This was a very high mileage week for me. I have been staying in the 40-48 miles per week range for a while. But by the time Sunday rolled around I was already at 50. This was my plan though. I wanted to race on tired legs in preparation for Boston and Big Sur. Saturday I got in an easy 6.2 with my cousin Sarah who is preparing for her first half in April and then when I got home from our run, I set out for another 6 hard on my own. That was 12 miles the day before a half. This is something I had never done before. I have always taken it pretty easy the day before any race and so this was new territory for me.
Sunday I woke up feeling pretty good but for the first time I could feel how tired my legs were. My left groin muscle had decided to rear it's ugly head on Friday night in a soreness I had never felt before. All I was thinking was, "great, an injury I just don't need right now." But surprisingly it didn't bother me at all on Saturday's runs or on Sunday. First and foremost for this race though was the logistics. They have you start in the middle of Golden Gate park and you finish quite a bit farther away. Under normal circumstances this would be okay, but this is San Francisco where parking is a bitch even on normal days. So the hubbs dropped me off at the start and went and parked the car closer to the finish and raced back on his bike to meet up with me during the race. I hadn't planned on him really assisting me that day, but it turned out I needed him. The weather was awesome, from start to finish I think the temp hovered around 50-55 degrees with hardly any wind.
The start line
The start was a little late and I should have know this was going to be a preview for the whole race. It was the most disorganized race I have ever been to. It was put on mainly by Kaiser Permanente, a health foundation in California that I actually belong to. When the gun went off we went up a slight uphill, rounded around the middle of Golden Gate park and then down through an area known as the "Avenues." It's quite pretty, lots of older homes. After a slight down hill around mile two they dumped us back into the heart of GG park and we were passing the Academy of Sciences. This is where my legs just didn't want to move anymore. I felt like they were lead and I was doing everything I could to keep going. I found Ari around this point and gave him my arm warmers and gloves. I was hoping that would help me as I was already getting quite warm. But my mile 3, after another slight downhill, my legs and knees were screaming. I hit mile 3 at about 23:50 or so and I was done. I looked at Ari and just started walking. Yes, walking. I haven't walked in a race in forever but I felt done. I wanted to quit. I wanted to leave. It was a packed race and I was right in the middle of it. There were lots of fast runners and I never felt like I got away from the pack. I walked for about .10 and then started running again. I looked at my watch and I was pacing 8:30's and I freaked. I saw my whole day get away from me. I think Ari saw this to and he started to talk to me. He reminded me I could do it, gave me some Gatorade and sent me off. The next miles were a blur. I took a Gu around mile 6 or about 50 mins in. I knew I was already off my pace. That seemed to help me.
Out on the GH
The crowd support for this race was bad. Even those that had come out to the GH to cheer didn't even cheer! No signs, no horns - nothing. They also only gave out water on the course until mile 10 where they finally gave out some power ade. The water stops were a cluster fu*k and poorly organized, too. Every water stop slowed me down as I dodged people to get around. Finally, I hit the mile 12 marker and I knew that I could get the last 1.1 miles done. I kicked it into over drive and ran that last 1.1 miles in less than 8 mins. I had looked down at my watch and it had said 1:39:xx and I hit it.
I crossed the finish line with my garmin saying 1:47:55. I was so defeated at this point. The finish shoot was really bad, too. No MEDAL! Just some water and your cotton shirt waiting for you. No bananas, no bagels - nothing but water, your shirt and a crappy goody bag. And it was packed with non-runners and the 5K people. I quickly gathered myself and found Ari. I remember telling him that I don't know how I finished. I wanted to cry. I felt so defeated and I couldn't tell you what I did wrong other than I was tired. My legs were cramping, so I threw on my sweats, got changed out of my sweaty bra and we walked to the car. The walk was a good thing - he had parked 6 hilly blocks away but it was good to walk. I didn't even want a picture.
Garmin: 13.22 miles 1:47:55 8:09/mi
Official: 13.10 miles 1:48:07 8:15/mi overall 1324, division 94th.
I don't think I will ever run this race again. Not because of my own poor performance, but because of how unorganized it was. It was just a mess. The course could be really fast, which I probably would like on fresher legs, but the organizers just did the whole race on the cheap. It was nice to be in the city for the beautiful weather, and we both really appreciated that. If you don't know this, the best time of year to visit SF is the winter, and the worst is July and August where they sometimes never see the sun for days with all the fog. So the weather was not lost on us.
My hips are sore and my legs are tired. And although this wasn't a PR or even a PW, it was a very lesson filled race for me. I learned that high mileage weeks are not going to get the job done for me. I learned what it feels like to race on very tired legs which will be good for Big Sur and the Relay. I learned how to try to cope with the mental defeat on the race course - something I hadn't had to feel in a while. I learned what I need to work on and where to tweak my training plan. Although I felt very defeated yesterday, today I am much more positive and know what I need to do. I finished the week off with 63 miles, one of the highest I have ever hit - and something I don't need to do for a while again. Yes, a 1:48 half is respectable time, I know this especially with 63 miles on my legs. But I know that I am capable of more and this makes me want to work harder. I am excited about my next half, I know what I need to do. I know that not every race can be a PR, and I know that not every race I am going to feel like a million bucks. But I definitely wasn't counting on feeling the way I did on Sunday. It's a lesson though that isn't lost on me.
Today is a rest day, whoo hooo! I am going to do some cross training and re-vamp my training program. Plus, it's Monday, my favorite day of the week and I am busy at work! Congrats to all the peeps who raced this weekend, including Aron, Danica and LB! You guys did awesome!
And don't forget to check out Tall Mom's Recovery Sock Giveaway - just don't enter, I wanna win!!
Happy Monday and Happy Running peeps!