far. You've got the talent, the work ethic, the support of your family, you're HAPPY and have all your priorities in check! In a couple of years you'll have a little running partner maybe! She has good genes, great examples:)

Congrats again on a fantastic race!

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

such a great race report Meggan! reading that 4:30 am part reminds me to count my blessings, one of which is being self-employed and having a somewhat flexible schedule.

the work ethic, the tough race mind, the goals, the successes - all good stuff! Love it! Congrats!

A-Pi (Peter) said...

Impossible is nothing - I'm taking mental notes for this year's races!

Caitlyn Clark said...

Love this recap!

I'm running a half in March. I'm looking beyond it though... I'm not really targeting anything right now. My only goal is to train consistently without injury. It's only my second one half. (and it's the same course as the first)... I'm hoping to break 1:25 like I planned last time (I ran 1:25:51) and to run a lot more even paced.

Even though your 1:19:xx is significantly better than my 1:25:51, I can relate to the excitement in the beginning and running ahead of pace to stay with a group... and then the unravelling and inability to calculate pace in the end. So I guess my only goal is to not do that this year... and to stay in control at least through 12 miles.

Crossfit said...

It was a nice pic, it was a great race event. Thanks for sharing ! Congratulations for a great job well done and looking forward always for more updates.

Lize Brittin said...

Great job! Congratulations on your race.

The Salty One said...

Woooo! What a great report and race!

Raina said...

Fantastic race, even with the cranky hip and the garmin bump. I sometimes wonder if I would race better without my garmin on.
Glad you got the prize money- sorry it's already spent. Enjoy this hard earned PR!

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