Monday, May 30, 2011

Coeur d'Alene half marathon 2011 race report

I finished
This may be the least informative race report ever. 

My day started out at 5:30a.  I woke up just before the alarm went off, immediately drank a large glass of water along with my supplements and ate some leftover pork loin, half an avocado, and some blueberries.

The biggest blueberries ever
The night before, I had laid all my clothes and gear out to make sure I wouldn't forget anything.

Just a little after 6:30a we drove down to Riverstone.  My husband dropped me off and I went to go mill around while he found a parking spot.  While he was parking I made a pit stop at the porta potties.  Luckily I was able to get in line right after the full marathoners left so the line was actually pretty short.  I was surprised at how long it took for the glass of water I drank to go through.  If I was doing it again, I definitely would have given myself a little longer between waking and leaving for the race.  The potties were not bad in the morning, but we passed by again after the race and people were opening doors and immediately closing them to look for another potty.  Use your imagination... or don't.

Amazingly, my husband and I found each other again while we were waiting to line up for the race start.  Not much later, it was time to line up and we said goodbye.  I took a place at what I thought was near the back, but as we got closer to our 7:30a start time, I went even farther back.  I had heard that you can get run over if you line up too close to the front and I definitely wanted to pace myself and not get caught up in the crowd or tripped or run over.

And we're off!  My husband says I am somewhere in here but I have no clue where.

I honestly don't remember if there was a countdown, or a bell, or what they used to start the race, I just know that it took about a minute to get from my starting point to the start line.  I couldn't see the front very well but everyone really seemed pretty courteous and I didn't see anyone fall, trip, or get pushed.  Even though I was consciously trying to stick to my planned pace I was surprised at how hard it was to actually do it. 

The trail narrowed off after about a half mile so we were packed together pretty tightly for awhile.  I saw a number of people walking 3 or 4 abreast, blocking almost the entire trail, and it took a fair bit of patience to get through the first mile and find a decent spot with other people who were going my pace.  There were a couple other sections where I had to pass through a dense crowd, but for most of the race I had plenty of room.

About a mile in?  Feeling strong!

I wish I had some sweet details or funny stories about stuff that happened during the race, but I couldn't have planned a more perfect race, really.  I felt great, I kept a good pace, nothing out of the ordinary happened (well, there was one thing that I was unable to plan adequately for, but it's kind of too much information to post here), and I don't think I could have run a better race.

Here are my stats, with commentary:

Chip time:  2:41:04
Avg pace (chip): 12:18/mi

Garmin moving time: 2:37:04 (I made two pit stops, slightly off course)
Garmin Avg pace: 11:46/mi (this is a significantly faster pace than any of my training runs)
Avg HR: 147 bpm (almost 10 bpm over my training rates)
Max HR: 168 bpm

As I said, I'm really pleased with how I did.  I came in 1146 out of 1412 finishers, which kind of made me chuckle.  Not too great when you compare me against the others, but when you consider that the goal was to finish, and I did that plus ran better than I trained, I'm quite satisfied  =)

Here are some more pics from the race:
Motoring along.  The runners had thinned out by this time
That chick in the purple was tough to get around, but she fell back after awhile.  She would walk and then when I tried to pass she would start running again.
Right before the turn around
Just passed halfway!  Still feeling good
Refueling with dates and coconut oil
Significantly after turnaround... feeling good and rocking out to music  =)
At the finish
Looking a little haggard
Tired, but happy
The dreaded ice bath.  Not as bad as I had anticipated.

Here are some of my best training/recovery tips:
- Strength train. Especially your legs. The course in this race was really pretty flat (I think my Garmin said there was a total of 320 feet elevation gain) so I didn't train for hills but I did squat and deadlift a lot and I really think that helped with the few hills I did encounter. Most of the people going my pace walked up the hills we came across, or they were really laboring to slowly jog up them. I was able to just motor up the hills with no problems, and I really attribute that to the squatting and deadlifting. Learn how to squat to full depth (erm... ass to the grass. Youtube is a decent resource... check out this video), and if you don't know how to deadlift then do lots of lunges and work up to lunges with weight. You will thank me!

- Ice bath after the race.  Maybe it's just me, but I did this, plus a contrast shower, and I was not sore today.  Fill the tub with cold water, dump in a bag of ice, and sit in it until the ice melts.  The water doesn't have to be high... just covering your legs is fine.

- Contrast showers.  It sounds crazy but there is science behind it.  After training, at the end of my normal shower I would just turn the water to cold and make a couple turns in the cold water, then turn it back to warm for a minute, then do the cold again.  I actually kind of started to enjoy it  =|   I did these after a lot of my training runs because they are really supposed to help with recovery.

- Do a short run the day after the race.  Getting some circulation going the day after the race will also help with recovery.  I felt good this morning so I did a 2.5 mile walk with a few intervals of slow jogging.

- If possible, have support along the course.  I initially told my husband not to worry about following me along the course, but he did anyway and I was so glad to see him!  I never really got a 'down in the dumps' feeling but it really lifted my spirits to see a friendly, familiar face and to hear him cheering for me.  He was so sweet to follow my progress, cheer, and take pics.  I love you, Aaron  =D

I'll post more tips as I think of them!

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