Long Beach Half Marathon Race Recap

13.1 Miles 
1:49:42
Stellar Strides

Before I get down to business with the Long Beach Half Marathon recap, let me do some housekeeping and announce the winner of the ProCompression Giveaway

Screen Shot 2013-10-12 at 12.57.46 PM.png

Taylor Woods – you didn’t leave your email address so be sure to email me in the next few days so I can get you hooked up with your ProCompression socks!

IMG_4937

The pre-race sunrises at Long Beach are always the best….

As I mentioned, this weekend’s race goal was to change the pace:  as in pace my neighbor Angel and her friend Margot to their goal for their first half marathon.

In the first race excitement, Angel was promptly at my door at 4:55, while I had been out of bed for all of 5 minutes and was trying to quietly change in the hallway and brew my coffee without waking up the rest of the fam.  After a pleasantly uneventful ride and parking, we did the tour de port-a-potties and got ourselves into the corral with a “comfortable for the first time” amount of time before the race started.

As usual the race was pretty seamless (that said, the full marathon got started 30 minutes late):  smooth start, well-stocked and placed stations and lots of signage letting you know where to go.  I was sure to sport my kid-proclaimed and selected “laser lemon” ProCompressions and a pair of matching aviators….

IMG_4939

The ladies wanted to run a 1:50 and I made a solemn promise to get them there, no matter what it took.  While I love a good race day, I think enough years have made me jaded…a little crabby and annoyed.   Watching the first-time jitters, excitement and thrill was so. much. fun.

I knew the ladies wanted to wear their headphones and music and I had my headphones in, but left them off so I could listen for heavy breathing, dragging footsteps and could just watch how they were feeling to make sure we were sipping water bottles and walking in the finisher’s corral 1 hour and 51 minutes after the race started.

The first 5 miles of the Long Beach half course FLY…then 6-9.5 miles get a little tough on a straight shot on a beach bike path.  Until mile 7, Margot and Angel were killing it: they looked great, sounded great and seemed to be feeling good.  Around mile 7, it got a little tough for one of them.  And then they switched it up (the other struggling a bit more) and I had to get pretty annoying repeatedly saying things like:

“Dig deep.”
“You didn’t run 10 miles fast to quit now.”
“Just move your hands and your legs will follow.”
“Think about whatever it takes to make it through the last 5k, posting 1:4-something, something on Facebook or think about red wine…whatever it takes.”
“Stop looking at your watch, let me get you there and you just worry about running.”

What did I know:  That I was annoying them and they kinda wanted to kill me.

What else did I know:  If I wasn’t annoying them I wasn’t doing my job.

A good pacer will take you to your wall and then push you right through it….and any insecurities I had about being obnoxious had to go out the window to do that, which wasn’t easy for me.

The following conversation may or may not have taken place around mile 11:
I’m running in front of you for a bit, you just need to stay with me….[about 90 seconds pass and I turn around and look at them] Does it help you at all to know I’m peeing in my pants right now?

So that happened – It’s been a while since I’ve flat out peed myself during a race in a few years, but apparently my post-first born bladder issues came back….super fun.

Blurry phone pic?  Blame my sweat....Myself (and the blanket to cover my pee shorts), Angel and her friend (not Margot, she was recovering with her hubs elsewhere)

Blurry phone pic? Blame my sweat….Myself (and the blanket to cover my pee shorts), Angel and her friend (not Margot, she was recovering with her hubs elsewhere)

The last half mile was balls to the wall pushing it and a literal sprint to the finish.  I wasn’t tracking our splits very well (just watching my pace bracelet to ensure we were on track), but the last 2 miles were FAST.  These fabulous ladies definitely negative split the race and I was so impressed by their effort and results.

At mile 3, I knew they were going to nail this goal based on how strong they looked, and when we passed through the finisher’s chute at the 1:49 mark, I turned to see two of the biggest smiles (then panic and exhaustion) and that outweighed any PR I’ve had.

While I spent most of the race trying to in tune with their needs, I had a few concerns of my own going into the race:

  • My Knee.  I went out of the gate a little tight (not painful, just tight), but by mile 1.5 it had loosened up and felt great.  Around mile 9, when the wheels were coming off for everyone on course, my knee got a little painful (beyond tight) and as I was thinking about how to manage it, if I would be able to finish, etc, and just as quickly as it started, the pain disappeared with a slightly lengthened stride.
  • My Endurance.  Uhhh…..Errr…I haven’t run more than 13 miles since APRIL, and hadn’t run more than 10 miles since 4 weeks ago, so I wasn’t exactly confident in my fitness level.  I might have a little soreness the next few days, but my family said they’ve never seen me that relaxed and refreshed looking at the end of a race.  I never felt fatigued or tired the entire race….just a little sore at points.

A huge thanks to ProCompression for giving me the opportunity to change my pace a bit and run the Long Beach Half Marathon – it was an amazing race and still ranks up there as one of my faves.

Did you race this weekend?  How did it go?

Have you ever paced someone before?  What was your experience like?

Change of Pace: A PRO Compression Giveaway

5 Miles
Shrewd Strides

This little chunk of medal made me wake up way too early.

This little chunk of medal made me wake up way too early.

I usually hit the roads/trails early in the morning when to squeeze in mileage.  This means I often find people just like me out there:   Garmin glancing, head to toe spandex donning, caffeine imbibing, crazy Weekend Warriors.  We’ll never win a gold medal or compete in the Olympics, but we’re crazy enough to get up at 5am and try like we’re almost sorta, kinda not really going to ever but denial is more than a river, going to.

While I love my fellow Weekend Warriors, I took a change of pace and runched the other day only to find a whole different world:  opera singers practicing in the acoustically perfect road underpasses, tantruming toddlers, exhausted moms moseying around the park, incoming inspiration for the work project I had been stuck on for 30 minutes, mid-day dog walkers, and the pace was so nice and slow in the best kind of way possible.

Thanks to PRO Compression, I have the opportunity to run the Long Beach Half Marathon this weekend, and due to my janky leg, I’m planning on taking it nice and slow.  I’m going to do some pacing, watch people finish their first half marathon and just celebrate being a runner instead of pushing for a PR or focusing on speed.

I’ve written about my love for PRO Compression before (for no other reason than my love for them), but today I’ll tell you the other ways change the pace when I use these squeeze-tastic socks.

-They are my lucky Chicago Bears socks for post-long run recovery during NFL season.

Bear Down Chicago Bears!

Bear Down Chicago Bears!

-Even on shorter runs early in the AM or on a foggy day I wear my neon green pair(s…yes, I have multiple of this color) to help keep distracted drivers from, you know, crushing me with their cars.

Can you find the runner?  You betcha!  Please don't hit me!!

Can you find the runner? You betcha! Please don’t hit me!!

-The boys are known to bust a pair out for a gnarly pair of thigh highs long bike rides.

IMG_4442

The exciting part of this all is PRO Compression has given me a pair of socks to raffle off to one lucky reader.  (On a side note I”m having technical difficulties with Rafflecopter, so we’re going old school on this one).  To enter you can receive an entry for doing each of the following.  Be sure to post a comment for each item you do:

  • Visit the PRO Compression website and leave a comment telling me which pair of socks you would get if you won.
  • Follow PRO Compression on Twitter
  • Tweet about the contest
  • Follow PRO Compression on Facebook

I will do close the drawing at noon PST on Saturday, October 12.

If you’re as unlucky as I am and don’t find yourself the winner of the socks, be sure to use the code BLG13 for 40% off + FREE SHIPPING.  #score

ready…SET…go?

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 7.31.58 AM.pngSet….set….set.  There’s a lot of setting going on in this neck of the woods.

Set Back.  Yes I ran a whopping 9 miles last week.  Which is approximately 9 more than the week before.  Not exactly the kind of mileage you want leading up to one of my favorite races (ahem Long Beach, yes I’m talking about you).

Set the Back.  Working to get the SI joint back to where it’s supposed to be – like as in straight.  How have I been doing this?   Lots of hip strengthening exercises (pelvic lifts, side planks, etc.), foam rolling every part of my lower extremities, and laying on a Little Tykes ball.  Yes, you read that right.

Say hello to my best friends....

Say hello to my best friends….

Taking that little 6 inch, semi-firm ball and placing it right on my sacrum and laying on it for about 3 minute intervals a few times a day has been working wonders to straighten things out.

Set the Pace.  Long Beach has been a race that’s always been kind to me.  Two years ago I shaved 5 minutes off my PR there, and last year nearly PR’ed despite not really less than ideal circumstances.  Something about Long Beach makes me float over the flat street and beach paths to a quick race pace.  But this year I can’t afford to do this without ruining all that I’ve put into my injury recovery. In order to keep things from getting to quick, I talked to my neighbor who is running her first half marathon and I am going to run/pace her and a friend through their first race.

Set the Table.  We really try to make an effort for family dinners during the week- catching up with one another, recapping our days, connecting.  Despite these best efforts, weekdays can be brutal and dinner can sometimes not be as fulfilling and connecting as this mama would like,  so I love using the weekend to set the proverbial family table and connect, have fun and relax a bit.  With school back in session, we need this more than ever.

2013-10-05What sets do you have going on right now?

Monday Musings

I don’t know how your weekend was, but here we finally saw 60 degrees.  It was amazing.

Running in sub-85 degree temps has been astounding and watching the kids play soccer in sub-90 degree temps makes me sleep better at night (there’s not enough Nuun in the world to keep me sleeping soundly at night worrying about the kids playing sports in super hot weather).

Speaking of trends….training, running, etc.  How’s it going?  How do I feel about it?

IMG_2830Actually that’s a picture of me getting my nails done (not kidding), but I have the same feeling about my running lately.  If I go fast, I seem to get hurt so I’m just hanging out in the “slower for me” speeds and it’s frustrating.  If my mileage hits above 25 miles a week I feel like I’m flirting with an injury, so I’m sticking to that base mileage.

On Saturday morning I went out for a 10-miler and was supposed to finish at the boys’ soccer game, turns out I only had time for 7 and the route to the game was mostly uphill.  I was running “naked” as in no watch and nothing barking splits at me. In fact, a few of the bigger hills (that lasted over half a mile) left me feeling like I was going to dry heave so I was a little concerned.

I was quietly recording it on my iPhone so when I finished I was surprised to find that I had run that fast on a hilly course (7:49 overall splits).  The difficulty was probably because I’ve been doing a lot of this:

Sneaky, sneaky....

Sneaky, sneaky….

No I haven’t been hitting the Skittles, but I have been hitting the pizza, ice cream, and just snacking all day long (not always healthy ones) instead of really thinking about meals, healthy, balanced snacks, etc.  Not too mention I haven’t been doing near enough of this….

Yes that's me fake sleeping in my wedding dress and Converse sneakers

Yes that’s me fake sleeping in my wedding dress and Converse sneakers

I am trying to remember the ol’ GIGO:  Garbage In, Garbage Out.  You can only get out of performance what you put in.

What’s up next?  Long Beach Half Marathon in 3 weeks.  I’m using this as a litmus test to see how things are going, see where my running fitness really is at the moment.  Truth be told I haven’t run anything longer than 12 miles since…errr…uh…Boston in April.  So there’s that.

That followed by a few months of mid-length fast runs, followed by slower, lesser miles because I was starting to feel an injury coming on, followed by moderate paced, moderate length runs.  What’s going to happen?  I have no idea.

From there, I’ll make some decisions on what things are going to look like moving forward.

What’s your biggest challenge about “input” on your training?
 Sleep, food, miles, speed work?