So here it is. My take on the past 4 months leading up to another Half-Marathon.
If you were to scroll through my blog and find my last re-cap, it will be a stark difference to what I will post today. My last half-marathon was October 17 of 2009. Training was tough and there was a lot of pain, and many tears. The race itself was hard, hilly and painful. Coming off that race, I took a 6 month hiatus from running all together. I didn't want to see it, talk about it, or be around anyone who did it. I am not a "natural" runner. I have to really, really work at it. And when training like that, you can really hit a wall which is right where I was.
So, around the spring time I started thinking about things again and talking with my Running Buddies. I would occasionally meet up for a 2-3 mile run. I still had no plans to run any distance. Around May I really started feeling like my life needed a goal. I was getting caught up and depressed about the fact that all I did was work, workout and sleep, repeat times forever. During my hiatus, I completed both the P90x and Insanity workout programs...so I really think that gave me a nice break from pounding the pavement.
In June, I paired up with my running buddies again and decided that I was going to do another Half. It was time to set a goal, and since I had such an undesirable first one, I was determined to have a great experience.
This time, I was much smarter about my training and taking care of myself. I already knew that my IT Band on my left leg was going to get ugly, unless I did something to help it. *Enter Josh Kollmann* Meet my new Sports Doctor. I saw him weekly for months and he worked with me and my issues until they were pretty much non-existent. Though the sessions were painful, and I often cursed him, he is truly a miracle worker. I ran my entire Half with NO pain in my leg at all.
This year, I knew what I wanted out of a race. I needed people and a lot of them. I wanted supporters and the location to be a great city that we'd never been to. I needed a race that was a big deal. So, after some research it was decided we would run the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half during Labor Day. The Rock N Roll series is a big series of races that travels throughout the US.
Training was so much different this time. There were no tears. There was really no doubt. I had a great doctor, a great family and great running friends. Yes, I was sore. Yes, I was tired. But I was so happy to be back...improved...stronger.
Labor Day came quickly and we were off to Virginia Beach a few days before the race, to get in a mini-vacay and just relax. We've had a busy year this year so technically it was our first chance to really get away somewhere. Saturday night we met up with my RB and her hubbie and we carb-loaded. I seriously ate like it was my job. Salad, french fries, shrimp, bread, pasta. Oh yes, it was awesome.
5:00am Race day. Its funny how people think all you need to run is a good pair of shoes and shorts. Though those 2 things are vital, there is so much more to it. Body Gliding your whole body from head to toe, biofreeze, blister preventers, Garmin, Zune, sport beans for energy.
We take the shuttle to the convention center/start line. Here are all of the people I wanted. All 20,000 of them. I'm nervous and ready to go. I'm ready for it to be over. We stood in the line for the port-a-potties twice. This is where I will not explain to you the things you experience in there. 95% of what happens in port-a-potties really needs to happen at someones home or hotel. To survive, one must take a large deep breath and get in and out in 1 minute flat.
The race starts and we are now standing in our "corrals" that are organized by your estimated finish time. Finally it was my time to go...Here goes nothing.
At this race there are bands and cheering squads/people at every mile marker. Though it was nice, it only last 20 seconds as I ran by.
Miles 1-8 were great. Nothing hurt, I felt great, I had a good pace. Miles 9-10 got harder. I start to feel blisters forming which is extremely annoying as I took extra care that morning to assure I wouldn't get any. Its now pretty hot out. I trained during an extremely hot summer and though I was used to it, it still can take a lot out of you. Miles 11-12...I was ready to be done. I knew the boardwalk was there...but where was it?? I see my favorite guy at 11.5m and am so thrilled. I fill a boost of energy that I desperately needed. I finally turn the corner and am now on the boardwalk...why did no one tell me the finish line was light-years away? I can't even see it!! But alas, there it is. There are the people and there is that line. I finish my second half-marathon 8 minutes faster than last year and with no knee or ITband pain at all.
It was a great race..and a truly great experience. I have learned so much more about myself.
So off I go... another great goal and a lot more miles. I am now hunting that decal that boasts 26.2. Wish me luck.