Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Iris Festival Half Marathon (5/17/15)

A couple weeks ago, when I realized a nasty bug was taking over my body, I scheduled a "back-up" race. I'd been training for months for the May 9 Hippie Chick Half. I figured I wouldn't be up for a stellar performance (it wasn't!), so I thought I'd plan another race to give myself an additional week to get back on the horse.

WELL... this bug was nastier than I expected, and it wiped me out. I feel back to my old self now, but my endurance is shot to crap. I proved this at Sunday's Keizer Iris Festival Half Marathon!
Brad and I ran this last year and had a great time. The out-and-back course is flat and straight forward through pretty farmland. The price is also great for a half marathon.

I just read back through last year's review, and I breezed through that thing - a stark contrast to how I felt Sunday.

We opted to pick up our bibs Sunday morning because the Web site said: Unclaimed packets can still be picked up on “Day of Race” at the Start/Check-in area.

Not quite.

We had to ask around to find the pickup area, which was in a tent several blocks away. A long line formed while we waited for the very inefficient and unorganized process.
There were just three potties back at the starting area, and the line grew fast there, too. In fact, Brad barely had time to ditch his warmups and slam down his pre-race gel before the run started.

We were able to park just a block away, same as last year, and I took selfies while he waited for a potty :)
We took off about on time, and I felt good for the first couple miles. The weather was just about perfect. After last weekend's Hippie Chick slog fest, I'd decided to go back at the 10K turnaround if the wheels were already coming off. But I felt OK, so I kept going.

The course seemed way hillier than I remembered - and more turns - and longer. There was a slight-but-just-enough-to-mess-with-me headwind on the first half, and I couldn't maintain my speed. Fading fast, I finally decided to walk at about mile 5. I was also feeling a little faint - but that passed.

Shortly after, Brad came back toward me, saying that he was within striking distance for his PR. WOOHOO!

I ran as much as I could from that point on, but my body just wouldn't go. My legs felt fine. My heart and lungs felt OK. I was just tired. It's so incredibly frustrating to put in the work and know I have it in me - and then just to bomb like that. I also noticed that I felt chilled around mile 10 (it was not cold). Brad said that's definitely a sign that my energy reserves were gone.
I did what I could, trying just to hang in there and finish. Overall, I've gotten so much better with my head game, but I really struggled mentally during this race.

OH - the best part? My Achilles tendon started hurting again. You know, the one I injured in February 2014 and spent nearly a year rehabbing. UGH! That just added to the pain - physical and emotional - of the day. I've now restarted all my PT exercises, hoping to get it under control very soon.

Finally reached the home stretch. I managed to pick off one dude, and that made me feel a little better. Brad was waiting at the finish line:
I finished in 2:16 - far from a PR, but a lot faster than last week's 2:25! I guess that's something.

Brad did awesome! He ran strong and, while he didn't quite PR, he came within about a minute and felt very good about his performance. SO proud of all the hard work he's been doing to prepare for next month's Vancouver USA Marathon!
After I cooled down and had a bit of a pity party, we walked over to the festival tent for our "special Pancake Breakfast". We looked around and couldn't find the food. Then we overheard someone say they'd run out. WHAT?!?

If I'm going to be honest here, I sorta had a meltdown. That was the last straw to a really bad morning, and I was upset. Plus - I was far from the last person to finish. In fact, there were still dozens of MARATHONERS out there. Lots of people missed out on the food we'd paid for and earned.

I later used Facebook to firmly but politely express my disappointment, and here's the response I got (Notice there's no apology) :

"We appreciate your feedback. We attempted to fix this by running and getting additional batter. We did prepare for the number of people who registered. Unfortunately, many family members ate as well. We couldn't account for that number."

I'm so glad someone's family ate my breakfast. (I'm still a little pissed) 

I digress... I was very, very impressed by this race last year. I'm not sure how my performance (or lack there of) is affecting my attitude this time, but I saw many things lacking. At least the price was good.

So now I'm rehabbing my heel and praying it doesn't knock me out for months on end like last time. If it's not feeling better after a couple weeks, I'll definitely be returning to my physical therapist. I guess my takeaway here is to do my maintenance exercises as prescribed instead of just sometimes.

Next up: Vancouver USA Half Marathon on June 21. Hopefully I'll be healthy and strong and ready to run hard :)

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