Monday, May 29, 2017

Race Report: 2017 Georgia Peach Jam Half Marathon

When I registered for the 2018 Dopey Challenge a few months ago, I realized that my POT (Proof of Time in runDisney speak) was outside of the allowable dates. I needed a race from 2016, and while I ran a couple of races that year, I didn't 'race' them. Big difference! So I put in the faster of my two half marathons from that year and set out to find a half marathon to race before the beginning of October (when the POT is due).

And that's when I found the Peach Jam Half Marathon. This race is put on by the local train running group, but it's run on a greenway that is concrete and boardwalk. And the price for early registration was only $55! Since my ankle was still bothering me, I decided to just wait it out, see how my ankle felt, and wait on the May work schedule to come out to make sure I had the day off! As it so happened, all of those factors came together in my favor and I registered right before the first price increase!

I don't usually set time goals for races, but since that was the whole point of running this race, I decided upon a finish time of 2:15. This is about 5 minutes slower than my PR, but 12 minutes faster than the POT I had already input. That should be enough to get me a better corral placement, I think.

Training from mid April when my ankle felt better up through today's race went about as well as I could expect. I increased my intervals from 2/1 to 3/1 and added a speed workout once a week. The weather has been quite warm all year, but the mornings are usually cooler than they were today, but nothing I can do to control that!

I woke at 4:30 this morning, fed the kitties, rolled, and drank my Generation UCAN drink. I left at 5:30 so I could arrive with plenty of time to pee the hundred times I have to do when I drink UCAN! The traffic was minimal and I made great time and got an excellent parking spot. I hit the potties (real ones at the park! WOOHOO!) and then did a 1 mile warm up, testing out 4/1 intervals. My reasoning for the increase in interval is that The Penguin has you doing a longer interval than training, so if it's good enough for The Penguin (John Bingham) then it should be good enough for me, right? And my reasoning for the mile warm up is because the first mile of any workout/race for me is terribly slow. With a time goal, I didn't have any room to spare.

I did my warm up, and then hit the potty one last time before heading to the start line. I am very impressed with Dirty Spokes Productions - packet pick up was easy and organized and there were announcements every few minutes that there would be a pre-race meeting 10 minutes before the start. And I could actually hear the announcements! They must have a great PA system!

Waiting at the start line, I was getting pretty nervous. Time goals are scary for me especially with such little real training. As I was looking around, I saw my friend Patrick and that helped to distract me until the start of the race! This was a gun start for timing so when they said, "Go!" I hit my watch and made my way forward. The half was capped at 500 so it didn't take too long to get across the start line, but it was quite crowded going down to the greenway. I skipped my first run interval for safety's sake, and after that, I made sure to throw up my arm to announce my walk for at least the first 5 miles. Everything thinned out within a few miles and only really got congested again when I neared the out and backs around miles 4 and 10.

With my new watch, I can set intervals but still have a screen to show me my overall pace. My goal was 10:30 for the first 5 miles and then 10:20 for the next 5, and then maintain at least 10:20 through the finish - that should give me a 2;15 finish. At mile 5, though, I was averaging 10:20! Not too bad. I picked up the pace, despite the fact that it was quickly getting hot and humid (70 degrees at the start @@), and was averaging 10:10 by mile 10.

And that's pretty much where it started to fall apart.

I started to hurt in many places. First my ankle, then it traveled up to my IT Band on the left side. I knew it was just muscle tightness, but it hurt, darn it! LOL And then I started to feel a bit dizzy and had that tell-tale tingling on the top of my head. I had NOT been paying attention to my hydration. And it dawned on me after the race that I had not brought any Nuun or ANY electrolytes with me, and on such a hot day where I was sweating so terribly - that was NOT smart. They had one station with Gatorade around the halfway point, but I skipped it in favor of water thinking that my UCAN had me covered. Well, maybe for nutrition but not electrolytes. Oops!

I started to struggle and my pace took a dive. Looking at the mile splits, I went from sub 10s to 10:30s. Still not bad, but I had my goal in mind. I knew that it hurt and felt awful, but I also knew that meeting my goal would take all that pain away! ;) So I decided to skip the last several walk intervals and just push forward, since I couldn't muster any additional speed.

And it worked! Just as I was coming around to make a final push to the finish, I heard my friend Patrick give me a shout out and that gave me a little extra umph... but looking at my finish line photo you can tell that I am wiped out!

But I did it! Official time is 2:12:50! My 2nd best half marathon EVER!! I am SORE and I actually took a nap this afternoon! But I really did enjoy pushing and I'm looking forward to pushing again on another race when I'm actually fully trained!

And now I'm one step closer to Dopey! I updated my POT this afternoon as soon as the results were posted! Woohoo! Now to recover this week and then get ready for the Peachtree Road Race on the 4th of July and possibly a Sprint or Oly tri in 4 weeks!