Sunday, May 1, 2011

Renaissance Half

A great place for a race!

Friday afternoon, I drove a little over 2 hours to Ridgeland, MS. I picked up my packet and headed to P.F. Changs for dinner.  I had my gift certificate that Rock N Roll New Orleans sent after the race in Feb.  Sweet!

Sat. morning I was up at 4:00 for the 6:00 am start.  I stayed nearby, and with this being a smaller race, traffic isn't a problem.   The temp was around 55 degrees at the start, which is much cooler than I was expecting.  We have had several nights where the low has been around 70 degrees, so I was happy and excited about the 55 degree start.

My plan was to go out the first 2 miles slow,  around 8:25 pace, and then pick up the pace from there.  I warmed up a mile before the race.  As I made it to the start line, just before the race, I was not able to get to the 8:00 to 9:00 min. pace area, so I started knowing I would do some weaving.  Again, this is a smaller race, so it wouldn't take long to get with runners of my same pace.   
Mile 1
the 1st mile was not a problem because of the crowd, I struggled to get on pace. 
It's REALLY not a good thing when you plan to start out slow, and then you can't START the race, mile one,  at your slow pace.  

Mile 2
determined NOT to call it a day, and give up on racing
At this point in the race, I can still do a little math, and I quickly calculate at the end of the first 2 miles, I'm back on the plan.  
(8:24 ish avg for 2 miles)

Mile 3 - 8:22, Mile 4 - 8:11
Motto for the day
I can, I will
Mile 5 - 8:11, Mile 6 - 8:18, Mile 7 - 8:24
I can, I will 

Mile 8 - 8:26, Mile 9 - 8:48, Mile 10 - 8:39
I Can, I will, but....
my brain and body were not working together...
I guess I "could not,  and did not...
Ha Ha Ha!
I sure wanted to

I ran the Mardi Gras half in New Orleans in Feb.  For a couple of years now, I have been "drinking on the run."  I grab my cup, "crimp" it, and drink it on the run.  I had some issues in Feb., later in the race, with recovering after my water intake.  It's NOT easy to drink on the run, and it REALLY takes the "AIR" out of me in those later miles.  I realized on Sat. that it's the faster pace of the half marathon that creates the breathing issues during the later hydration areas. (not an issue in the marathon)  Seriously, after I finish drinking, it's taking me about a minute, or more, to be able to get my breathing calmed, and then try to get back up to pace.  On Sat., two of the stops were just before hills.  I was drinking while running up hill, and then trying to keep my pace,  and recover.  This has me wondering if I may do better to walk the last few stops.  Really don't want to do that because it's hard to get back on pace after walking, and the walking takes even more time.  Hmmm????

It's been thoroughly documented my lack of "hill racing" skills.  But then to add hills and trying to drink, race, and maintain my pace, all at one time - eek.  ....let's just say,   I haven't mastered that yet.  

Mile 11 - 8:39, Mile 12 - 8:41, Mile 13 - 8:42. .1 - 1:27
finally was happy to be done with the hills on the course and then was hit in the face with a strong head wind for the last few miles.  Fun stuff! 
I gave it what I had today, and that makes it a great race day.
13.1 miles
With each passing mile, I tried to get back on pace, but as AM noticed, my recent training has lacked tempo runs.  I most definitely need tempos to run well and "finish" distance races.
I am happy with the results on Sat.
I ALWAYS wish I could have finished a little faster, and I ALWAYS go into these situations thinking ....
even though my training hasn't been specifically for this race, I can do this, I'm in shape, and I can do more than I specifically "trained" to do..... in the early years of running, and training you can get away with this, and more,
because of the number of years that I have been training, and my age (which I hate to mention), I must be 100% focused on the distance to do close to my best.  

I'm continuing to "see this", "realize this", "learn this", but I'm a slow learner so it takes me a while.  I have to learn things over and over, and over again before I truly "get it."

Don't read this and think I'm disappointed with the day,
I'm NOT, at all
It's just "funny" how I continue to think I can pull magic out of my hat without being 100% focused on the particular race.

 A few other observations from the day.
This race was changed from June to April because of the heat in Mississippi.
I was disappointed at first because the half marathon, in June, in MS, was a unique endurance challenge.  A challenge that I enjoyed.
However, with the cooler temps, and the new green of spring, this is a beautiful course.  The cooler temps allowed me to see more because I wasn't in a "heat coma." Ha!  
 I took this pic because I love these grassy plants that blow in the wind.  Seeing it blow in the wind is calming and therapeutic.

If you are a shopper, you should add this as a destination race.  The Renaissance at Colony Park is an amazing upscale shopping area.  I'm not a shopper, definitely not an upscale shopper,  but the area is GREAT.

My training this week:
Wed. - am 5.5 miles - 1.5 mile w/u, 12 X 200 @ :51 second avg.(6:51 pace) with 31 second avg. recovery, then I went to yoga and we did hip openers - perfect! weights, and core work, and  Wed. evening was the 4.5 miles easy,  with Scott Jurek and Chris McDougall and friends.

Thurs. - walk 30 min
Fri - walk 4 miles
Sat. - race - 14.1 miles
Sun. - 2.4 miles, SLOW, recovery,  to get 40 miles for the wk
Totals - 40 miles running, 1 yoga class, 2 days of weights and core work,etc. and 6 miles of walking.

132 miles of running for April 

and now, 100% total focus on the 5k, a test of the mind - total focus!


Gracie (Complicated Day) said...

That's a fantastic race and great pace. I share your difficulty in drinking/breathing for shorter distances (I grabbed a cup during a 5k and it practically choked me). If you figure it out let me know!

Runwithme said...

I think you said it just right. After the hills played out, the headwinds came.
And by the time I was in the last mile, I had to pass 10K walkers, (three abreast!), which just isn't fair! But I liked this April date a ton better than the June event of the past.

Jennifer said...

I miss that race! My first year not doing it. Seems like you had a decent race and I love how you analyze it to make plans for improvement!

Raquelita said...

Well, I think you're amazing! (I'm not coordinated enough to run and drink out of the water cups at the same time, so I almost always walk through the aid stations.) Congrats on a fantastic half!

lindsay said...

a 1:51 is great! now bring on the 5k!! :) oh yeah, and do you need my address to mail the gifts i am *sure* you picked up for me this weekend? ;)

Irene said...

That's a terrific HM time, for ANY age! Yay!

I also have a hard time stopping or slowing then getting back on pace. I try to carry my liquids with me and take very small sips through out the race, but sometimes that doesn't always work, especially if it's extra warm that day and I need more than I can carry. Oh, I carry a 20 ounce hand held Amphipod water bottle.

Jenn said...

Love the amended mantra after mile 8-you crack me up!! Great job-great attitude!!

You are smart with your training Ginny! You are figuring out what works for YOU! Excited to see you tackle this 5K specific training. Maybe ONE day I will put full energy into that. I always think I will but then I settle back into the comfort of the distance.....

Again, Congrats and great job! No flipping off the race director pictures this time???

Chris K said...

Ginny, you are your #1 critic :-) That's okay, that's how you get faster. And, gotta say, that was a very good time. Not sure about the whole water station thing. I carried a 20 oz hand bottle on my last half. It had some pro's and con's.

BTW, I do a tempo run every Mon and track work every Wed. It is crucial in improving my speed.