Sunday, March 7, 2010

Half of a half

I'll be able to make it half way through the half-marathon!

And I got a new background for my blog!

Yesterday I ran 6.5 miles--my longest run ever (again). By the end of it, I was grinning like a fool. I passed a few people during the last mile and I'm sure I confused a some of them. I felt so good while running I just couldn't keep the smile off my face.

And, on top of just being able to actually run 6.5 miles, I shaved 10 seconds off my average pace--I'm down to 10:54/mile! Since this is my first half-marathon my goal really is just to finish it, but I'd also love to finish under 2 1/2 hours--my goal pace would be between 10:00/mile and 10:30/mile.

Using Map My Run, I plotted out my course and tried to hit up parts of the Madison half-marathon. There were portions of the run that I had never done before, so I made a point to try those out and actually run down the streets in the same direction of the race. Some parts of the course (I'm looking at you Langdon and Gorham) are uphill for the race, but if I had reversed my loop, those would been some nice gradual downhills.

Since I knew I'd be running early in the morning (my goal was to be out between 8 and 8:30am), I tried to eliminate all possible excuses I might come up with--I checked the weather, laid out my clothes, charged up Polly, set out some Multi-Grain Cheerios (doesn't seem to bother my stomach) to eat in the morning, my hydration belt (more on that later) with Sharkies, and wrote out my route. And I knew that I'd likely be sore after my run, so I bought a bag of ice too (for the eventual ice bath).

I started out on the bike path along Lake Monona--it's so pretty, but I was having a hard time forgetting about the cold at first--it was about 17 degrees with the windchill--and I kept wondering if I'd dressed warmly enough. I told myself to just keep going (farther and farther away from home) and that I'd eventually warm up (true fact). Also, when I started the run, my legs felt like they were numb and it was a struggle just to bring them up and down to move forward. This same feeling happened during my 5 mile run a couple weeks ago and I think it's just my legs' first mile regret. Then they remember how to run and things move smoothly.

By the time I was running through the campus, I was in the sun and warming up quickly. I took my hat off even before mile 2--running with a wool hat is not recommended--but it was warm enough that I never needed to put it on again. The cool thing about downtown Madison is that it's right between two lakes--Monona and Mendota (they sound like bad twin names). And it only takes about 10 minutes running to go from one side to the other, so before I knew it, I was running along a lake (kinda) again. Lake Monona has more paths directly along the lake, whereas Mendota is more built up--the campus runs along it for awhile, and then houses for real people. So, I really just saw flashes on Mendota, but I could feel the cool breeze off of the ice and loved it...I was really getting warm.

I ran down Frat Row (Langdon with it's constant, gradual uphill and sudden steep climbs) and then continued to follow the roads along Mendota. The miles really just seemed to fly by--I have rarely been in this area of Madison, so I kept looking at the houses and the views of the lake. I barely noticed how far I had run until I suddenly looked at the street name and realized that I was less than a mile from the end!

I felt really good throughout the entire run and didn't want to die at the end. I took a few breaks to walk, mainly when I would hit a red light and have to wait. I only ate a few Sharkies, but I really didn't feel hungry or that I needed more fuel--I haven't had a run yet where I've hit the wall, but I've heard that usually comes when you get to 7-8 miles...two more weeks until I get to try that out. My legs were definitely tight and sore, especially my knees, but by the time I had finished my cool down walk, they weren't so bad.

When I got home, I did my standard ab workout (I should post that sometime...) and stretched out. Then, I started the ice bathing...

The bath was awful. I always make a cup of tea to take with me in the tub and start with just a little bit of cold water (enough that there's a layer to sit on). Then, I get in the tub (with the tea!) while it continues to fill up (thanks to a great tip from Chic Runner!). Then, I gradually added in the ice--there was one ginormous chunk that I couldn't break before I dumped it in. That one hurt a lot. It upped the cold factor like 10 times as soon as it was in the water. Once my legs went numb, it wasn't so bad and I stayed in for 15 minutes--poor choice. My legs looked like they were sunburnt and it took over an hour to warm up, even after a warm shower. My legs still feel sore, but without the ice bath, I'm sure it'd be worse.

This week will be a recovery week with just 2 three mile runs and a four miler. Also, I'm going to New York this weekend to visit a friend! I've gotta rest up for it--last time I was out there, I fell asleep at the bar...head back, mouth open, not pretty. I need to fix that image...

On to the Oscars!


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