Monday, 27 October 2014

Run Town USA Half Marathon 2014, Greenville SC

Run Town USA Half Marathon, Greenville, SC --Saturday 25th October

I signed up for this race the Monday before. I decided to do it since it was within driving distance, wasn't a bad price for a last minute sign up and I wanted to run somewhere different for my long run. 

As mentioned in my weekly training log, I drove up the morning of the race. Gotta love race morning packet pickup. The drive flew by and despite the fact that I left just after 5am I managed to stay awake. I stopped close to Greenville at a rest stop and I was shocked by how cold it was. I might have run in a vest top, meaning I was very cold for the race and ended up with fingers the size of sausages.

 I arrived in Greenville and found the free parking very quickly. From there it was around a five minute walk to the race start. The start was right outside a baseball stadium and packet pickup was inside. It was crowded everywhere but I got my packet quickly. No amazing swag just my bib and a nice long sleeved technical t-shirt. 

I lined up for the (real) restrooms and realized by the time I got to the rest room, and dropped off my new t-shirt and zip up jacket to gear check, it'd be time to line up for the race start. 
I was surprised at the start by how many runners there were and judging by the t-shirts on display...mostly locals. Everyone was very amped, much more so than I've seen at a race start in a while, I guess Greenville has a very active and enthusiastic running community.

The start and first couple of miles were a bit crowded but I let the first mile be my warm up. The pack slowly spaced out after that. I had people around me for most of the race but once I'm not dodging too much its nice to have some company. I'll be honest a lot of this race is a blur as I try to remember details. I know we ran through the downtown area, a small portion of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, some very fancy neighbourhoods and a park before heading back through town to run a victory lap around the baseball stadium. 
The course was well marked. It was hilly, not huge hills, but frequent enough. The portion in the park added a number of miles as we looped in a somewhat complicated pattern around the park, climbing and descending. I just kept following the tape markers. Good practice for the twisty Kiawah Island course. There were lots of volunteers and a surprising number of supporters.
The aid stations were spaced out every 3.5 miles or so. I found it a bit of a long stretch before the first one but it was ok after that. I walked once during the race at mile 6.5 to take in lots of water at the aid station so I could take some shot bloks. Otherwise I hauled my ass up every hill. Even running at long run pace that still took quite a bit out of me. Since the hills were fairly frequent I was getting pretty tired towards the end of the race but I still picked it up for the lap around the stadium. Hill training, long run and (slight +1000 feet) altitude training all in one :)

Once I crossed the line I got a medal and walked up the steps up the stadium bleachers to get water and some food. There was a ton of stuff but knowing I had further to run I just took some water and a banana. I didn't have to wait long at all to get my gear back and go back to the car to drop it off. I headed to the Swamp Rabbit Trail and finished out my miles for the day. 

I really appreciated the chance to use the post race showers at a local community center, worth all $3. I had some chaffing but I felt good once I'd showered. I had thought about eating somewhere nice in Greenville but there were still a lot of traffic restrictions (the marathoners were still running) that I didn't feel like dealing with. I left Greenville and hit up a Subway once I met the i26 back to Columbia. I thought my stomach was going to digest itself in the meanwhile but somehow I survived. Less than two hours later I was on my sofa enjoying a well earned nap!!

This race was a bit of a whirlwind, I didn't hang out for long before or after but I felt like this was a really well organized race. It definitely did a good job of showing off Greenville and its community.  Recovery has been good, a bit tight but nothing hurts too much. Now to enjoy a step back week.

 Run USA Half Marathon 2.04.47 (9.46, 9.24, 9.20, 9.37, 9.22, 9.34, 10.03<--shot blok time, 9.39, 9.29, 9.40, 9.39, 9.37, 8.55)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Marathon (Kiawah) Training Week-11

A big week this week. The first of my peak mileage weeks---50 miles before a drop back week. This repeats twice before I taper. I'm just taking things one run at a time. All my lingering sickness disappeared last week so I was ready to roll.

Plan Cross-train
Actual Yoga 1 hour 15 minutes
We had planned on hiking on the Blue Ridge Mountains but missed the trail head for our hike. Boomer was being especially annoying so there was no turning back. I might have got a bit hangry in the car. A dangerous situation for all. Lunch in Asheville solved that problem and we continued on our merry way.
We made it home from racing and camping just in time to unpack and clean the car before my usual yoga class started. I went in with soggy pants, from the car wash, but I really enjoyed the class this week. It flew by and every posture felt like it was doing me good.

Plan 5 miles easy
Actual 5 miles progression (9.01, 8.25, 8.10, 7.44, 9.08 min/mile)
A nice cool day, our highs are in the mid-70s for most of this week. I took the first half a mile slow and when I realised nothing was going to break I hit the gas. After running all my miles at the weekend really slowly I just wanted to run fast. That urge doesn't occur too often so when its there I turn up my music and run like the wind :) 

Plan 10 miles 9.15-9.45
Actual 10 miles 9.19 min/mile
A decent run. I left the house after work and ran to the park. Once I had about 6 miles done Martina met me with Boomer and we ran together for a while. I had an extra mile to do at that point so I ran on and doubled back later meeting them at the end of the run. Also met two of my lab mates at various points as they are all in training for Disney in January. Exhausted afterwards..ate dinner (a massive 1020 calories worth) and went to bed.

Plan 5 miles easy
Actual 5 miles 9.48
A slow start. Then I picked up the pace: 10.46, 10.28, 10.10, 8.49, 8.46. It felt good.


Plan 10 miles
Actual 10 miles 9.22
Another evening run. Got new shoes in the mail and slipped them on. I think when they feel super soft you know it was the right decision to order new ones. I'm probably going to need one more pair before the marathon to be safe. I love these shoes but I really wear them down fast (250-300 miles).
 Took them straight out for a run. 

I kept the pace pretty constant for this one. Got to see a beautiful sunset. Definetely got a little runners high. Felt amazing...peace and love for all.


Plan 20 miles 9.30-10.45
Actual 20 miles: Run Town USA Half Marathon 13.1 miles at 9.32 min/miles, further 7 miles at 10.16 min/mile
Signed up on a whim for the Run Town USA Half at the last minute. Got up at 5am, ate and drove the hour and fifty minutes to Greenville. Drank water constantly in the car and ate a banana walking to packet pickup. Felt surprisingly nervous. I didn't get to run before the race I had no time. I decided to run the race at the faster end of my pace target and then run slower afterwards. Ran the race (will review separately). Finished and picked up my excess clothes from gear check. 
Ate a banana and had some water. Walked the five minutes back to the car, put on my new shirt, made sure I knew where I was going and went off feeling very sorry for myself to run another 7 miles. 
I shouldn't have because Greenville is beautiful. A looong trail, The Swamp Rabbit Trail, runs along the river that passes through the city. At one point I was listening to chimps at the zoo (the trail runs along side it) and another I was staring in amazement at a huge waterfall that sits practically in the middle of downtown Greenville. 

I love Greenville. 
Experienced runners high again, bizarre because I haven't felt that in years and now twice in two days. It eventually wore off and I kept trying to take in calories in the form of Clif Shot Bloks and Gatorade to keep me going. My right knee got a bit of IT band pain in the last couple of miles but not too bad, maybe putting 30 miles in less than 24 hours on new shoes was a bad idea :) not surprising considering my mileage this week and the hilly race course. Lots of stretching and rolling on the way.
Overall I finished this week feeling great a bit sore but amazing. My first 50 mile week (of three) done.

Another two half marathons left, the next two weekends. Then one more 50 mile week, I'm leaving this week race free so my last 20 miler is a long slow continous run. Then taper time...crazy.