Sunday, March 27, 2011

National HALF Marathon 3/26/11

This was originally going to be a full marathon run, but lingering IT band irritation from the last few months of racing was on the mend but still looming. My weekly mileage for the last 2 months hovered in the 3-20 range (except for the week of Holiday Lake 50k). So I did the "mature" thing and decided it would be smart to run the shorter race.  My running friend from Cville graciously waded through the crowds at the expo (1 day only) and got me officially changed from the full to the half marathon. As I had no desire to fight DC Friday night rush hour(s) traffic, I opted to hit the road at 3am and meet my friend at her hotel in DC. I had a pleasant traffic free drive up, found the hotel, and found the RFK Stadium and free parking with plenty of time to line up.

Meet up with the Marathon Maniacs in the Armory for the pre-race photo shoot and got caught up with a few Maniac friends, I had to repeat several times that I was "only" running the half, a few seem disappointed which I found mildly entertaining and I could certainly understand their perspective (it is "only" a marathon, you can do it!). I wandered outside and found it eerie how few people were lined up only 15 minutes from the start, especially after hearing there were 16,000 runners in the 2 distances combined. Not sure where to go I just headed for the first open corral, which ended up being #4 (no-one was checking bibs), this ended up being perfect for my pace. Race started a few minutes late and it took me another 7 minutes to cross the start line. Temps were at freezing at the start and warmed up 10 degrees in the next 2 hours, sun shining the entire time. For the first 10 min after crossing the start line there were dozens of people with race bibs on heading in the opposite direction, late for the race start. Sunshine was gorgeous, and it was interesting to see a normally very bustling DC, in a very quiet and empty state. Early morning is my favorite time of day. Very few spectators other than the few underpasses we went through, with people lined up on the streets above cheering.

I had no idea where the course went other than it was in DC and it was a loop, however I did not realize that the entire first half would be shared by the full and half marathoners. After the finish for the half, the full marathoners continued on, although I am not sure where, or if they had to repeat the loop we just did. This is a similar strategy to the Charlottesville Marathon and Half Marathon and for the marathoners it is very disheartening to run past the finish line with several miles still to complete. There were 2-3 mile markers total, 2 were chalk painted on the ground and 1 was on the back of a bathroom sign zip tied to a pole (really!!! no mileage markers?!really?). The finish line was chaos, with the half finishers trying to first get medals but we were told that they were for the relay folks. About 5 feet past them were for the half marathoners but you had to push your way up to them to get them. Several people ended up missing the medals all together. Then it was busy and chaotic trying to get water and the after race goodies, not very well organized for a large race.

I finished 1:56:14 with an average pace of about 8:50 min/mile.
Nice technical finisher shirt (although they handed them out at the expo and they said finisher on them) and neat finisher's medal. I would not recommend this run for next year, but I am glad I still went to have a nice run and to mark a turning point back into running longer distances, because I sure do love running.

Sugar Hollow Cville Area Trailrunners (CAT) training run

3/13/11 8am (Meet at Greenberry's to carpool to the TH at Sugar Hollow)

Parked at the lower lot and headed up the North Fork Moormans River Trail, then turning North on the Appalachian Trail to BlackRock Summit. Climbing 7 miles and about 1,900ft to reach this view from the summit.

David and Drew

Becca and Drew
Christian had joined us for the first few miles on his mountain bike due to recovering from a stress fracture (he even wore his brace! awesome), he turned around to attend other commitments he had that sunny Sunday.
While David and Drew continued South on the AT looping back to the TH on the Turk Branch Trail for a longer run, I headed back down the trail that we came up to keep the mileage down to rest a healing IT band. On the way down I stopped to take a few pictures. The river was still running high 3 days after the last rainstorm, so there were several wet crossings and thus kept the day hikers away. I had the trail to myself until the last few miles from the car.

Gorgeous section of SNP, crazy that it took over a year of living here to finally explore this section! Another Charlottesville gem and another great day on the trails.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Holiday Lake 50k++ Race Report (2011 Edition)

6:01:14 (Last year 7:05)
182/305, 36th Female (seeded as 47th).

Weather was amazing, perfect cool temps for running.
Good company, Cville and Chambersburg, PA running friends.
Accomplished goals of beating last year's time (my first ultra) and running faster than David Horton had seeded me.

Pictures courtesy of Chuck Stone from PA

First creek crossing

3rd and 5th aid station

Kristal and Brenda just before the turnaround


LtoR Brenda, Me, Kristal (first ultra!), Chuck

Up Next (um, tomorrow): National Half Marathon in DC. Was supposed to be the full but I am trying to be conservative on mileage while I nurse an IT band injury back to health.

2010 Year in Review

*yes, I know it is currently March*


-First time being 30
-First Ultra
-First 50 miler
-First time in Alaska
-First time ice climbing
-First time in a hot air balloon
-First time in South America
-First tooth pulled
-First stitches (placed after the tooth was pulled)
-First time buying an engine for my car, along with a clutch
-First time running in yak tracks
-First time seeing someone dressed as the Eiffel tower run a marathon
-First time in NYC
-First time going to Physical Therapy