Posted by: rl4man | April 23, 2012

Glass City Half Marathon and How NOT to Taper

I ran the Glass City Half Marathon in Toledo yesterday morning. I did well. Unexpectedly well. I got a 3-minute PR with a 2:10:31 finish with a 9:57/mile average pace. My A goal was 2:11 at a 10:00 pace. I felt strong almost the whole way and only 2 miles were over 10:00.

Taper week issues actually started the Friday before when Jessie was sent home sick with a fever. We thought he just had a cold, but he wasn’t feeling well and they took his temperature at school. He had a very runny nose and started coughing. I just knew I was going to get it. Sure enough, by bedtime, I had a tickle in my throat. Saturday, I had an 8-miler to do but was starting to feel a bit rough. I figured I might feel worse on Sunday, so I went out and had a good solid run. My throat hurt, but I felt otherwise ok. Jessie was a lethargic, fever-ridden, pathetic patient who vomited on the couch right after I pulled the container out from under his face. Ugh! As the day went on, I felt worse and worse. By Sunday, I was sick with what we finally conceded was the flu. It wasn’t super severe, but enough to keep me down most of the day. I had the aches, fever, chills, coughing and headache going on. Sunday evening I felt better, but by Monday morning, I was back to bed as soon as the boys were ready for school. Jessie seemed ok, so we sent him to school, but they called at 11:30 saying he’d vomited. So I dragged my sweating, feverish body out of bed, took a quick shower so I wouldn’t be too disgusting, and picked him up. We stayed home on Tuesday too. Each day we started feeling a bit better. I went back to work on Wednesday since Kevin didn’t have to work and could stay with Jessie. I was really dragging, though, and had no appetite. Thursday Jessie was finally well enough to go back to school. The whole week I kept wanting to take a trial run, but just couldn’t. And my cycle started on Tuesday which I thought was a good thing since that gave me what I thought was plenty of time for it to ease up by race morning. But it was crazy heavy (sorry, TMI!) and didn’t slow down until Saturday. Weird. Finally on Friday I got a short 3-miler in on the treadmill and felt ok, but definitely not back to 100% energy. I also had a bout with abdominal cramps and explosive diarrhea that afternoon, which then turned into constipation. Saturday we went up to the expo to pick up my race packet. We ate at a pizza buffet for lunch and I was able to eat pretty well, but the rest of the day I had a terrible headache. And the cough was still there. Not sure I would be able to run the entire race, I set my alarm and went to bed early. I felt like anything that could go wrong before a race had gone wrong.

Race morning: I missed my alarm, stupid thing was too quiet, but still woke up right at 4:30 am, wide awake. I got out of bed and assessed how I felt. Great! I actually felt great! Except for the coughing. So I went ahead and got ready and made it out the door by 5:10. I could feel a headache brewing, but I didn’t want to take any medication too early so it wouldn’t wear off before the race was over. I got to the University and found a parking spot, took a couple ibuprofen, and then just waited in the car until 6:40. I didn’t feel like hanging out in the building with a bunch of strangers. Not knowing how fast I could actually run, I went all the way to the back to the 10:00 pace sign. It’s still a little demoralizing that my pace is the slowest one marked. There were plenty of walkers, but they don’t have pace signs. Anyway, we waited for the start. It was cool, right near 40 with a slight breeze. Finally we started off. It took 3 minutes to cross the line, but the crowd didn’t thin out for a long time. My first mile came in at 10:39 because of the congestion. I was not happy with that and felt like I was trying to make up for that lost time the whole rest of the race. Actually, I had to do a lot of weaving around other runners most of the race. I guess that’s what happens when you’re not way in the back of the pack. 🙂

I think this is Wildwood. I saw the photographer and smiled, a little too big, I think. Oh, well.

After that first mile, I was able to pick up my pace and was surprised to be feeling pretty good at a sub-10:00 pace. There was one other mile at 10:05, but everything else was sub-10:00. I just kept going. I figured I’d take advantage of feeling good since I didn’t know when my energy might just run out. I tried to take a drink of water and a Sport Bean (picked up a couple free packs at the expo, yay!) every half mile. I didn’t always feel the need, but I took it fairly regularly. It really helps the miles go by taking something that often and it’s my theory that it keeps a more steady stream of glucose going rather than consuming a handful at longer intervals. I remembered one hill around the 6 mile mark that I had to fight up last year. This year, I powered right up that hill and just kept going.

Running next to the train track in the last couple miles by UT.

Wildwood had a lot of down hills that I didn’t remember, but were very welcome. I was really excited when I caught up and passed the 4:30 marathon pace group around mile 5. At that point I wasn’t sure a PR was possible, but I knew I’d do better than last year at least. When I finally hit the bike trail with about 4 miles to go, I knew I could do it. I was still feeling strong and just kept the effort up. It got harder after mile 11 and my body wanted to slow down, but I didn’t let it. I knew I could push it for just 2 more miles.

2 miles to go.

I rounded the corner around Savage Hall and just gave a little more. The clock said 2:14 when I crossed the line and my Garmin read 10:30:49, so I knew I had done it. Really, I didn’t think it was possible.

The finish line. The clock says 2:14:00.

I felt good and walked out of the stadium, grabbed my glass mug, got a cookie and a piece of pizza, then headed back to the car. My lower GI started feeling a bit funny on the way home, but fortunately it didn’t get really unhappy until I got home. Most of the afternoon was spent running to the bathroom only to not be able to go. By that evening I was feeling a bit better. Today I feel fine. There’s still chest congestion, but everything else feels good and I can almost sing again. And I have a nice, shiny, new PR. 🙂

Next up, the Cleveland half marathon with Kathryn. I. Can’t. Wait! It’s going to be a blast. And surely I can’t get that incredibly sick before another race, right?

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