On Saturday I ran the Crossroads 17.75K, a race that is part of the Marine Corps Marathon series. It was suggested by someone in my Team Challenge group and I was all over the idea. I decided to use this as a training run on a different level-racing situations are always different than training situations.
Let’s step back to the night before. My co-worker Nate (below) helped me set up a happy hour to raise money for my 1/2 marathon for the Crohns and Colitis Foundation (which is in Boston on June 27.) I pledged to raise $2800 and I have been struggling to meet my goal. We had an open bar where he and I guest bartended.
After a LONG day at work, we drove straight into the Georgetown part of Washington, DC for the 3 hour party. Since I knew I was running in the morning (the race started at 7 a.m.) I drank water while everyone else drank adult drinks. However, since it’s an Irish style pub, there wasn’t much on the menu that was gluten free, so my dinner was a garden salad with grilled chicken…essentially I didn’t eat any carbs which was a no-no.
After running around ensuring that no-one was left empty handed, I headed home at around 9:30.
I was so wound up when I got home that it took me another 2 hours or so to get to sleep…and was up at 4:15.
I had a bowl of overnight oats (1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup soymilk, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt) topped with 1/2 banana and some PB. I figured the carbs from the breakfast would help since I didn’t get many the night before. I filled up my water bottle with coconut water and squeezed about 3 tbsp of honey into a ziploc baggie for fuel. And I was off.
When I walked outside it was around 5:30 and it was already 72 degrees and grossly humid. Not a good way to start an 11 mile race.
I made my way through the crowd to the starting line and saw that the temp was hovering around 75*. The forecast called for 92 and HUMID, so I knew it was going to be a tough one. The first thing I had to do was remind myself that this is a training run: I don’t need to beat anyone, I don’t need to rush through anything. This is to prepare myself for the race I’ve been training for for the past 6 months. If you have to walk, walk. It’s not a big deal.
Good thing I put myself in this mentality because this race was hard. I mean HARD.
The first 1/4 mile was uphill, and then we took a left into the woods and ran the next 4 1/2 miles or so in the woods. Uphill. On gravel. This was bittersweet since it was hot, so being in the woods was a nice shady run. But as you know, trail running is much different than road running so I lost a lot of time (and energy) from this.
When I got back on the road, the sun started beaming down on us and I started to get really hot. I made sure to keep drinking, and at every water station I stopped and got Powerade, but I was really getting drained. I broke into my honey at around mile 5 and stretched it out for the remainder of the race.
By mile 8, I started thinking I was going to die. Oh, did I mention that about 90% of this race was uphill? Yeah. It was awesome. But, again it was a good experience since I know New England is hilly and my 1/2 will not be flat.
By mile 9, I was realizing that a run-walk plan was going to have to take effect. The hills were brutal and so was the heat. I decided to run for 4 minutes and walk for one, which was the method I took during my 2 hour training run the week before. It worked, but I still didn’t think I was going to make it. Again, there were so many damn hills! Every time I thought I was done, another one came to slap me in the face.
And here was another issue: my hand went numb.
When I was in college, I pulled my shoulder out during an off season workout (I played soccer.) Ever since then, about once a month or so I wake up with a tingly arm. My arm will tingle all the way down to my fingers and it will stay that way for a day or 2 and then go away. My trainer in college told me it’s due to a pinched nerve, so I never thought much of it. However, during the race around mile 8, I realized I couldn’t feel my thumb.
I’m not going to lie-this really freaked me out. I started running with my arm in the air to circulate the blood flow and it seemed to be working but I couldn’t run that way comfortably. It took about an hour or so after the race for my arm/hand/thumb to feel normal again.
Anyway, after struggling through the woods and hills, my final destination: The Marine Corps Museum. This is where the race ended and I could not be any happier. I felt like such garbage after this race that I called my mom practically in tears and said, “I will not be running another long run after my 1/2 marathon for A LONG TIME.”
After begging the EMT people to get me some water (all I could find was beer!) I stumbled my way to the shuttle bus back to my car and drove home with my tail between my legs.
My stats? 1:57:30 with a 10:40 pace.
At first I was really disappointed by this time. After all, I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in 1:31. How could it have taken me almost a half hour to run an extra mile? Oh yeah, those evil trails and hills may have had something to do with that—never mind the extreme heat.
Overall I’m very glad I ran this race. I woke up Sunday morning feeling like a million bucks! I wasn’t tired or sore or anything and I think that’s a good sign. I wish I could afford to buy the pictures that Marathonfoto took because they seriously say it all. But now, all I can say is bring it on Boston!! 13.1 or bust!