Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Mike to Mike Half Marathon, Fayetteville NC 2015

On Sunday I completed the Mike to Mike Half Marathon in Fayetteville NC. This was a race organized by the military so it started in Fayetteville and ended in Fort Bragg. 
The military organization was clear from start to finish. So much so that I was surprised that this was only the second year of the race. Also surprising for a relatively new race was the size of the field
595 Full Marathoners, 1782 half marathoners and 759 5ks including 100 British paratroopers. The packet included a face cloth, Chapstick and a tshirt. The tshirt is a nice design but the seams are a little odd so the fit isn't quite right.

I got up at a very early 4.45 on race morning to catch the race shuttle (from the host hotel) to the race start. The area was spread out over Festival Park in downtown Fayetteville. Lots of port-a-potties AND a genius little handwash station, if only all races had these. The race started at 7 am to the roar of a Howitzer.
Running through the smoke from the gun I knew I should have peed one last time. Never mind, I'd been sick with hay fever pretty much all week so I knew I'd be lucky to get through this one with a relatively ok time. I stopped at the first set of port-a-potties at mile 1.5 and waited a few minutes to pee. I didn't have to worry about cooling down as I hit a hill as soon as I started running again. 
This theme continued- hills and bathroom breaks as I had to stop again a few miles later...not feeling so hot. 
After that I settled into somewhat of a rhythm. I just ran fast when it felt good and slow when it felt bad. Although none of the hills were monsters most of the course was a steady climb towards the finish and my legs felt it in the last few miles. I also felt my feet burning like I'd walked in high heels for hours...new shoes are ordered. 
The course scenery was kind of boring and the on course electrolyte drink tasted awful, not good when humidity is over 90% and I'm only sucking down water. BUT the aid stations were frequent and well stocked (1 or 2 had fuel including Sports Beans, Shot Blocks and Gu gels...something for everyone), lots of marshalls (lots of miltary) out at the intersections and lots of potties. On course there was some music as well in including an army band.

What does get you, and got me even though I'm not American, is strong theme throughout the race of remembering the fallen soldiers. Besides all the military participants, people were wearing blue to remember the fallen, and there is a mile dedicated to fallen soliders lined by pictures and flags. I choked up a bit at this point. It was very emotional.
The cool part of it being a miltary associated race was getting to see the fort and some of the trucks and other vehicles parked up at the finish line festivities. They went all out with the medal for this race, it was massive and heavy. Finishers also got a big backpack which is a bit more useful than the usual string bags.
I finished in 2.05.44 with splits all over the place.

I walked around all the vendors at the finish area and then hopped on a bus back to the start and then another back to the hotel. I made it just on time to get a shower and get a hotel breakfast before checking out. We planned on walking around some shops etc but after some coffee we realized everything was shut for Sunday and by everything I mean everything but 2/3 restaurants were shut. Then it was home for a rest and a happy end to Sunday with some TV time. A solid race that I think will continue to grow in years to come.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Weekly Roundup

I've been going through a rough patch of pollen allergies. It was a bit too much this week, sinus headaches and a upset stomach on top of the usual sniffles so I cuddled with Boomer on the couch a few times instead of running.
 Previous years its been the initial flush of pollen that gets me so I'm hoping that in the next week or so I feel a lot better. Its definitely not as bad as some people get them so there is something to be thankful for!!

Strength- Body Pump 7am
I finally adjusted to the time change so I went to my regular class. It felt pretty good to be in there exercising before the sun had even risen.
Running 3 miles 10.32 min/mile
Very easy miles. I've been trying to bump my weights a bit so my muscles were tired.

Tuesday Rest-ish
It was in the 80s after work when I had planned to go to the track. I couldn't wait until after dark for the temps to drop as the track wasn't lit. The next day was much cooler so I shuffled my rest day(s) around.
Instead I spent an hour giving the lawn its first full cut of the summer. It was mostly just getting rid of spring weeds but still pushing a 50lb+ push mower around for an hour is a decent workout. I sat on the couch sneezing for hours after..call me sneezy and grumpy.

Strength- Body Pump 7am
Two early mornings this week, that must be a new record. Between walking to the gym, doing class and getting changed the lunchtime class is taking too much time out of my work day. I'm not saying I won't go to an occasional lunchtime class but I'm going to try to make the morning class the more frequent one.
Running 4 miles with 6 x 400m repeats 8.29 min/mile
Fun times in the semi-darkness at the track but it was worth moving days around it was so much cooler and enjoyable.
Thursday- Rest
Felt awful.

Friday- Running 5 miles 9.25 min/mile
Didn't feel bad/good just hot.

Saturday- Rest
Boomers girlfriend stayed the night. So we dropped her at daycare before the farmers market in the morning and then a 3 hour drive to Fayetteville. A set of roadworks added around 20 minutes to our drive, because people do not know how to merge into a single lane. I had my first experience with room service and then tried in vain to sleep, HGTV has a lot to answer for. I can never have cable because I'd watch it all day. 

Running -13.1 miles at the Mike to Mike Half Marathon  9.32 min/mile
A steady climb from start to finish. Legs were trashed at the end.

An up and down week but not too bad! I've a 4 more races in the next few months, then I might just spend my summer mixing things up a bit more.