Saturday, September 25, 2010
Salem's Wicked half marathon race report
Today, as part of my training programme, I did the Wicked half marathon in Salem. It was a bit hot, and around 80°F at the start. Given last week's less than sterling long run, I tweaked this week's training and was looking forward to seeing how it would all turn out. We set off at around 5:30am since the race was starting at 7 and I still had to pick up my race packet etc. I had an espresso, and then a chocolate underground yoghurt in the car as I find it difficult to eat so early in the morning.
Let me just come out and say it: the race rocked! I finished it in 2:31. Considering that the time for the last half (Boston's Race to Remember in May) was 2:40 AND I was wrecked afterwards, I was rather pleased with this one. I ran strongly, and felt good throughout. Even more amazing is the fact that I have no physical pain! Usually after a long run I have real pain in my muscles - nothing that a few Advils cannot fix, but still. Today, I finished and felt as fresh as a rose! I had a quick bathroom break at around mile 5, and walked a few times during the last mile to catch my breath, and also because it was starting to feel that I was going to start running slowly, and I did not want to do that. Those short walks helped me recover and finish strong.
What I did differently this week:
1) I did my 3 workouts on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and I put my heart into them. I rested on Thursday and Friday.
2) Drank lots of water especially on Friday, when I also ate my meals quite early. I had dinner at around 5:30pm, since we usually eat quite late - that was wise as I sometimes wake up feeling 'undigested'.
3) Although I only managed 1 weight session this week, I actually 'felt' strong in my core. Whether it was my muscles or my mind, I do not know, but I do know that the feeling of strength comes from feeling that you have your workouts under control - or at any rate that you are trying your best.
I love the Salem/Marblehead area. It is on the sea, so you feel and smell the sea when you bike or run. Salem is also quite hilly, so the first five miles were a combination of hills and flats...quite gentle ones though. As you can see from the map, we then ran across this bridge, to Marblehead neck. This a terrific part of the town. These are good hills, and for my Marblehead triathlon last year, I had to cycle 3 times around the neck. If you remember I only learned to ride a bike last year, and had not quite mastered the art of getting out of the saddle. So I had to do all these hills sitting down, and peddle ferociously, because they are quite steep, and if you stop, I am not sure you can start on that kind of hill again!
Anyway, I know the course well, and I loved accelerating up those hills today. I sprinted up them, and what a great feeling that was - especially since I remembered to keep the pace going on the downhill as well, rather than relaxing. Two rather surprising songs for uphill and then downhill sprints are Part -time Lover and Take Me Home Country Roads. In fact I would go as far as saying I could have run the entire race with those 2 songs....for some reason today, that was the right beat! But most importantly, I felt happy. Yes, today I felt like I did Run like Hermes - messenger of the gods, with wings on my feet. This is the first time that I can say I actually felt like that!
You all gave me some great advice, which I took, and what you have said is true indeed. I made sure to have enough rest, and kept up the quality in my training sessions this week, which resulted in a good run today. I realize that I might be over-simplifying things somewhat, but I needed to have a good run today, and see at what point my training is. My running confidence has been renewed, and I am ready for week 12. In the meantime, all that running around Marblehead today made me want to cycle! So tomorrow morning, a bike ride is on the cards.
Mile 13: I may look a bit hallucinatory, but I am actually smiling in this pic!