HMBTS Training, Week 11

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I think we can officially say that this is the week the wheels fell off this training plan. At this point, we’ll just have to see how the race goes. I was originally going to try for a PR, but since a) I trained crappily and b) it’s supposed to be hot on race day, I’ve lowered my expectations and goals.

Monday

Rest | Rest

I took the Bairn to a Kindermusik class, and then we hit up one of his favorite playgrounds:

Anyone want to guess why this park is a favorite? 😉

Tuesday

5 mile run | 6.5 stroller run/walk

It was Election Day in my city (a primary), so I figured I’d work our traditional stroller walk to the polls into my workout. I popped the Bairn in the jogging stroller, we walked to the polls, then jogged to the pond and ran just over halfway, til we got to the bubblers. Then I took him on a detour to a rail trail for a quick out and back, then walked to a new playground, then home. There were a decent amount of walk breaks, and a long stop at the park, but all together we traveled just shy of 6.5 miles. Not too bad.

The Bairn rocking his “I voted” sticker and eating stroopwafel

Wednesday

Cross-training | Rest

Another Wednesday, another day of me not feeling like doing cross-training. Ho hum.

Thursday

Rest | Rest

Pretty run-of-the-mill rest day.

Friday

5 mile run | Rest

My FIL arrived for a visit Thursday night, and while I was working late, all the lads had a dinner out and the Bairn spent hours playing with his Baba. So he went to bed wicked late, meaning he slept in forever on Friday, meaning I had no time to squeak in a run before work. (I mean, I could have woken him up, but he was so cozy and needed the rest!) Which is too bad, because the weather was nice and cool and a run would have felt great!

Saturday

60 mins cross-training | Rest

At this point in the training plan, why even pretend that I’m going to cross-train?? I took the Bairn to his first soccer practice:

Most of the practice was spent doing this, or climbing the nearby bleachers. Toddlers gonna toddler.

Then met a Shammie friend for an afternoon beer, then went out for a nice anniversary dinner with Drew.

Sunday

10 mile run | 5k race

Sunday was the 5th race in the RAW Series, the Shoppers Cafe 5k. I arrived at the race a wee bit hungover from Shammie day drinking / wine at dinner / fancy post-dinner cocktail / a general refusal to drink water during all that, and it was in the upper-70s/lower-80s at race time, so I didn’t have high hopes.

I ran with some friends, and we ended up starting a bit higher up in the pack than we intended to (the start wasn’t very well organized), and one friend who usually runs a bit slower than I do took off like a bat out of hell and was cruising along between an 8:45 and 9 pace. I was just trying to keep her in my sights, then somehow ended up passing her when she started to lose a bit of steam. I lost steam as well – no surprise – but made it a strong 2 miles before stopping for water.

After that it was a woozy run-walk to the finish… until the very last bit. For the last half-mile or so, I was randomly on my own without other runners around me. Little did I know a dude was creeping up on me quietly, and when I rounded the final corner he tried to squeak past me on the inside. Nope!

I didn’t think I had anything left in me, but I wasn’t going to let some guy edge past me out of nowhere and beat me. (Who me? Competitive?) I turned the jets on and sprinted to the finish, with a finish time of 30:05… less than 30 seconds off my PR! I was not expecting that, not with the heat and my hangover. (I’d had vague plans of adding some miles onto this race to fit better with my training plan, but said heat and hangover – and how much I pushed myself in the race – made that not seem like a winning idea.)

So, even though I didn’t make it through my training plan for this half, I’m at least going into the race feeling somewhat confident in myself. I made it further in my training plan than I did for either of my other two halves, and I’ve been consistently surprising myself in races this year. I may not be doing as much intentional cross-training as I should, but honestly… I pick the Bairn up multiple times a day and sometimes even do squats (“Mummy pick up my car? No Mummy, keep holding me and pick up car!”) Stroller running’s got to be some kind of cross-training too. So maybe I’m not in as bad shape for this half as I think I am. We shall see in less than a week!

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HMBTS Training, Week 10

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This week got a bit complicated, as it saw the first of some scheduled 5k races lurk its way into my training plan without any thought for mileage or sticking with plans or my sanity or anything. So, yeah this week was a mess. Let’s take a look, shall we?

Monday

Rest | Rest

Monday was Labor Day, and we celebrated by having my folks over for a wee cookout.

Tuesday

5 mile run | Rest

A friend invited the Bairn and I out for a play date at a farm, which honestly sounded way more fun than running 5 miles with the stroller. I also knew I had Wednesday morning off, so I mentally switched days and figured chasing toddlers around a farm would count as cross-training (weak, I know).

Adorable.

Wednesday

Cross-training | 4.65 mile run

When I was first awake and getting the Bairn ready for school, I checked my weather app and I swear it said 81% humidity. So I was kind of dreading this run.

It might not have been quite 81% at run time, but I distinctly remember thinking “Huh, I feel like I’m running through soup.” It wasn’t entirely pleasant. However, the first 3 miles were surprisingly good, considering. I managed to run 3 without having to stop, my body felt okay, and I returned to my cocky “eh, it’s just 5 miles, easy peasy” mindset from last week.

Though I was able to make it through those 3 miles, by roughly 2.5 I was wishing I had chosen a route with access to water. True to form, I had not hydrated before the run and I was parched. Luckily I remembered I was relatively close to a playground I’ve brought the Bairn to before, and I vaguely remembered a bubbler there, so I changed course to find it.

The playground did have a bubbler – huzzah! – but the water was nastily warm and not refreshing at all. I had a bunch anyway, but the stop killed my momentum. The remaining 1.65 miles were rough, and I couldn’t bring myself to push for an even 5. I waved the white flag and stumbled inside to chug some Gatorade before getting ready for work.

Thursday

Rest | Rest

Typical rest day; nothing to report.

Friday

5 mile run | Rest

Here’s where the week began to get complicated. I was supposed to run 5, do some cross-training Saturday, and then run 9 on Sunday. I even had a route planned out that I was moderately excited about. Then I remembered I had a 5k Saturday. “Eh, not a problem,” I thought. “It’s a trail run, so I’ll take it super easy, maybe even walk it, count it as cross-training, then still run 9 on Sunday.” It seemed like a brilliant plan, so I turned Friday into a rest day…..

Saturday

60 mins cross-training | PBR 5K

… then the race actually happened. The Prospect Bandit Run (PBR 5k) is a race up Prospect Hill through the woods, and is notorious for being tough. I was wary of doing it two weeks out from my half (and 5 weeks out from one of my bucket list races!) but it’s part of the RAW Series, so I knew I had to complete it whether I walked or ran or whatever. I was planning to do it alone, so I figured I’d walk most of it and maybe run bits and pieces.

Then a coworker signed up to run with me, and she roped a third to join us. We all said we’d take it easy, as none of us were in hill- or trail-running shape, but when the race started we were off running.

Well… “running” is a relative term. The race started uphill, on a paved access road. A steep access road. Like, straight up. We were running, but my Garmin clocked us as going at a 17:00 pace. My quads gave up the ghost after about a minute, and I don’t remember much about that hill other than just being in pain and wanting to lay down to whimper. But my friends were still trying to run, so I pushed on.

Then we ran through the woods for a while:

And it wasn’t too bad. Then we started climbing again and it just kept going up. We stopped running and just tried to climb. There were some lovely observation points with a gorgeous view of Boston, but I just wanted the climb to be over so I barely even looked (though I wish I had!). I didn’t stop until we reached the tower at the very top:

And then we ran back down the woods, down some crazy stone steps much like ones we had traveled up:

It’s hard to tell in the picture how much of a slope there is, but it was pretty steep

We then ran back down the super steep paved access road to the finish line. I knew it was going to be a hard race, but it was hard. I kept saying “yep, that was a one-and-done for sure!” and I still feel that way two days later as my ankles are still screaming at me for making them roll all over roots and rocks and acorns. Definitely not the smartest race to do before a half, even if it was slightly fun to do with friends.

Sunday

9 mile run | Rest

At some point during the PBR, I told one of my coworkers – one who happens to be running the HMBTS with me – that I still planned on doing 6-9 miles Sunday, depending on how my legs felt. She laughed at me. Even Drew, who has hiked Prospect Hill in the past, said something after the race along the lines of “Yeah, you won’t be running tomorrow after running up Prospect Hill today.”

They were right. My legs were in agony on Sunday. They hadn’t so much as peeked at a technical trail in a few years, let alone try to run one, and those stabilizing muscles are pissed at me. Plus, holy hill Batman. I’ve been actively avoiding hills, or walking up them, because they aggravate my dodgy hip/IT band and I haven’t wanted to anger them too much before the half.

Whose idea was the PBR anyway? Dang RAW series.

Instead of running, I went to the zoo with Drew, my dad, and the Bairn:

Now I’m trying to figure out how the rest of my training will look. I’m supposed to run 10 this Sunday, but have a 5k that day. I figured I’d run that and then do 7 later, but my HMBTS-running colleague said something about tapering this weekend and now I’m totally second-guessing my training plan. Did I pick a plan with no taper week, or did I miscalculate?? Do I run long this weekend, my last weekend before the half, or do I taper, even though I didn’t run long this past weekend? Do I try to run long during the week somehow?

Help!

HMBTS Training, Week 8

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The weeks keep ticking by, and my training plan is finally starting to gently careen off the rails. If I look on the bright side, this is the best I’ve done/longest I’ve gone in terms of trying to stick to a training plan. It’s not great, but it’s better. So that’s something? Let’s see how the week went.

Monday

Rest | Rest

As they tend to be, this was a welcome rest day. My right leg had killed me all day Sunday after my 7-miler, AND I went and gave myself a huge bruise on the top of my left foot when I accidentally knocked the Bairn’s milk cup out of the fridge. So now both my feet are wonky. Huzzah!

Tuesday

4.5 mile run | 4.5 mile stroller run

On the bright side, we had a successful stroller run! If you follow my Instagram, you might have seen that I got ahold of some bug netting for the jogging stroller, after our last attempted Bikeway run was thwarted by nasty fly swarms. Best $4.50 I might have ever spent on amazon!

With the Bairn happily not getting attacked by bugs, I was able to run all the way to the bridge over the “fast highway,” where the Bairn loved seeing all the cars and trucks.

I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why the run back from the bridge was SO much harder than the way out. I mean, it’s the Bikeway, it’s pretty flat. But running to the bridge felt surprisingly easy, and it was disheartening that I was trying so much harder and going so much slower on the way back. It wasn’t until I got home and checked Garmin Connect that I figured out why:

Yep. There was a hill. Barely perceptible while on it, but clearly there! Seeing that felt pretty validating.

Wednesday

Cross-training | Rest

I don’t know why, but my motivation to continue my PT exercise/stretching routine is totally gone. I just don’t feel like it. To be honest, I’m surprised I kept doing it for as long as I did. I seriously need to get better about cross-training.

Thursday

Rest | Arm workout

This wasn’t planned, but I ended up lifting a bunch of heavy things at work on Thursday, and holding some of them for quite a while, to the point of my arms shaking a bit. So I’m totally counting this as an arm day.

Friday

4.5 mile run | Rest

I got a haircut, so didn’t have time to sneak in a run between daycare drop-off and work. And then it was a long, crazy day at work and I just didn’t feel like running afterward. So I talked myself into resting my janky leg and toes.

Saturday

50 minute cross-training | Rest/work

I worked a full day Saturday, which felt like a workout. It wasn’t really, but could kind of be considered cross-training if you squint and tilt your head a bit.

Sunday

8 mile run | 8 mile run

Aha! One of two successful and on-purpose workouts this week. I tried out my shiny new hydration pack (a Nathan VaporAiress) even though the temps were cooler this week. Eventually I’ll write a review once I test it out a bit more, but I like it so far. It was nice to have water right there without having to hold it in my hands, the pack was comfortable and didn’t bounce at all, and it held some fuel and my phone. The mouthpiece was a bit awkward, and the sloshing noise made me feel like I had to pee for the first few miles. It also made my back so sweaty that I thought the pack had leaked. But tbh, I was less sweaty than I was on the really hot long run days when I didn’t have a pack, so I didn’t really care.

Okay, the run itself. I set out too late to run with the Shammies – so I thought. I ran by HQ just in case anyone was still hanging out after, and everyone was there chatting. Huzzah! Shammie P was looking to add 3 more miles on to what he had already run, so I changed my intended route to run with him. He took me down some new-to-me trails in the lagoon, and it was nice to run with someone! Apart from the Bairn, I’ve been running solo a lot this training plan, and it was nice to chat and have someone to distract me from my usual internal whinging.

After going about 5k with him, I waved the white flag and set off on my own. We were going about 10:30 without stopping, which is faster than I usually go for long runs, and I didn’t want to overdo it.

I definitely stop more when I’m alone, to walk up hills (hills bother my leg quite a bit right now) and/or stop for fuel and water. Today I tried out a Gu gel to see how that went. I’ve run with gel once, during my last half, and it was a huge jolt of energy. I wanted to see if I could get more out of having gel once or twice than out of stopping for chews every few miles. The energy definitely seemed to last longer. I may switch my fuel to gels… they’re easier too.

One thing I noticed with the hydration pack is that I seem to pay more attention to my posture and cadence. I felt like I was running “right” today, like the way my Gait Retraining Guru of Yore was trying to get me to run. You can even see from my Garmin stats… my cadence was in the green way more this run than in past long runs:

I was pretty pleased with my pace today too. Starting fast with P definitely helped my overall time, and I think the Gu gave me better energy to run more without stopping (or maybe I just had to stop less to consume gel than I would to eat a few chews?). My time wasn’t much off from last week, and it was 1 mile longer. I’ll take that as a win.

Next week’s plan calls for a 10k race, but I might do what I did last time it called for a race and just run long again. I have a few 5ks coming up that are going to make my long runs interesting, so I’d like to get one more “real” long run in before race day, which is coming up quickly!

Fort Hill Brewery Half… or Not

Way back in November, I had a goal. I heard about an April half marathon in western Mass, a place Drew and I had been talking about going for ages. April seemed like a decent time for a half – not too hot yet, but (hopefully) not too cold. And a half seemed doable, especially that far out with lots of time to train. And having this goal race would give me motivation to get out there and train… right?


Oh, reader. Alas. For the millionth time: if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you’d know that reacting to any kind of motivation is not my strong suit. Especially in these post-Bairn days when all roads to anywhere are paved with the best intentions, and yet….

So. What happened this time? I believe I last left you with the vague “my half marathon training is all over the place,” which it was with illnesses, ghost injuries, and suboptimal weather and running conditions. All in all, I only ever got up to 5 miles at any one time during said training. 

If I had an ironclad will I probably could have done it. I have runner friends who run while sick, while injured, and during blizzards. When the sidewalks aren’t clear they run in the road, or chug out the miles on a treadmill. And that’s great! But I think I’ve learned that that’s not me, especially lately. I love coziness, and safety, and lack of injury. 

Running these days is what keeps me sane as the Bairn embraces the madness of toddlerhood, and my sanity can’t afford injury! So when the top of my foot started giving me grief, and when my right hip started protesting, I reeled it in. I iced, I rested. I avoided slippery slush as well as the treadmill that makes my knees unhappy. 

Through it all there was a little voice in the back of my head that said “you ran the Worcester Half, with its hills and heat, while pregnant, having only ran 5ish miles in training. You can do this!” But there was also a louder voice that said “Sure, but had you injured yourself then you would have had months to recover anyway. You need running now. Plus… do you really want to slog through a half if you’re not feeling it?”

I listened to the louder voice. I emailed the race director and asked if I could drop down to the 5k distance. I figured we could still have our Western Mass vacation, and I could still run, but the shorter distance would make for a happier time for all involved… especially when I saw the forecast of upper-20s and freezing rain for race day!


It ended up being the right decision. I ran a faster 5k than I expected, I felt strong, I didn’t get injured, and Drew and the Bairn didn’t need to kill time for 2.5+ hours in gross weather. And we still had a fun weekend!

Race recap and weekend fun post coming soon…

Worcester Running Festival Half Marathon, 19 June 2016

What: Half marathon

Where: Worcester, Massachusetts

Course Map:

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Who: Just me, with moral support from Drew

Time: 02:42:50

Splits: (according to Simon)
Mile 1: 11:21
Mile 2: 12:33
Mile 3: 13:25
Mile 4: 11:57
Mile 5: 12:12
Mile 6: 12:22
Mile 7: 12:42
Mile 8: 12:45
Mile 9: 13:16
Mile 10: 13:14
Mile 11: 12:39
Mile 12: 11:25
Mile 13: 11:18
Mile 13.1: 1:59

To read a nitty-gritty race-specific recap, check out my review on BibRave!

To read about my pre-race (mis)adventures and neuroses, check out my last post.

Quick background: This was my second half marathon, and I didn’t train properly at all. My longest training run for it was a mere 5 miles, and the farthest I’d run in 2016 was a 10K. So it’s fair to say I was a little nervous going into this race!

I was grateful that I had splurged on a hotel room close to the start, because not only did it mean extra sleep before the 7am start, but it also meant I didn’t have to suffer the porta-potty SNAFU that happened before the race. Rumor had it the porta-potty delivery man got lost on the way to the race, and there were no porta-potties on-site until right before the race started. Oops! They opened up City Hall so the runners could use the bathrooms in there, but I heard there weren’t many stalls, so the line was ridiculous. It ended up delaying the race start by 10 minutes, as the race director wanted everyone to have a chance to use the loo if they needed.

At last everyone was gathered at the start, and after Beyonce sang the national anthem (recorded, unfortunately… would have been ridiculously awesome if she had been there!) we were under way.

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Eventual winner leading the pack on the left.

It was forecast to be about 87* F (30.5 C) by 11am, so I was also grateful for the early start! It was in the low 60s at start time, and I was almost a little chilly in my minimalist kit. I wasn’t complaining!

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As usual, being goofy after crossing the start.

In addition to my run club singlet, I was rocking my Under Armour shorts that are so light and cool that they feel like they’re not even there… only without the awkward naked feeling. I love them.

I was also trying out an EnduraCool multi-cool thingie (the wicked bright orange scarf thing around my neck), which one of my Shammie friends had been raving about in recent weeks. Knowing how terrible I am in the heat, I liked the idea of having a cool thing to put against the back of my neck to keep my temp down. It was a little awkward and floppy, and the part against my skin warmed up pretty quickly, but all it took was a quick adjustment and it was cool again. Plus, when kindly locals were handing out ice along the course, it was a perfect place to store it, and kept it from melting for way longer than I expected. That was pretty sweet.

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Is that an excited smile, or a grimace-smile trying to mask my worry?

The first mile was through downtown and had a nice downhill section, and I was feeling pretty good. Mile 2 was also decent, and had some shady bits near Elm Park which were nice.

My plan going in to the race (or, at least the one I sort of came up with as I ran the first mile and realized I should have a plan) was to stop every mile to have a short walk break and a chew, and to take water at every water stop, along with another walk break. Also, I told myself it was totally okay to walk anytime I started feeling even a little bit fainty… having not trained, and knowing how hot and hilly this race would be, I knew I wouldn’t be gunning for a PR. My only goals were a) to finish, however long it took, and b) to stay conscious, even if it meant walking slowly for most of the race.

There were a good number of runners near me for the first 2.5 miles, and I was leapfrogging with several who were also run-walking. One of my worries going in was that I’d be the only run-walker and that I’d finish last, but that worry was completely unfounded. And anyway, there’s no shame in finishing last… I’ve done it before!

The feel of the race changed a bit between miles 2 and 3, when I hit The Hill. Worcester is known for its hills, and I knew going in that at least one of its famous hills would be part of the course. Thankfully the hill came early in the race… at first I was annoyed that I hit it so early, but then I tried to think about how much worse it would have been if The Hill had happened in Mile 12! Yeesh.

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Google Street View of the start of The Hill. Notice the lovely shade and an example of the giant houses that line the street!

Against my better judgment, I tried to run The Hill. Slowly, but still. Maybe it was all the hills I ended up accidentally scaling during my training runs, but it didn’t feel too bad, at least for a while. I made it maybe halfway or 2/3 of the way up before I needed to walk the rest, and that was enough to put me in front of all the runners I’d been leapfrogging. I ended up being on my own for a few miles starting at this point, which was a weird sensation. Especially when I’d come upon a turn without obvious course markers and had to cross my fingers that I was going the right way.

Luckily The Hill was shady and populated with giant, gorgeous houses that I could look at and distract myself with. And, when I got to the top, there was a small group of people with cowbells cheering me on, offering high-fives, and shouting “You’ve beaten the hill! That’s the worst part of the race!” That was awesome!

The next mile consisted of winding my way downhill through quiet, shaded neighborhoods. I liked the downhills, but it was a bit boring and lonely for that stretch. That is, until I took a walk break and a guy came out of nowhere to pass me, yelling “Pretty far from the pond, eh?” and pointing at my singlet. I was silent with confusion for a second or two, then he yelled “You’ve been pacing me this whole race so far! Keep it up!” and took off. Turns out he was the only other runner from my city in the race, and – as I found out later when I caught up with him – he does most of his running at my favorite pond path. Small world!

The next mile was pretty uneventful, except for the sparkliest water stop I’ve ever seen. There were tables on both sides of the street (this part was out-and-back, so the lead runners were starting to pass me going the other way) that were decorated with shiny streamers, and people were ringing cowbells and cheering. One lady had a giant bucket full of ice, and I took some to tuck into my EnduraCool, where they melted slowly and kept me cool for a few miles. One of the neighbors had his sprinkler going for us, too. I loved these people.

At the end of this street, just before Mile 6, we turned onto Mill Street for my least favorite stretch of the race. We ran right on Mill St. for a while, then turned around and ran the other way for a long time, then turned around and ran back. For nearly four miles we were on an endless, nearly shadeless, stretch of road that had nothing to look at along it. Well, at one point there was a pond with a little beach, but that was it. It was all woods, fields, and abandoned-looking buildings, with a few houses in the middle bit. It was bleak. Some of my slowest miles happened along this stretch, and I walked a lot. It was also open to traffic, and cars were coming awfully close to our narrow little coned-off running section. I didn’t love it.

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A particularly bleak stretch of Mill St., courtesy of Google Street View.

The only bright spots along this stretch were 1) the aid station that had Honey Stinger gels, and 2) my pond-runner buddy. I caught up to him early on during this stretch, when he was walking. He grinned and said “welcome back!” and we chatted for a bit as I took a welcome walk break with him. Turns out we had both missed the race last year and had taken the deferment, but then neither of us had trained beforehand, him due to injury and me due to, well, me being me. We ended up leapfrogging each other a few more times, each time shouting encouragement to each other. That definitely helped me get through the Mill St. stretch!

My chews ran out at Mile 9, and I stopped at Mile 10 to take the gel I picked up at the aid station. I’d never had a gel before – chews have always been my fuel of choice – and wow. (I know, I know… never do anything new on race day.) I should have taken it near a water stop because I almost choked on its sweetness and it made my mouth so sticky. But, it also gave me a serious kick start; once I started running again after taking it, my legs didn’t feel as tired and my energy levels definitely went up. It was like a miracle gel. Cheers, Honey Stinger!

The rest of the race from there was a repeat of earlier bits of the race, so I had an idea of the terrain and knew how many more water stops there’d be. Other than those water stops, I ran (and somehow negative-split) the last 5K. I think I just really wanted to be done running at that point!

As I got to the last .1, I kicked it as hard as I could without wanting to faint. I turned the last corner and spotted Drew, making sure to make another goofy face at him:

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Plenty of porta-potties by this point!

I have a memory of smiling big at the photographer at the finish line, but my picture says otherwise:

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Sigh. I made this pic small because it’s much too terrible to look at larger.

I was handed a bottle of water and a medal immediately after crossing the finish (yessss!), wandered off to some shade, and tried to stretch. My legs were so wobbly. Drew found me, and together we waited for my race buddy to cross the finish so we could cheer for him. Then I wobbled off to find a snack – there was plenty of pizza (at 10am, ugh) and a handful of bananas left, so I grabbed a banana before attempting stretching again. I also posed for a hometown pride photo:

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Wormtown represent!

…then wobbled off back to the hotel for ice cold water, a protein shake, and a much-needed shower. I had finished! And, somehow, despite the heat, the hills, and the lack of training, my finishing time was only 5 minutes slower than my other half, which was run on a cool day in October on a flat course. Not too shabby!! However, despite pulling off a surprisingly decent race, I think next time I’ll make sure I train. And… maybe no more summer halfs. I think one was good enough.

Half Marathon #2: The Build-Up

Hi there! Remember me? Apologies yet again for abandoning the blog for a bit… I know I’m overdue for a recap of the Worcester Running Festival Half (spoiler alert: I finished!!), and I have a large handful of other posts I’ve been meaning to write. It’s my same old excuse, but life and work have been crazy, leaving me not much time or mental energy to write. But a long weekend is upon us and hopefully I can get back in the swing of things!

I started drafting a race recap for the half, but found that I was rambling on a LOT about the build up and pre-race stuff. So instead of deleting it (my first instinct) or posting one honkin’ long race recap, I decided to break it in two. And so… let’s get on with the rambling, shall we?

logo_worcOnce upon a time I signed up for the Worcester Running Festival half marathon, both as a fit of hometown pride and as a goal to work toward. Then I injured my knee and grudgingly dropped to the 5k option, and then the race was postponed due to lightening. Since I was going to be out of town on the make-up day, I took the waiver they offered to run it the following year, and bumped back up to the half in expectation that I could be properly trained by then. Again, it would be a great goal to work toward.

Well, that year has come and gone, and this is my story.

As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my blog or following me on Instagram these past few weeks, I was freaking out a bit before this race because, well, I hadn’t trained properly [sad trombone]. I had only got up to 5 miles in my training runs, and the farthest I had run all year was a 10k. I was vastly unprepared.

Add to that anxiety about being under-trained the fact that the forecast for race day was upper 80s and sunny, and I was dreading things. My first and only half marathon was run in October when it was a crisp 50s with cloud cover (perfect running weather!) and I’ve run no more than 5k or so when it’s been wicked hot, so I was nervous. I don’t usually do well in the heat!

Appealing to the camerawoman for help during one of my hottest races to date

Appealing to the camerawoman for help during one of my hottest races to date

Maybe the smart thing would have been to drop to the 5k once again, or just not do it at all, but I was already registered, darn it, and I couldn’t bring myself to have yet another DNS on record, so in spite of my anxiety I was determined.

The Day Before

The race started bright and early at 7am, so I splurged and booked us a room in a hotel that’s a 5-minute walk from the starting line. I spent the first part of the day before packing and trying to make sure I remembered everything, then I accompanied Drew on a work errand before making a quick stop at my work to pick up the earbuds I had forgotten. (I’ve never listened to music during a race, but I knew I’d need all the help I could get at this race!)

Earbuds in hand, we set off westward for Worcester… only to get a good ways down the Pike before I remembered that I had forgotten – of all things – my running shoes. Seriously, how did I forget those??

I'm not cut out for this. I need my kicks! (source)

I’m not cut out for this. I need my kicks! (source)

Another detour home to grab the shoes and we were once again on our way. We managed to just get to Sneakerama in time for me to pick up my bib (anything to buy me 5 extra minutes of sleep the next morning!). I was the only one there, and got my bib, shirt, and a few coupons within a minute. I even got a friendly reminder from the race director to set an alarm for the next day.

We checked in to the hotel, and I realized that I hadn’t grabbed any breakfast for pre-race… just a Honey Stinger waffle. I felt like I could use something more substantial for a half, so we went across the street to the convenient store to pick up Honey Nut Cheerios, a protein bar, a giant bottle of water… and a pack of mini-donuts and a protein shake for post-race recovery. And Polar orange dry, because we were in Worcester and you kind of have to rock the Polar when you’re there (and anyway, orange dry is my love!)

Pre-race dinner

Pre-race dinner

We picked up some takeout pasta from a local Italian place – fettuccine primavera for me, so good! – and I spent the rest of the evening watching tv with my legs up. And hydrating. And still freaking out a little. And regretting not dropping to the 5k. And worrying that I wouldn’t sleep well (we stayed at the same hotel last year and it’s literally right across the street from a railroad crossing where trains lay on their horns all night. It’s a good time. And plus there was a wedding reception and all the rowdy guests seemed to be on our floor).

I eventually managed to fall asleep (and only got woken up once by a train, miraculously), and after a night of stress dreams about the race, was up at the crack of dawn and donning my kit and fighting back crazy pre-race nerves.

Would I make it? Would I faint on the course? Would I have to DNF? Stay tuned for part 2 to find out the answers to these and more! (Except I already told you I made it, oops!) 😉

Do you have any rituals for the night before a big race? Certain foods you eat?

Anyone else experience race-related stress dreams?

Friday Randoms A-Go-Go

Happy Friday! I know I am looking very forward to the weekend being here, and in my excitement my brain is a bit all over the place, so today I’m going with a brain-leak-type post. With no further ado:

I ran 20.55 miles in May

monthlymileage

I know that’s not a lot, especially compared with people who’ve been training for marathons, but it was my highest mileage month so far this year, so that’s pretty cool. What’s not as cool? The random .55 miles. Why can’t I ever have nice, even numbers??

(Also, you can see how I started the year with grand ambitions of wearing Simon every day to track my steps, and then fell off the wagon pretty hard. Meh.)

Today is the start of the Euros!

euro

I love me a soccer/football tournament. I will be throwing my support behind England once again, even though I know they will break my heart again. #believe

bingo

The Worcester Firefighters race is Sunday

I love this race. I ran it the past two years, and hope to run it for as long as it exists! It’s in my home city, it’s in memory of the Worcester 6, and it’s a fun community event that I look forward to every year, now that I know it exists!

I’ve been stalking the weather for Sunday (a silly and usually pointless thing to do in New England) and have been increasingly dismayed as I’ve watched the forecast go from low 60s and rainy to high 70s and windy. The race was a scorcher the past 2 years – last year I think was in the low 90s – and the midday start is a bit of a drag. Ah well, what do they say? Nothing is certain except death, taxes, and a hot WFD6K.

2014 recap
2015 recap
2015 BibRave review

…and my upcoming half marathon is only one week after the WFD6K

Let’s not think about this right now, okay? I’m too busy blocking it out and trying not to panic.

What does your weekend look like? Anyone else racing?

Will anyone else be following the Euros?