Friday, September 26, 2014

San Antonio Half Marathon (Double Half Marathon)

Sorry I've been MIA lately. Here's what I've been up to...

San Antonio Half Marathon

The actual name of the half marathon in San Antonio that I participated in was the Double Half Marathon.  The reason for that was that you could do a half marathon in the morning and one in the evening. I, however, decided one half marathon for the day would be sufficient!

My boyfriend and I headed to San Antonio for a little R&R earlier in September. Of course, our R&R consists of a half marathon and staying with a 1.5 year old! In reality, we were taking a vacation to visit his brother's family who recently moved to San Antonio. Of course we played it around a half marathon to knock off a state! 

We did the normal tourist stuff: River Walk and a boat tour, drove past the Alamo, had some local Texas BBQ, went geocaching, saw the world's largest shovel be inducted into the Guinness Book of World Record.  We were busy!

World's Largest Shovel (sorry it's on the side...I tried to fix it.)

Board tour on the Riverwalk
But of course you want to know about the half marathon!  The weeks/months before we went to Texas, the weather in San Antonio was 95-105 degrees. Every.Single.Day. Chicago weather had been much (MUCH) cooler this summer and I've hardly experienced many warm weather runs this year. Luckily (I guess...) for me, the weather got warmer the last couple weeks before my trip to San Antonio and almost mimicked what I actually had for race day.  Even though those warmer/more humid runs in Chicago were rough and I wasn't very happy running them, I knew that I would be thankful come my half marathon, so I kept trying to think of that positive.

Lucky for us, San Antonio had cooler (for them) weather when we came there. It actually rained (we must have brought the rain-gods with us). San Antonio residents were happy. The rain didn't interfere with our plans and usually only downpoured for about 5 mins at a time.  But for us Chicagoans, it was still hot and humid. We'd do an activity, then come home and sit in the air conditioning for a while before going back out! lol. We are such babies!  Ok, back to the half marathon!

The race was only about 20 mins from the house we were staying at. There were not a lot of people there and I knew it would be a very small race. There were port-a-potties but the bus station was right next to the parking lot, so I snuck in there for the "real" bathrooms instead.

I ran the first couple miles with Derek. It's nice to run with him sometimes since we don't always run together. I secretly love those moments but for various reasons, we normally do our own thing.

Only about 175 runners

Before the half

At the start of the half
The first 2 miles had virtually no shade. I was concerned the whole thing would be like that but luckily the rest was shaded pretty well. It was on the Leon Creek Greenway trail and it was nice to see things that we normally don't (cactus!).

The trail. Very winding. I was mostly running alone!

Cactus! All over the place.
It was a very small race. There were only about 175 finishers. Because of this, I was running alone or mostly alone most times on the trail. It was an out-and-back course though so of course near the middle section, you saw the people coming back.

Unfortunately for me and many others, after mile 6, there was a split in the trail. You could either go straight or turn right.  There wasn't a sign so I continued straight (the logical thing to do).  Then I came to a large (VERY LARGE AND LONG) uphill. I was thinking, "Really? Really? ... Um.. Really?" I continued to start running and walking up the hill. Near the top (or course), a girl was running back down along with many other runners. She told me that this was the wrong way. We were supposed to turn right at the other spot. She said she went to about the half way mark according to her garmin and turned around.

Oh, did I mention, my garmin battery was dead so I had no way of knowing where I was or how long I was out there?  There were also no time clocks on the mile markers. I was just running for the love of running. lol

Anyway, I decided I had gone about half way and turned around. I was a bit upset I found this out after going up this large hill but whatever! We were telling everyone as we got back on course that they needed to turn at that spot. I saw Derek and told him also. I was only mildly annoyed but didn't really care since I wasn't running fast, trying to break any PR's, and since I had gone halfway, I just turned around and ran back. I didn't correct the course and run extra miles. To me, I still ran the half. I just got a bit turned around near the middle. No big deal.

Since it was so small, there were no spectators. I did find one...

The only spectator (sorry for the side pic. Ugh)
I knew from the website that there would be about 3 aid stations and since it was an out and back course, you would hit each one twice. The first two were pretty close together so that left the middle one at mile 5 (and mile 8) a very important aid station. I brought my hydration belt so that I would have adequate hydration. Derek said when I saw him later, that the mile 8 aid station ran out of water when he got there. That was not good considering the next aid station was 3 miles later. So for the later runners, there was no water on course from mile 5 until about mile 11. I did tell the race director's brother later when he asked how everything was (benefit of small races).

All in all, I did this race for fun and for a Texas half marathon medal. I thought most of the course was really nice and since there weren't a lot of people, very peaceful and enjoyable. I just struggled the last couple miles for no reason really. I was just tired and hot. I found out after the race that it was about 80 degrees during the race with a real feel of 97 degrees!  No wonder I was tired and hot! lol.

Since I didn't have my garmin or time clocks, I had no idea what I was going to finish at. I walked many times the last two miles. I was sure it would be over 2:30 but I really didn't care. So I was really surprised when I finished and saw my time was 2:21!  This is a very standard summer half marathon time for me and I was pleased to be under 2:30! I ate some food, drank some water, and waited for Derek to finish.

Overall, I had a good time. It gave me a chance to run long "alone" under difficult (hot/humid) weather conditions, and practice my "run happy" mental attitude. It's what is going to get me through that marathon in Grand Rapids with a PR! Now I can mark Texas off the list of states to run half and full marathons in!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

August In Review

August in Review

Running Miles: 132.68
Strength Training/Cross Training Days: 3
Cycling Miles: 96.34
# of Workout Days this month: 18 (58%)

Running Miles: It’s marathon training season. But I’ll admit, this might be the highest mileage per month I’ve ever had since I started keeping track of my miles last year. I even purposely took a couple short runs out because I wanted to rest my legs from two high mileage running/cycling weekends. So I’m pretty proud of how I feel right now about my training. I feel good. My legs feel (relatively) good. And I just did my 18 miler this past weekend. With that 18 miler, I ran about 6 of the end miles solo. I’m still trying to utilize my “run happy” mantra I’ve worked on this year and, even when I don’t feel quite so good, it’s helping keep my head on straight and power me through the runs (most times). I’m only human so a couple of shorter runs, I was pretty miserable. It happens.

Strength Training/Cross Training Days: Well, 3 is a pretty sad number. This includes all other activity besides running, so cycling, yoga, etc. I know I’m running A LOT, but how hard should 15 minutes of Abs or yoga be?? Come on Amanda, get it together! My back is pretty weak from when I hurt it last year and I want to incorporate planks and supermans into my daily routine. However, I will say, I have been stretching about 80% of the days. I just didn’t include that in here. I’m trying to keep this pesky piriformis issue at bay.

Talking about the piriformis, my chiropractor told me to have my boyfriend jab his elbow into my piriformis (aka butt) to work it out like she would. And I had him do it 4-5 days per week. When I finally saw her again, she pulled down my pants (yes she did!!) and noticed I had a bruise there. She was quite impressed with my boyfriend’s skills of pain infliction! Moving on…

Cycling Miles: I had 96.34, which is pretty good for me. But actually, this was only 2 cycling days. I did the Venus De Miles bike ride (66.28 miles) and about 1 week before, got some training cycling miles in with a 30.06 mile bike ride.

# of workout days this month: Um…only 18? I missed 13 workout days! I’m slightly embarrassed by that. It’s my lowest amount of workout days per month this year! But I know it’s because I took a few extra rest days due to all the running. I was just tired. It’s totally understandable. So I will cut myself some slack in this area. BUT…goal is to do better in September but getting some of that core workout in (planks, superman, etc). Hey, even 5 mins counts! Just do it!

I can’t believe it’s September already. I’m hitting up vacation starting tomorrow by traveling to San Antonio, Texas to visit my boyfriend’s brother and his family. It should be a good time. I’ve never been so I’m pretty excited! I was told that we are going to visit the toilet seat museum…. Um… Texas Fun!