I think you are supposed to write a race recap pretty much right after the race. Well, that did not happen in this case. What can I say, life happens. Better late than never, I guess!
I signed up for the Shamrock Marathon in mid-November and fully committed to training in early January which meant that I would need to find a tune-up race in the mid-February timeframe. There were not a lot of options in the DC area at that time, but luckily my Mom and sister both live in West Palm Beach, FL and there was a 1/2 in Ft. Lauderdale on February 17 - the Publix Fort Lauderdale A1A Marathon and Half Marathon. Perfect! Not only was there a 1/2 but also a 5k that Joc (my sister) could run the day before.
My training had been going pretty well. I was starting to see some improvement and speed come back. I was running 60-65 mile weeks. I was training all on feel. On the track, I would wear my watch to track mileage but hardly even looked at it during the workouts. I could not tell you my exact times for any of my speedwork sessions. I knew I was in the right range though to run a sub 3:40 marathon which was my goal for Shamrock.
I was pretty relaxed going into the race. My cheerleaders - Joc and Mom - and I arrived about two blocks from the Start around 4:45am. The race was slated to start at 6am. We sat in the warm car until about 5:30am, then they took off for the Finish. I was going to see them at about 4 miles, 7.5 miles and then 12 miles.
The weather was near perfect, in the low 40s. It was a little windy but I was just thankful there was no humidity. My goals or plan for this race was to start at an 8 minute pace, taking it down to 7:45 by the half way point then just hold on for dear life. I thought on a really good day, I would run a 1:45. I didn't think I was in PR shape which would require me to run a 7:46 average pace for all 13.1 miles. No way.
The first couple miles of the race were through old Ft. Lauderdale. I loved it. It was very dark out still but just lovely. I felt great. I wasn't breathing hard and felt relaxed. I looked down at my watch at the 1 mile mark - 7:32. Whoa. Race execution fail! I pulled it back after that. I settled into a 7:40-7:50 pace. It felt good, so I just went with it. The sun was rising just as I saw Mom and Joc at 4 miles, then we looped through Birch State Park which I was familiar with since that was where Joc ran her 5k the day before. Again, just beautiful running under a canopy of tropical flora. Then, the course turned back onto A1A, I saw my cheerleaders again and for about 2 miles, I ran straight into the wind. This was the least enjoyable part but I just focused on staying relaxed. It sure was nice at the turn around to then be pushed by the wind. Right after the 12 mile marker, I saw Joc ready to run the last leg with me. I really needed that too. I felt good, but was breathing hard. She made me laugh, focus and run FAST. That last mile was my fastest of the race - 7:29. She dropped me off about 400 meters from the FINISH.
|Who is that person wearing 3 layers and every piece of Winter clothing she owns? Oh - that would be my thin blooded Florida sister. Ha. Most Floridans looked like this that day. It was only 55 by noon. Brrr. Oy.|
Throughout the race, I was looking only at my pace per mile. I hardly even paid attention to the total time. It didn't even occur to me until about 100 meters from the Finish line that I actually might PR. WHAT!?!?
I crossed the finish line at 1:41:38. I saw my mom and asked for her phone so I could look it up. I didn't even know what my exact PR was because I was not expecting to come even close to it! Sure enough - I PR'd by 12 seconds! THAT feels good. So good.
I loved this race. The logistics were perfect. Weather was excellent. The course was beautiful (and VERY flat). I will do it again. Just another excuse to visit Florida!
AFTER THE RACE
Well, in typical Jessica fashion, after the race I just didn't give my body enough time to recover. The day after the race, I flew back to DC and did not run anything intense and even got a massage with Scott on Monday. I just started running a lot of miles. 10 on Tuesday, a double on Wednesday (8 in the AM and 5 in the PM) then on Thursday, I went out for another easy 10 and IT happened. At mile 5 I started to feel some tightening in what I thought was my inner calf. I tried to run through it but could not without significantly changing my gait. I stopped at mile 8 and walked the rest of the way in. Sigh. I went to see Dr. Beck that evening. He worked on me, but mentioned it might be a medial shin splint. What?! No. I was supposed to do my last 20 miler on Sunday! It was swollen and tender still by the time the weekend rolled around. Instead of the 20 miler, I did 2 hours in the pool. By Wednesday, it was feeling about 80% better so I went out for a short run. Bad idea. I screwed up the healing process and was back where I started. I just decided not to run until I felt nothing. That was longer than I thought it would be. It was the first week in March, I had to make a decision. Cross train (which would include hours and hours and hours in the pool by myself) or defer the race until next year. I chose the later. I just started a new job and frankly, Shamrock was not important enough to me to simply finish and possibly injure myself running a 4+ hour marathon. No thanks. That would have been defeating and if I had to sit the Spring out, I would have been really bummed. I had a great Half Marathon that I was super proud of so all of the training I put in was not for nothing.
Moral of the story - I can not just jump back into training after a race. My body needs time to heal. These injury occurrences are no longer "flukes"...they happen after every race. I have discipline to run. I need to apply that same discipline to heal and recover.