Saturday, November 14, 2015

Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon!

This may very well be the fastest anyone has ever put a race report down on paper (or internet or whatever...).  Anyhow. The Chickamauga Marathon was great! Well, for the most part. I am pretty sure there were some middle parts where I might have been like that video that goes through the various stages of marathoning. ('this is the best race ever'and then a mile later WTH was I thinking signing up for more than one of these...excitement to despair to elation in 26.2 miles).  Luckily the despair didn't last long.

I think I mentioned that I did this race in 2010 which goes to show how my memory works these days because it was hillier than I remembered. For some reason I remembered very light rolling hills like maybe 10 feet up and down. I have since decided that particular memory of the lightly rolling hills was another race at another park. It isn't crazy hilly but there are some longer grades on the course to be sure.

Back to today. One of the things I love about this race is that it is small.  As in park 10 feet from the start line small. This comes in handy when the temperature at start time is 30 degrees, a temperature I had not experienced since last year. #Brrrrr. I knew it was going to be cold at the start so I had purchased a $9 pink hoodie at Walmart for the purpose of tossing at the start. When the start cannon was fired (an actual cannon!), most runners opted to keep their coats. I decided to toss mine anyhow and threw it next to a tree where someone else had tossed a red jacket. The first part of the race is a half mile loop around this park so about 5 minutes after you start you come back through the start area again and out on the course. When I came back through again, I saw the red jacket but my pink hoodie was gone. I scanned the immediate area to see if anyone was wearing it. It made me wonder if someone had been eyeing my sweet $9 hoodie and was hoping I would toss it. LOL. It probably was still warm from my body heat when they picked it up. Not to mention they got a bonus pack of hand warmers! Obviously I was giving it away so if someone got it and can use it - great - but the way it was picked up so quickly just made me laugh.

Back to the race. Again. So I am working with a coach this time around. After taking close to a year off, I needed some accountability and really just prefer not to piece together my own training plan. Leave it to the experts and all...  The plan for the race was to run by HR zone. X miles in zone 1, x in zone 2 and then finish it out in zone 3. My normal way to "pace" previously would have been run as hard as you can maintain for about 4 hours and then stop when you get to the finish stopping to walk as needed to keep from dying.  Very professional strategy. I am sure there must be a book on it somewhere. In the past, I would blast out at the start and try to break free of the crowd then settle in to a pace. I was a little bit worried about being stuck in a crowd from the start running in zone one but what I have noticed (in smaller races anyhow) is that the crowd kind of breaks up on its own anyhow so I don't need to bob and weave to get around people in the beginning anymore. Score one for zone 1!

I won't bore you with a mile by mile account of how it all went but will say in my mind I knew I wanted my finish time to be somewhere below 4:30. (I had nothing to base that on other than my last race was around 4:10 and 4:30 sounded like a good number). Now that I am running by HR, I have almost no clue of my pace because I don't  look at it. I really had no idea how I was doing time wise until halfway through the race and did the math in my head. About halfway, the 4:30 pacers and I started trading off back and forth. In my mind it was a little like the balloon ladies at Disney (the ones that scoop up the runners who aren't making the time cut off the course). I knew I wanted to be ahead of them so seeing them wasn't great. They were running by themselves and not actually pacing anyone so I decided that they *must be* ahead of pace and I wasn't going to worry about them. I was with them until mile 19.5 when I somehow managed to shake free of them.

When I got to the zone three segment of my race, it was amazing. I had my doubts that I would feel like kicking it up a notch at that point in the race but decided I was going to run it as prescribed despite my doubts. Once I picked up my HR a little, I really felt pretty good.  The miles ticked by, I felt strong and before I knew it, I was making the final circle to the finish line. There might be something to this HR thing. :)

Ended up with a time of 4:25 and 5th place AG (of course it was a small race but 5 out of 17 - I will take top third of the group!)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Countdown to Chickamauga...

In the spirit of my once a month blogging habit (despite my best intention), here is the current state of affairs.

The Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon is this weekend. #woot  At this specific moment I am feeling unprepared but if I am being honest, it is my normal pre-race ritual to completely forget every long run I have done in preparation and wonder if that one 30 minute run I might have missed a month ago would somehow cause the whole plan to unravel.  LOL.  Seriously though, I can honestly say I have done more running in preparation for this race than I did for my races last year (and possibly any previous marathon). To date, I have logged almost 100 more miles in 2015 than I did in 2014 which is saying a lot considering in 2014 I did the Dopey Challenge, a 70.3 and a full ironman among a bunch of other smaller races as compared to the four 5ks, one 10k and a half marathon I did in 2015. Let's hope all that training adds up to some good racing on Saturday!

Fun fact - this will be my 10th stand alone marathon!

Another fun fact, Rick has been battling the flu since last Wednesday. I have been avoiding him like the plague. I slept downstairs for several nights and basically stopped short of wearing a hazmat suit at home. He is feeling much better - that tamiflu stuff works! I am hoping I avoided getting it, everything I read said it would show up about 4 days after being exposed to it and I think I am past that right now. KNOCK ON WOOD.

 It has been raining here for the past three weeks. I am starting to feel like I might have moved to Seattle and not realized it. I probably wouldn't mind it so much except that three weeks is a bit excessive and we *might* have put off getting a new roof a little too long and every day that it keeps raining makes me nervous for future home repairs. We are on the schedule for a new roof but it keeps getting put off because.... well, rain.  On the bright side, it would seem the sun is coming back this week just in time for race day! Temps are supposed to be a high of 55 and a low of 38 which sounds pretty much perfect to me.

and that is the way it is...  looking forward to a sunny race on Saturday! #letsdothis