Theory on Levels of Pain and Albany 13.1 PR Race Report
Today, you get two blogs for the price of one!! My new theory about endurance sports AND my 13.1 race report. Better go buy a lotto ticket, lucky you ;)
My most novel ideas always hit me in the moments before falling asleep! Last night, I was reliving my high of PRing my half marathon time by 23 minutes on Saturday. I haven’t been able to figure out how I ran a PR like that without a dedicated training regimen. Suddenly, it occurred to me that perhaps completing my Half Ironman distance (or I imagine a similar long course athletic event) might have had EVERYTHING to do with it.
Unfortunately, since I started back to school starting in January, I have not been able to train as I would like. I just refuse to sacrifice my gpa, family life, or health to maintain a full training schedule. I’ve done two long runs: two 15k races that I ran for fun, and a handful of other jogs on various gorgeous, irresistible days since completing Augusta 70.3 in September. I’ve not had the time to research or worry about throwing in speed workouts, tempo runs, or any of that. I’ve just gone out and run when I could.
My theory is that finishing that Half Ironman taught me a little something about different levels of pain. That day, on a pain scale of 1 to 10, I experienced every single number (and various more pain faces I am sure!) until I found another pain scale that I’ve never seen on the wall at my doctor’s office. Yet each time I arrived at the next level of pain, I found myself passing into a new level of strength that I never knew was there. In order to finish, I had to mentally block out the pain, and force my body to shatter through that wall. It’s a constant battle, as your body and mind are in chaos, fighting against each other to convince you to STOP. It’s those rare moments, when you can force your body and mind to sync, that’s when you find the strength to break through the wall.
Took a little courage to share this one from the 70.3...
I think it qualifies for the pain scale face of 12!
In hindsight, I think that it is easy to THINK you are giving a race everything you have until you have experienced a race or event like this. When all I did was 5ks, I’d run right along, pushing myself just past my comfort zone. I never realized that past that comfort zone is a whole other level of ability. It’s really an amazing feeling when you have hit a brick wall, and found it within yourself to keep going. In a long course, you will meet one after another, until you find completely new levels of strength that you didn’t know you were capable of! The feeling is the biggest high I’ve ever experienced, and is to blame for my addiction to endurance sports.
Anyway, that’s my theory. And I think my luck has run out. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to beat this PR unless I train my butt off…. Which I plan to do for my FIRST MARATHON November 7!!!! I have realized, I think, that endurance sport is my niche. I don’t expect to ever be fast, but there is just something about distance that makes me crazy (in a really good way)!
So on to the Race report, or PAIN REPORT ;)
As for levels of pain, the pain progression Saturday went something like this:
Start to Mile .5: It’s too cold/early. Sane people don’t do this. I could be in bed right now.
Mile 2: Yup, that’s my ankle. Oh, there’s my knee. I really wished y’all would get warmed up already! Got a looong day ahead of ya.
Mile 3: Oh hi, water station crew. Man, y’all look happy. Way too happy.
Mile 4.5: Random stranger/cheer volunteer, I am NOT looking good. You are not fooling anyone. Your smile is showing that you’re thinking I’m the sucker I’m beginning to think I am.
Mile 6.5: My whole body just hurts!! What was I thinking? I seriously have to go run this all over again!?
Mile 7.2: Second wind!!!! I’m so happy, it’s such a beautiful day to be alive! Just running along with 300+ of my frands.
Mile 8: UGH. It’s hot. So hot. My feet are lead. I think my sock is in a bunch?
Mile 9.5: Only a 5k to go! You can do this in your sleep. It’ll only just be the most painful 5k you’ve ever done. My sock has swollen like a balloon I swear. How could I NOT feel that when I put it on!? HOLY STOMACH ACHE!
Mile 11: I seriously cannot take another step. My legs are numb. Except that they are in excrutiating pain. How is that even possible?? I canNOT slow down. Just hold on for two more miles.
Mile 12: I cannot breathe. Like I’m suffocating. I sound like dying road kill and smell worse. The quicker I run, the quicker it’s over.
Mile 12.75: You did it! The finish line is right around that corner! You don’t even need to breathe-JUST RUN!
Mile 12.85: I can crawl the rest of the way and still have a 20 minute PR. Don’t crawl until you see the finish line…. Just around the corner.
Mile 13: FRIGGIN KIDDING ME!!?? How is it possible that I STILL CANNOT see the finish line. I overshot this. This is going to be BAD.
Mile 13.1: THIS IS SOME SRS BS.
Mile 13.2 (finish line): SO MANY EMOTIONS!!!!
....and all I got was this stupid t-shirt and medal!
Just kidding-this is the first tech tee that I've actually liked. Well loved.
And I'm in love with the adorable turtle pin they were handing out as well!
Two and a half years ago, I finished my first half marathon in 2 hours and 30 minutes. In September, I finished my Half Ironman 13.1 in 2 hr. 34 min. I knew prior to Saturday that a PR was very likely, and let’s face it, it’d be a little embarrassing if I couldn’t pull out a slight PR without biking 56 miles beforehand! Yet, I still had no idea what to expect. I was planning to run with a pacer, but I couldn’t decide whether to run a 10:30 or 11:00 minute pace. A 10:30 would bring me in at 2:17, which was a pretty lofty goal for me. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit, but my best 5k time is 26:08, so I felt that 2 hours and 17 minutes would be an awesome accomplishment.
As we were lining up for the half on Saturday, the announcer said that there would be no pacers for the half! My plan was out the window at the last minute, but what a blessing that turned out to be!!! Starting out, I felt strong and settled into a comfortable rhythm quickly. I was worried that I was running too fast, too soon, but something just told me to stick with it because I felt like I still had plenty in reserves.
I faithfully took a sip of my Infinit run mix every half a mile. I drank a half bottle/half concentrate mix 30 minutes before the stop, so I didn’t feel the need to stop at any aid stations. I hit a bit of a wall at mile 6.5, so I pulled out my Honey Stinger gel, as planned. About mile 8, I started to have a dull stomach ache. Nothing bad, but I didn’t want to plunge head first into disaster, so I started to back off the fluids and gel. In hindsight, I think at that point, I had a little too much fluid jostling around?
Other than the stomach discomfort, I felt so strong half way through, that I felt like the best miles were still ahead of me. I seriously credit this to my Infinit nutrition. Every long run that I take it on, I only feel like I get stronger as I go. By the time I got to mile 10, I realized I was on track to finish close to 2 hours. I wasn’t even sure how that was possible, but it gave me the biggest shot of adrenaline!!!! I knew that this was going to be my day, and I just had to throw it all on the line. Now or never. I pushed myself to where I was running close to my 5k pace, and I noticed that athletes around me had slowed a bit. I thought I might be, again, plunging myself into disaster, but I just told myself over and over again: these moments, right now, are the only time I have to give it EVERYTHING I have. I cannot come back later and say I wish I had tried harder or pushed harder. If I’m going to go faster, I have to commit and give it everything I have RIGHT NOW. This is something I realized half way through my 70.3, and has kind of become my motto I think.
Fortunately, it worked out. I crossed the finish line, looking terrible, I suspect, because a volunteer immediately grabbed me and started escorting me to the medical tent. I found my legs a few minutes later, and sat down in shock. Not only had I just run a 23 minute PR, but I had negative split the entire race!
Apparently, this is what you get when you ask
a 7ft tall dude to take your picture. I look so little!
This course is very popular for those who are attempting to qualify for Boston. Once I had recovered a bit, I went back to the finish line and watched some of the finishers. Watching friends and strangers cross that line within minutes of qualifying and seeing their emotions upon reaching that goal was nothing short of electrifying! It’s really one of the most inspiring moments I’ve ever witnessed. My day only got better when I got to watch my boyfriend cross the line for his first marathon EVER. I am so completely proud and in awe of his ability to still look hot after running 26.2 miles!!!!
I wish I looked that good after running just a mile!
I'm a very proud and lucky girlfriend.
Thoughts about the race in general: Expo/packet pick up volunteers were a bit clueless, but thankfully everything was well organized. Course volunteers were AWESOME! Especially the first aid station-where every one of them were dressed as super heroes! Fun, flat, and pretty course, although both the half and full courses were both LONG.
Average: 9:39Official Time: 2:07:30