Sunday, December 2, 2012

TCS Annapolis Half Marathon: State#13!

Maryland, my 13th state!
Running in Annapolis was great!
And I'm proud to say, a new PR has been reached:
1:36:09
Not bad for a middle-aged chick, huh?
I wish I could say getting to Annapolis was just as easy. Sidekick was trying to talk me out of going. Girlfriend had a performance Friday night and had a whole bunch of college application stuff to hand in  for Saturday.
Girlfriend's in the middle!
You go girl!
Staying to watch Girlfriend perform would mean we wouldn't get down to Annapolis until 2AM. I said that I'd go by myself - no one else had to come. Being Half-Crazed doesn't mean I hafta make everyone  around me crazy, too. Still, I was really determined to get in one more half, this year, and that was driving everyone around me crazy! My goal is to do at least five per year. With my knee injury in May, I already cancelled two halves. I didn't want to have to cancel another. Besides, I'm was still on a HIGH from doing better than planned in the local Thanksgiving Day race, The Ashenfelter Classic, where I ran 7seconds faster/mile than I planned!

Even so, I understood where Sidekick was coming from: My Mother-in-law's health has been quickly deteriorating, I have had four hours of sleep every night this week because I have had tests, papers and presentations due - another night of no sleep, and a long drive,  does not make for a good pre-race situation. On top of that, Saturday night, my son would be going to his very first formal dance, "The Candy Cane".
Mini-man went red tie and vest!
Add to that, the young lady's corsage had to be picked up somewhere between 2-3PM.
Reasoning in my Half-Crazed Mind: 
We leave after the performance @10PM. Get down to Annapolis at 2AM. Wake at 6AM. Eat a bagel and drink some coffee, on the way to the race. Get to race by 6:30AM. Warm-up, do four strides. Race at 7AM. Hang out at race until 10AM. Shower at hotel and get on the road by 11:30AM. Home by 2:30PM, just in time to pick-up the corsage!
It's great when a plan comes together!
"Please be supportive of my goals, everyone. I can do this!"
I am blessed. My family saw how much this goal means to me, and they all pitched in. Girlfriend took care of her college applications stuff Saturday morning, and Mini-man arranged a ride for early Saturday morning wrestling practice. Side-kick, went over and above - he drove down to Annapolis and back, shaking his head, and telling me the whole way that he loves me, and that I am not Half-Crazed, but absolutely CRAZY!
There I was, 6:59AM, December 1:
Following a very aggressive, super A-type male runner while he frantically pushed his way through hundreds of people to get to the 7:30min/mi pace section of the start. It's good to be small and tag onto this kinda person - people think you're couple, they smile at you, kinda' like, "Aww, they're running together."And as a female, you don't seem obnoxious, or have other females looking at you with that look that says,
"B*TCH.
Just who do you think you are?"
Star Spangled Banner was sung. GO NAVY written on the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to the right side of me, and then, some guy (most likely from Army) yelled out, "Sink Navy".
"POW" 
We were off!
Race Elevation
This race was challenging. Lots of hills. So many ups and downs. I knew there was a bridge (the Naval Academy Bridge) spanning the Severn River at the mouth of the Chesapeake River, and I planned for this challenge at mile 6, but I didn't plan for the slow and torturous hill spanning the 7-7.5mile point. And then there was the turn around, so we could repeated it all again!
I had to stop at the top of the hill, at that 7.5mile point.
I was gasping for air!
There was a water/Gatorade station. When I stopped, I noted a women in a fuchsia top, grabbed the Gatorade, sucked 1/2 of it down between gasps of air, heard someone yell,
"Quick, toss your cup this way. 
NOW!" 
She must have seen my confusion - there were runners on my right, making it up that horrible hill, and runners passing me, on my left. It was pretty cold, so I didn't want to soak anyone with sticky Gatorade. Her strong, "NOW," snapped me back into focus. I tossed the cup and sprinted down the hill, after the woman in fuchsia, hearing my friends voice in my head:
"The easiest thing in the world you can do is give up!"
I caught up to the woman in fuchsia, doing sub 6:50min/mile pace, only to face a few more hills and the Naval Academy Bridge, again. Luckily, I counted to 10 and repeated some ABC's going up the bridge the 1st time, so I knew how long it would take me to conquer the bridge on my return trip. I paced it pretty good, and when I got to the top, I screamed:
"Done. 
I'm done with that bridge!"
Some guys started laughing and we got to talking. I was delirious, at that point, telling them about my four hours of sleep and my goal to complete a half in every state. They wanted to know which state would be my last. I told them, "Nevada" and explained that my son will be 21, and he wants to go to Vegas, run the half with me, have a drink with me and play some Craps! God-willing, one day, I will be able to say, again:
"It's great when a plan comes together!"
The race went back through the downtown area of Annapolis, which looked super quaint. I have to admit, with all the turns, ups and downs, I really didn't focus on the scenery. I really concentrated on keeping pace uphill, and stabilizing my core on the down hill. At one point, some guy next to me just lost it and yelled out, "I can't take going downhill anymore! Where are the straightaways?"
Then, about mile 11, I thought, "God no, I'm becoming my own statistic."
I always say, about mile 10 or so, people just fall off the chart. I'm guessing they just don't train passed 10miles. Usually, about mile 10/11, I pass a good amount of people. Yesterday, though, after those hills, my legs were heavy. I was tired. The thought of how little sleep I had was playing on my head. I did that whole Colonel self-screaming thing (my kids calls me the colonel when I yell, I don a military accent - I can thank my Dad for that trait). So you can imagine what I sounded like in my head as I repeated:
This is what you train for.
This is why your out on the track every week.
This is why you do monster walks in the gym, until your legs burn!
You are strong.
Let's go.
Don't become your own statistic.
Fire in the belly.
Finish strong.
Self-talking is a powerful tool. I'd like to know what other people do to fight those negative thoughts that wreak havoc on your psyche during a race, or even during training.
I usually wind up praying for strength and oxygen ...yes, I pray for oxygen!
The race ended with runners running about a half mile through the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium parking lot - which was how it started and which everyone thought was a little odd. There were volunteers handing out medals and foil blankets. After about 2minutes, I was very grateful for that foil blanket because it was about 42*F, foggy and damp.
Side-kick and I headed over to the tent, where we heard the most amazing band play! They were great!
First time I ever saw a bag-pipe hooked up to an AMP!
The Rovers
I had some veggie soup, with crab, of course, after all, we were in Maryland! Side-kick had some cream of crab soup with a little shake of Old Bay. Mmm, mmm, good! I love soup, after a chilly run!
Side-kick also went for the free beer they were giving out!
Celebrating my 1st place in age group
....at 9AM!
I was a little disappointed there were no metals for age groups - I would have liked to have walked away with an award. But the after party was so happening, and everyone was in such a great mood, the experience was worth the trip.
Above all, I am so grateful to have my family's support and to be able to say, 
I finished my 13th state!
Go Blue Angels!
Train Smart Today!
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