This past weekend was a crazy race weekend for me. For one I'd be running my 2nd half marathon. The first one I ran was a little over 6 months ago. On top of it I'd be running two 5k's the day before. I might be a little ambitious, or a little crazy. Maybe I'm both.
A while back I signed up for something called the Living Dead Challenge. You run a 5k at night on Saturday and a half Sunday morning. You complete both - you complete the challenge. You get a 3rd medal for completing the challenge. Sounded fun. And the races were not too far from home - up in New Port Richey, at Starkey Park.
Then I heard of this other race called the Great West Chase. A few people I knew were supposed to be doing it. My aunt lives in Westchase, she wanted to do it as her first 5k. I thought to myself, I could run 3 miles in the morning and then 3 more at night. Why not? I won't run them hard. I need to be rested for the half sunday. So I signed up for that one too. Total for the weekend would be 19.3 miles.
Friday night I stayed at my aunt's house which was right by the race. I worked until 9:30pm. I drove over. I tried to get to sleep as soon as I could, but it's always hard to fall right asleep after work. I probably went to sleep around 11pm. At around 4am I woke up because my uncle was in pain and needed to be taken to the hospital. I went with them. I was just going to forget about the race but I wound up making it there. I figured I'd do my best on 5 hours of sleep, no food, and no hydration.
My friend Sara had picked up my race packet for me. I wouldn't have made it in time for that. I was a little scared of my bib number. 666. I thought about turning it upside down for a minute, but I figured I'd run with it (pun intended). Plus it was close to Halloween. =)
|Bib from The Great West Chase|
Anyway, the race started. I felt tired. My legs hurt. I didn't really know how I was racing on such a lack of everything. I was hoping for a time of around 35 minutes. Slow, yes, but considering all factors involved and the fact that I had another race to do later on, it wasn't going to be a bad time.
I didn't stop at the water stop. I didn't want to slow down. I just wanted to be done with the race. I wanted to eat something and then go take a nap. I got through the race sluggishly. And then I crossed the finish. I was surprised with my time. 31:39. Not bad at all! I was pretty satisfied. Now to do it all again later.
We hung out for a little bit after the race. Checked our times, looked around at booths that were set up for vendors and stores. And then I went to check on my uncle, and went home to rest up for later.
|Me, Debbie, Sara, Ivy|
The Bride of Frankenfooter 5k started at 6:30pm. I grabbed a quick bite before the race for some energy and then off to starkey park. They had the area decorated for Halloween and a lot of runners were dressed up in costumes. It was fun. We took a few pictures and then lined up at the start.
|Ari and I before the 5k|
And off we went
|Me, Ari, and John at the start|
The course was on a bike path and the weather was pretty nice. My legs were still a little sore but I felt ok. I kept a comfortable pace. I wasn't looking to PR, I was looking to finish with an OK time, and feel ok for the half in the morning. My finish time was 31:18. I'll take it!
Then it was time for food - carb up time for the half - and bed!
Sunday morning arrived and I was excited! I felt good. I wasn't tired, I felt energetic, and I was ready to go. Back over to starkey park.
|Ari as a kitty, John, and I|
|Jim and I before the 1/2|
It was a beautiful morning! The weather was perfect! I was a little chilly, but I was happy to have this amazing weather to be running in! We got to the start area, hung out for a few minutes, and took some much needed pictures. 13.1 miles to run today. After 6.2 yesterday. I hoped that my legs wouldn't be too sore. I hoped that my HR issue wouldn't act up. I was just going to run comfortably. I was hoping to stay somewhere around my previous time of 2:46, but of course beating that time is always the goal! My real half goal is 2:30, but I figured with everything weighing against me, and my legs being a bit sore that wouldn't happen. I would be happy with 2:45.
And then, off we went. It was a small race so most of the runners were faster than me. I felt like there were a few stragglers at the back of the pack. I was one. But it was ok. I wasn't doing it to be competitive, or break any world records. I was just doing it to do it. I wanted to finish another half.
|Start of the 1/2|
I felt really good starting off. I just ran at a pace that was comfortable. A few times a looked down at my watch and realized I was running a bit fast, so I had to slow myself down. Of course I don't mind running fast, but I know that I would tire out eventually, so I wanted to keep it steady and comfortable. I could always speed up later if my body let me.
It started to drizzle a little bit, but it was sort of a fine mist. It felt kind of nice to run through. My pace was slightly under 11:30. I still thought this was kind of fast for me for a half, but I knew that was the pace I would need for a 2:30. I figured since I felt comfortable I'd see how long I could keep it up for.
|Somewhere along the beginning of the course|
I was able to keep myself at or under an 11:30 pace. I looked down at my watch and realized I'd been running for almost an hour. It didn't feel like that. I felt surprisingly good. There weren't a lot of runners around and it was one of the few times I've ran through a park. It was the only time I've run that far on my own. Yes, there were runners around me, but I was alone. No running partner to keep me motivated - just myself. I wondered to myself if I would get discouraged.
The run felt good. The park was nice. I got to the turn around at mile 7 and felt good. I was still maintaining at or under an 11:30 pace. How was this possible? I got to mile 9 and started feeling tired. This is where the mental aspect started to kick in. Only 4 more miles to go. And I was keeping a great pace. Was it possible that I could actually finish close to 2:30? And then I was at mile 10. Under 2 hours.
A girl running next to me pointed to something on the side of the trail. Deer! There were about 4 or 5 deer just standing in the grass. The park was beautiful to run through. I started to get thirsty. When was another water stop? I saw a water stop on the trail. Not a race one, but just one provided by the park. I stopped off on the side for a second. I felt better. I started to slow down a little. Just a little more to go.
I finally got to mile 12. Just ONE MORE MILE. I was getting tired. But I looked at my watch. I was going to be close to 2:30. Wow! I was slowed down a bit, but my pace was still not that bad. I turned the corner. I was now running on a dirt trail. I knew I wasn't that far from the finish. And then I heard some yelling. "20 seconds!" What? I looked ahead. I saw Jim. He looked excited. And then I realized how close I was to the finish and what he meant. I had 20 seconds to be sub 2:30. I ran as hard as I could to that finish line. And from what I saw I was in under 2:30. I was elated. I was in a bit of a daze. I didn't even see the medals there were trying to hand me.
I grabbed a water and walked over to Jim and John. We knew I was under 2:30, but I wanted to see the official results. And then we waited for Arianna to finish.
|Done with the half. And PRed! |
When Ari finished we went to take some pictures with our hard earned medals!
|John, Ari, Me - And Bling!|
|Jim helping me display all of those medals =)|
I kept checking for the official results. And then I found them. 2:29:54!!! I officially broke 2:30! And I surpassed my goal! I ran two 5k's the day before and still managed to somehow pull this off! This was beyond exciting for me!
And so I had an amazing weekend of races, and I have many more races coming up that I can hopefully do just as well at.