This past weekend was the Rock N Roll Raleigh 1/2 Marathon and Marathon. While I didn’t do this years race I did do last year and I loved it! The course is hilly and challenging, but I love how the race weaves through downtown. I thought I’d give my recap from last year as well as a recap from my friend Pauline who ran the race this year and is on some kind of 1/2 marathon kick as this was her third 1/2 in a month. I ran the Massacre Relay with Pauline and she’s SO fun. It’s also SO funny to get two almost completely different takes on the race. I was running the race as part of a fun group with no pressure and Pauline was on a mission to have a great time and possibly PR. Enjoy the tale of two runners taking on the Rock N Roll Raleigh:)
My Rock N Roll Experience…..
Last year’s Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon was the goal race for my Running Mamas group. I was pretty nervous about the race because all I kept hearing about were the HILLS and the possibility of crazy heat. I think the heat worried me more than the hills because we start training in January and run mostly in the (extreme) cold. That’s always a risk with a Spring race though and one we have to go with. I was going into this race as a supporter first! This would be the first 1/2 for a few of my girls and a maybe a PR for some others. My strategy was to start easy with my girl Julie and just go from there. That is all. No pressure and just for fun. Race weekend started with a trip to the Expo on Saturday to pick up my packet. It was a gorgeous day and Harper and I enjoyed the band at the Expo. Packet pick up was fast and the Expo was amazing! I really enjoyed the vendors and actually bought a few things. LOVE all the strategically placed kiosks offering $50 registration at next years race…I really almost went for it and I’m always a last minute race entry. The music and excitement of the Expo was the best I’ve ever experienced. Race day my girls and I had a carpool set up. I can’t remember for the life of me what time we arrived at the race, but we had plenty of time to park and meet the rest of our group at the Sheraton. That was a really nice perk having the lobbies available for waiting. The morning was cool…I planned to race in my 2XU compression capris (my favorite pants ever) and a short sleeve tee. The weather was great, not hot like the previous years and not as cold as this year. Everything pre-race went very smooth. We checked our bags quickly, warmed-up and made our way to the corrals. I just went to the same corral as Julie…probably in the middle somewhere. Julie and I ran pretty easy the first three miles…I loved going under the bridge with a band playing above. After about mile 3 I kind of ended up by myself and just settled in. I remember the hills from the race, but I remember feeling so confident on them. I had been attending Holly’s speed and hill work sessions and I still feel to this DAY that her hill technique has been life changing for me. I even had a little cat and mouse with a girl who was even with me on flats…I would pull away slightly up hill and she would catch back up on the flats. This lasted for several hills, but eventually I started pulling farther away on the hills and could recover quicker on the flats. Thank you Holly!! My MOST favorite part of the race was the memorial to the soldiers. I didn’t know about this and it comes close to the end whenyou are digging deep. It was beautiful! I also loved the Team In Training area too with all the survivor stories. I don’t remember a lot of music, but that was ok by me. I had a fast finish and very easy race. Finished in 2 hours which is ummmmm…..only 15 minutes off my PR:)
Now onto this years Rock N Roll 1/2. The weather was much cooler this year! I would have loved that and I know Pauline likes that too. Rock N Roll was Pauline’s third half in about a month. Just the week before she ran the Not So Normal 1/2 in Carrboro. The Not So Normal race is a newer race that focuses on community and philanthropy. I love what this race stands for, but there have been some course issues. Kimberly was registered for the race until they changed the course to a two loop setting. Pauline also had the course showing up short at 12.93 and looks like many others had some varying distances too. At the beginning of the month she ran the New York City 1/2 and had a great run, but after starting in the wrong corral and having to weave around some big crowds she was still just looking for a solid race and possible PR! Here is her Rock N Roll race recap leading in from her two other races….
Okay, so the ‘tic’ was still in full force and saw Rock and Roll was the following week and knowing I ran harder at Not So Normal but I also chatted with 1:50 pacer and met a new running friend through mutual friends. I knew if I ran somewhat selfishly like my kamikaze days that I could possibly get that 1:48 on Rock and Roll course!! When I signed up, I lied and said I would predict my time as finishing at 1:40! When I got to the Expo I was surprised to see that out of like 30 corrals I was in number 1!! Oh boy, I knew all those Raleigh people who saw me at the start, including Bobby Mack (who knows my PRs) knew damn well I should be in like corral 15!! Lol!! When he looked at me at the starting line (because he was only about 3 people diagonally away from me toeing the line) I saw the look like “what the ?” On his face!! All I could think was “please don’t expose me & my over embellished fib, Bobby!!!”I’m also starting with a gal who consistently runs 1:40 in her sleep, in fact she ran a 100mile Umstead race the week before and I wasn’t joking when I told her she would ‘crush me today’. I acted like I didn’t remember what I put in for my predicted time because explaining the Central Park fiasco (weaving around all the people at the start) was too exhausting to explain 60 seconds before race start! She seemed to think she would finish in 2hrs, but I was thinking to myself, anyone who runs 100miles the week before then shows up for a half a week later, is running the thing and may not be a PR but even her easy pace will be great! She passed me at mile 9!! But we will get to that…
I didn’t study the course because I didn’t want to be freaked out, but then needless to say I studied the night before and saw I would have quite a bit trouble climbing for several miles!! And not like grades of 2%, but like grades of 6% for a lot of this race!! Ouch! Oh well, if I just fight for that 1:49:59 then I will be happy is where I concluded in my pea brain!! The night before I also found out I have to be at parking in downtown by 5:30am!! Ugh!! Most races I mosey on down like 15-30minutes prior to start! But this is the big city now!! Sigh.. 9:30pm I find this out and I have nothing ready for this race! I hurried get it together and plopped into to bed to sleep!
Since the previous week I have been having racing heart rates so I choose not to use my symbacort because my dr suggested another medicine in its place. I opted out of using any type of inhaler to prevent racing heart beats.
I woke up at 4 and out the door by 5, I was one of the first to park so apparently this rule of being there by 5:30am is totally and completely relaxed!! I think I pulled into spot at 5:20 and it was not a mad house!! I tried falling asleep and that wasn’t happening so I meditated.
At the start I was covered in my not so normal paper jacket & NYC Half Mylar blanket. I didn’t wear an extra jacket because the winds died down and temps were around 30, with the sun out. I knew from my race notes of the course that I would run my best paces early in the course, but I should have relaxed and just ran easy so I could have had better energy to take on those 6% hills. I am not entirely sure but I literally stopped to take a few steps on those hills to walk a little because I felt as if I was running vertically up a 90 degree angle!
Going into mile 6, then going into 8 were the hardest miles. I was slowing and didn’t like it a bit!! I tried remembering everything I could about running hills, but I was hurting for certain and not injury wise but just feeling heavy and sluggish. I took my gel at mile 6 but I think I probably should have taken earlier. I drank at most every water stop and stopped to take a few steps to sip and played a game of ‘can I get my cup in the receptacle’ I think I succeeded 6x out of 8 which tells me I am a better basketball player than runner and perhaps I should change sports?
Laurie Olson shows up just about mile 9 said she is back!! I decided to use her momentum and followed her feet cadence to help me recover and my mile spilt at 10 was a 7:44 (I would have lugged to the end had she not been there, I love that girl!) however it was also going down hill and I got scared and slowed a bit to climb from 11-12miles which was a pretty steep hill climb, they actually timed you on it and my time was pathetic! I think I walked a few steps and I am fine with that, I heard tendons and ligaments making noises and I normally err to the side of caution when I hear things playing like banjo in my body!! I am a very conservative runner as I feel I want to run for a long time, not necessarily the same day, but for life. Ounce of prevention… I am not going at it like I was 20 as I know the healing is quite a bit longer and even though I want to play the reindeer games in having PR’s, I also tend to believe they need not be so intense. I am not trying to prove anything to anyone, I just want to have goals to continue to stay healthy. I adjust those goals based on feelings from day to day. Even race to race and do not ever dwell on outcome. I am optimistic that whatever I do teach my children is that I continue to persevere and do the best I feel is necessary. As I was running the last mile I said to the guy next to me who was running so hard that there are no more hills, we are in the homestretch and this seemed to make us both run a little harder. When I turned onto Fayettville St and saw the Finish line, I said quietly to myself kamikaze!! My pace for my last .22 was like 6:13! 536ft elevation, most sandwiched in 5-12, hardest half I have ever run in my life!! My time was 1:50:06, do I have that ‘tic’, you betcha your sweet ass I do and eyeballing a race that has my name all over it in High Point called BeerFest Half!!