Saturday, February 27, 2010

2/27/2010-This running thing is addicting

For the first 38 and a half years of my life, I never ever thought I would be one of those people you see out there running for fun. For most of my adult life I've been overweight and almost never did any kind of exercise. I participated in one sport-bowling. Granted, I was pretty good at it, carrying a 196 average at my highest point, but still--bowling is not really a sport you need to be in shape for (for the most part). Then Hurricane Wilma came through South Florida, destroyed the bowling alley my league was at and I just stopped even doing that. I did eventually bowl again (2008-2009 season)...but wasn't really any good compared to before (average in the 160s which for me was frustrating after how well I used to do). During that time I started a lifestyle change using and began my weight loss journey. I started walking and eventually I was walking almost every day, gradually adding more and more miles. Then I heard about the Couch to 5K program and everything changed.

When I first heard about C25K I thought, hey, I could do that! Training for a 5K sounded like a great goal to shoot for and I knew that running would burn more calories than walking so I tried it. While I never made it past week 2 (week 3 just kicked my butt to the nth degree at the time), I started doing a 4 minute walk/1 minute run consistently. Set my sights on my first 5K (at Disney during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend) and had a successful outing which inspired me to keep it up. While at that event, seeing all the participants from the actual half marathon with their medals made me think, "Wow, I really would love one of those...I should try a half marathon!" And so the quest for the Disney Half Marathon for January 2010 began. I followed the walk/run plan in Marathoning for Mortals and with the support of all my new friends on the Running of the Ears forum, finished my first half marathon within the time requirements Disney set forth (my time was 3:22:13...slow, yes but hey, I finished and did it in the cold, snow and sleet---in Florida!).

Well, by then I was receiving emails from about upcoming events in my area and had started looking at local running sites to see what other events I could find...and happened upon the A1A half marathon in Fort Lauderdale. That was last weekend and although I had a "wardrobe malfunction" that resulting in a nasty chafing issue that forced me to walk most of the last four miles, I still finished 2 minutes faster than Disney. And I discovered that I really like the half marathon distance.

That brings me to yesterday. When I realized, hey...if I do another half marathon by the first week of April, I would qualify to join the Half Fanatics. And so here I am, browsing the local race listings, searching for another half marathon. And to top it off, I have set a goal of the Disney FULL marathon for January 2011. 26.2 miles. All at one time. Yeah, this running thing sure is addicting. But I tell ya, it's the best addiction one could ever have.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

2/21/10-A1A Half Marathon race report

I haven't posted anything since my Disney race report, I just got really lazy about posting entries after it was over. But I've still kept up with my running intervals and today completed my second half marathon, the A1A Half Marathon here in Fort Lauderdale. Here is my race report:

I arrived at the parking garage at about 4:45am...and the line for the only two parking meters to pay for my spot was about 50 deep when I got there. Waited about 40 minutes in line before a cop finally came over and told everyone “no tickets, no towing”, they were taking care of it so the runners would not be late to the 6am start. Yay! So went to my corral and wandered back and forth in the 13+ min/mile area until it was time to start. At least once this race started it only took about 3-4 minutes to cross the start line (race for half and full marathon total was capped at 6000 runners and they didn’t sell out). Started out walking, slowly building up speed then started my running intervals about 13 minutes in. I was doing 3 minute walk/2 minute run. We headed east on Las Olas to A1A. Right before we got to A1A we had our one “hill”-the Las Olas bridge (description of the course from the race website: The course elevation is flatter than a pancake! Sea level the entire way! Well to be fair you do have to cross one moderate bridge which counts as a hill, sort of. The Las Olas Bridge rises about 20 feet in the air and is just before mile 3 on the course). Once past the hill we turned north onto A1A as the sun was coming up. It was so pretty watching it rise over the beach (which was immediately on our right).

I was going strong for the first half of the race, I even had a 13:59 mile (mile 5), my fastest mile ever during a race. I also had four other miles well under 15 min/mile along with four more just over 15. During miles 5 and 6 we had a little detour through Birch State Park, it was really quiet and peaceful going through there. Then back onto A1A until just past Oakland Park Blvd...then turned around to head back south. Right about that time was when my running skirt started to really be an issue. Humidity all morning was extremely high (90% at the start, didn’t even drop below 70 until about 9am) and the shorts under the skirt were drenched in sweat and kept riding up. I had used body glide but even with it the shorts kept riding up and the chafing was horrible (I’m really ouchie right now). The running intervals were about five times worse with this than the walking ones so the last 4 miles I was walking almost the whole time. One of those miles was under 16 min/mile, the other three just over.

Finally the 13 mile marker sign came up, I pulled down the shorts one last time and ran to the end. Stopped my Garmin to see 3:20:13...exactly two minutes faster than my first half at Disney this past January. So, I’m very happy I was faster...but a little aggravated about the skirt thing as I know it could have been much better with all the miles that I was doing between 14-15 min/mile before my clothing became uncooperative. Regardless, I have my gorgeous seashell medal (and it opens up!) and half marathon #2 is in the books! At the end was a really good live band and lots of yummy food including pancakes if you wanted breakfast stuff or beans/nachos type stuff if you wanted something like that. And of course the normal fruits, bagels and muffins. Oh, and cookies and free beer (I got the thanks on the beer, icky!). The weather for the race was 58 degrees at the start, 70 at the finish with a light breeze the whole time...sunny, clear...just gorgeous!

Now, what next? After I've rested for a few days I'll check around for my next half to sign up for. Just give my poor thighs a chance to heal from the where's my Neosporin?