Thursday, November 24, 2011

Rock N Roll San Antonio

Since the girls and I had so much fun in San Francisco last year at the Nike Women's race, we decided to do another out of town race this year. Our schedules got really busy, so we decided on a race close to home, but that would still be a nice weekend away: RnR San Antonio.

We left Houston early Saturday morning in time to arrive in SA for lunch and the Expo. Traffic was horrendous in the downtown area with all of the race people arriving and the Veteran's day parade (that was not on Veteran's Day, btw). There were roads closed everywhere and no signs for detours. We stopped to ask two cops how we could get to our hotel with no luck. We ended up on the west side of downtown at a horrible Tex-Mex restaurant, but we really were just glad to be out of the car. After lunch, we forged our way back across downtown (at least the parade was over, but they still had roads closed) to the Alamodome for the Expo. Parking was ridiculous and there were no signs to try to help you find where you could park. Then we walk a million miles across lots to get in to packet pickup. Seriously, who designed all that?

The Expo itself was actually rather fun once we got inside. We took our time browsing the booths and checking out everything. I bought a new pair of headphones (I'll try to do a review later since I really like them) and some more Nuun. We left at 5 when they were shutting everything down. There were so many people running inside after 5 trying to pick up packets. I really hope they all made it! 5pm is such an early time to close a packet pickup.

Race morning was nice and uneventful. We all got up in plenty of time to get ready. The hotel we stayed had a carb loading breakfast downstairs with plenty of bagels and peanut butter and some other stuff. We left the hotel around 6:45 and headed to the start to drop off bags and get ready. All of us were in the 7th corral and we started 10 minutes back from the gun. I like how RnR spaces out the corrals, but it seemed much more crowded than the Mardi Gras run in February. We were dodging a lot of walkers in the first few miles.

The race scenery wasn't that great. I don't feel like we ran through very much of the scenic parts of SA. Four of us stayed together for the first 5 miles, so we all got to experience the Alamo together. Three of us reached the halfway point right at the 1 hour mark, as scheduled. My goal for this race was to pace my friends, E and C into a sub2. I had just gotten my PR 3 weeks prior in Houston and the weather was too hot race morning for me to try to beat that. We'd all been training in the heat all summer, so a sub2 was doable for the 3 of us, but I didn't want to push it further than that.

Just after mile 7, C was really starting to slacck off. I told her to do everything she could to recover and keep at it. But I knew it was hot and she was feeling it. E and I kept charging ahead and I told her we'd slowly start taking seconds off our pace time. I was mindful of my Garmin and made sure to keep us on pace. I was not going to come this far and have her miss her sub2.

At mile 10, the sun came up and it started to get really hot. We were definately regretting deciding to wear black shirts at this point. E and I turned our music on and just kept going. There were lots of people starting to walk at this point. We hit mile 12 and I was really starting to hurt. I wanted this race to be over. E started pulling away from me, and I struggled to keep up with her. The last mile was pretty hilly as we ducked underneath the freeways and rounded our way to the Alamodome. I lost sight of E, but managed to keep a good pace even though I wanted to quit. I charged up the last hill, hit the 13 mile marker, turned the corner and sprinted my way to the finish line.

Final time: 1:58:18
E beat me by 30 seconds. She's a rockstar. We rested and stretched a little while we waited on the other girls to finish (C and T finished together at 2:05!).

Then we had to make the over mile trek back to the starting line and our hotel. RnR Fail. Why have the start line in downtown next to all the hotels and then not have a way for the runners to get back except walk!? Also, bag pickup was across the parking lot from the Alamodome and you had to walk down 2 flights of stairs and then back up 2 flights of stairs to get there. Why!? I'm pretty sure I will not be running this race again.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Challenge

So if you haven't noticed, I've been slacking off a little lately. It's not for lack of trying (ok, maybe it is a little), but with being busy at work and other stuff going on it just isn't happening for me right now.

Enter: Vacation
Yes! I've been waiting for this for sooooo long! I'm not even bothered that the weather says it's going to rain the whole time. I'm just glad to be getting away and taking some much needed time off work.

In addition to my slacking off with running, I've also been slacking off in others areas, like my diet. I've been eating a lot more junk and it needs to stop.

Enter: Holiday Shred
Bobbi at NHerShoes has set up a challenge where she puts together a workout 6 days a week for 23 days. Each workout is going to last roughly 20 minutes, but can be repeated if I want to do extra. She's going to mix it up so that every muscle gets worked during the intense workouts. I'm really excited for the challenge and hope I can keep it up. I'm guessing I'll be carrying my laptop around with me so I won't have any excuses.

Here's to getting back on track before the new year arrives!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Houston Half 2011

October 23rd, I ran the first warmup race in the Houston marathon series - the Houston Half. I honestly didn't have any goals for this race. I just wanted to enjoy racing (it had been a while since my last race), have fun, and use it as a long run to prepare for my upcoming half marathon in San Antonio.

Turns out it was a great day for racing. I run the parks on these streets all of the time, so I knew what I was getting myself into. Before the race, I met up with one of the girls I train with in ATP and she was in it to race it. Normally, she's faster than me, but I thought we could at least start out together and keep each other company for the first half.

The first half went by so fast. We crossed the mat at 1:00:08. I remember thinking "ok, not great, but I'll at least beat the 2 hour mark". My friend had just put on her headphones and we both took a GU and just kept going. We didn't really speak much, just ran. The turn around for the race was at almost 8 miles where I finally decided to turn on my tunes. The two of us just started getting into a really good groove and we started passing people. I didn't look at my Garmin much at all - I was trying to run solely on feel.

I knew we were speeding up, but I had no idea how much.  Less than half a mile from the finish line, a friend of hers jumped out of the crowd and starting running with us. He was screaming at her in Spanish and I was doing everything I could to keep up the pace and try and translate what he was saying at the same time. Later I would find out that we had sped up to almost a 7 min/mile pace. We crossed the finish line in 1:55:34! A full minute PR for me!

Half Marathon #9