Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Williamsburg Half Marathon 2017 race report


First race of the year in the books (I should go back and count how many total times I’ve done this race- I believe my first may have been 1996 or 1997, WOW!)

Anyway, I was so nervous heading into the race:

*back injury in late November hasn’t healed like previously and my hip/hamstring are affected,

*I have gone out for some runs in the past month where I end up turning around and walking home because of my back/hip, or simply because of fear of my back and hip getting worse.

*I also found myself in quite a bad mental funk (depressed) for a few weeks- until I began taking Vitaman D3 and that seemed to help immediately!   (but in the meantime, I had some days where I just didn’t even want to go out for a workout even on unseasonably beautiful and warm days in February)… So… I didn’t have much hope and didn’t want a bad race to get me BACK into a mental funk!! And also didn’t want to be out on the course just feeling like I was either getting reinjured or just horrible compared to what I know my body has previously done.

So I planned to just take it as it came, get in the miles, enjoy the race, etc.

I got to race site, went for a warm up of about 2 miles.  First mile just beginning to move, then the 2nd mile was a combination of some 30 second pickups, 30 second hold or 30 sec back off, etc.. some little hill accelerations, etc.  I felt OK, and knew I’d be able to run (but also still hoping hamstring/hip/back didn’t kick in at mile 8-9 and limit me being able to continue after distance)….
I had already told my family my plan:
  break the race into 3 sets of 4 miles… (then the finish mile)… first “set” was “warm up”(although that doesn’t mean I wasn’t already warmed up), 2nd “set” was settling in, and saying, “ok I am in this and running and am comfortable and running smart.”  My goal was every minute to be aware that I was running SMART and headstrong.  The 3rd set was mentally “ok, I am out here running and checking in with my body to see if I can use anything I have left.”  (I was trying to take this as a mental yoga run practice)..

Race began and for the first approx. mile you are in the town of Williamsburg, going through residential streets- there are some people yelling/houses/people in driveways making noise for racers, etc.. fun stuff, right??  Except no… I just honestly never feel that way… it makes me feel like, ughhhhh, loud/noisy/too much mental stimulation with roads being crowded, hilly already, gravel in places, turns because they are these small roads and people yelling, ugh. Don’t like… but I am used to it after these years so didn’t even REALLY notice that I wasn’t liking that part until we turned onto the path.  The “path” is a paved path through woods/over a stream, etc… About 75% of the race is on this path and when we turned onto it, I literally just TURNED inside myself with peacefulness.. I was SO thankful, I could breathe and I literally felt like I had a weight lifted off of me!  It reminded me why this is one of my favorite run races—early season- you are out there on this trail- no spectators which I like, and you are just doing the best you can do…. And nothing more.. just DARN NICE.. I loved it… So I felt HAPPY.  My first mile split was 6:40, and they varied through the race just depending on hills.    My first 4 miles I did feel very “good” meaning, I was running strong, but telling myself to hold back and to check in and make sure I was in control, running smart, etc.  I initially during these miles felt my hamstring on my OTHER FREAKING LEG and nearly died when I felt this…… but it went away…

Mile 4-8 I did as I promised myself—I mentally said to really take these miles and slow down if anything… I was trying to run maybe the same pace or a bit easier, but to see how relaxed I could let myself feel at that pace.    I was taking 1 honey stinger for some energy every 2 miles beginning at mile 4. 

Miles 8-12 I did feel my legs beginning to get tired and heavy due to the hills, so was being very careful with FORM- I didn’t want to compensate for anything and find myself tweaking back or hip because I had to work harder in some area since my legs were tired, I was reminding myself to run tall, light on feet, relaxed shoulders, and keep my arm cadence even though my legs were tired.  The hills from mile 10-12 are pretty bad in this race, so I just told myself to not ever think of the end, just be in the hill I was in….and run smart.  Last mile is through campus and winding all over roads where you feel like the stadium MUST be right around the next corner and it never is… I know this from years past, so I just took it as it came and settled in for the long mile!!

I was so happy to finish, to finish strong, to have had MILES of thankfulness for being OUT on the peaceful trail.  It was just what my heart needed.. it was like a soul massage to be out there, breathing, working and in nature, on a sunny warm, February afternoon… It re-inspired me for this years races and training and gave me hope that I can be fully healthy again!  I’m so thankful for racesJ (total time 1:34:30) ave 7:14’s.