Friday, November 2, 2012

Akron Marathon Relay and Couch to 5K Update

This has been sitting in my drafts folder for a few weeks because I'm a lazy whore and uploading pictures is hard.  

As you have probably figured out by now, I survived my leg of the Akron Marathon Relay and have not been sporadiacally blogging from beyond.  This was a HUGE accomplishment for me, since I have never run more than 3.1 miles in my life, and have only actually ran that far without stopping ONCE, in high school.  I was forced to do a fall sport and a spring sport (THANKS, PARENTS), so I was that person who was off feeding ducks and hiding in the woods while the rest of the cross country team was actually practicing.  I had a ton of fun on the team, but running wasn't my thing.  Since high school, I go through phases where I run for exercise purposes, but generally don't go more than a mile.  I prefer the elliptical, weights, and workout DVDs.  Or sitting on my fat ass.  I am just not built for running.  

Or so I thought...

Turns out that I'm capable of doing much more than I realized.  I knew when I signed up for the last leg in the relay I was pushing it.  5.5 miles!  When I've BARELY exercised since getting pregnant with Adriana in early 2009!  THAT IS INSANE!  

I technically trained with the Couch to 10K app (which I will review later), but injuries and other life issues meant that I wasn't really getting in 3 workouts every week.  In fact, I hadn't even finished the Couch to 5K workouts by the time of the relay - from July 2 to September 29 (race day), I ran 21 times, putting me at Week 7, Day 3.  So basically, I went into a 5.5 mile run knowing that I could run 25 minutes straight, and that's about it.  NOT RECOMMENDED.  

My teammates were my friend Nicole, my brother Nick, my SIL Val (married to my other brother, John), and my cousin Tony.  We just wanted to do it for fun, and they had been prepped with the knowledge that I suck.  A coworker after my own heart let me use her spreadsheet to figure out what times we could expect our teammate to arrive at the handoff point, and this is what everyone came up with:

I know a 15:00 minute mile sounds ridiculous, but I am SUPER SLOW and I knew I'd be walking part of the course.  I was actually worried I was going to do worse than that, but I decided that if I could manage 15:00, I wouldn't be COMPLETELY embarrassing myself.  

This is what we actually did: 
A team finish under 4:30:00!  My pace under 13:30!  I seriously couldn't be more proud of my team (and myself).  And Val, who had the longest leg, KILLED IT.  Her pace was the same as Nick, who got all of the running genes in our family.  So exciting! 

I think it's interesting that every female underestimated their time, and both guys overestimated.  Very interesting, indeed.  

As for the race itself, I can't recommend it enough.  The Akron Marathon is REALLY, REALLY, REALLY well done.  Justin and I volunteered to pass out t-shirts a few weeks after we started dating and had watched the race before, but I was still surprised by how organized it was. And (THIS IS CRAZY, I KNOW THIS GUY) they are obviously prepared for even the worst case scenario.  

The day started with Justin, the girls and I getting breakfast at our neighborhood diner, where we happened to run into my parents (they were wandering around trying to see everyone run part of each leg).  Justin dropped me off at my zone and went to drop the girls at his dad's before heading to the finish line.  They were both sick (explosive diarrhea, courtesy of daycare) so we didn't want them to be out in public for long.  I had been imagining them cheering me on, but it really was for the best.  

I wish I had taken a picture of the relay hand off zone, but I was really nervous about missing Nick and just keyed up in general.  They had the relay people split off from the full marathoners, and people with bullhorns were calling off bib numbers.  Nick came in with a bunch of other people, so they never actually called his number.  I saw him, yelled his name, hopped in the shute, grabbed the slap bracelet (hah! like 4th grade!) and was off.  You can follow along on the map, but the street references and other details are really for my own benefit when I re-read this next year.  

My memories of the first mile are mainly of me hitching up my pants.  I have lost about 18 pounds since mid-August, and I completely failed to buy new pants for race day.  Big mistake.  There was a big hill about a half mile in (on Garman), and I decided to walk it to conserve energy.  It felt really lame walking so soon in my leg, but I wanted to run the best race I could and didn't want to burn out.  I also stopped and peed at the 22 mile water station, since I was too nervous to go beforehand and didn't want my stupid prolapsed bladder to result in any embarrassing accidents.  The good news was that this redistributed my sweat and my damn pants stayed up for the rest of the race.  

From there I ran all the way to the next water station before walking (Portage Path).  Another mile down!  I was on a street that a bunch of my friends live on, so I passed 5 people I knew who were watching the race (I was walking while passing 4 of them, awesome).  But I was feeling good, I had already ran most of the way and felt like I could do a lot more.  I took the time to enjoy this pretty part of Akron, to thank the volunteers and the people who where cheering for us, and to cheer on the full marathoners around me.  This was probably my favorite part of the race.

I walked a lot of the way from that water station until the turn onto West Market.  This gave me enough energy to almost run the entirety of Market!  I took a quick walk break at each drink station (where my uncle and another cousin were volunteering) and walked the two hills, but otherwise ran the whole thing.  It wasn't so bad because it was mostly downhill.  In fact, I felt pretty good until I got close to 59 / the interbelt.  

At this point, my hip decided it was 85 instead of 33 and started really throbbing.  Plus I was just exhausted.  It was SO HARD being so close to the end and having my body just give up on me.  I walked the very end of Market and the first half of Main, trying to get some energy for the finish line.  There were TONS of people downtown cheering everyone on, and they kept saying "you can do it!  you are so close!"  It actually got me a little choked up, seeing so many people cheering on strangers.  I honestly think race day is the best day ever in my city.  Everyone is so united!  It's a really cool experience.

I ran the last block before the stadium, passing a high school friend and my family.  I could hear my parents and Val cheering for me, and I noticed that Justin wasn't with them.  I slooooowly made my way into the stadium and used my last bits of energy to cross the line.  That last mile was a killer, but I FREAKING DID IT!!!!

I met up with Justin, who had separated from the fam to take pictures of me crossing the finish line since he knew that's what I would want.  A+, hubby!  He knows me so well.  

I am running with my thumbs up in every picture from that day.  I had NO IDEA I did this.

Finish line beer sounds like a much better idea than it actually is.

I have a medal and you don't.  Also a sore ass.
I took a week off to recover from the race, and then I ran Week 8 Day 1 - 28 minutes straight!  It has been really rainy and crappy here, but I plan to run Week 8 Day 2 tonight if I can, and the very last day of the C25K program will be at this race on Saturday.  I run in that area all of the time, so I'm really excited!  And I will have checked off two of my 101 in 1001 goals - C25K (I never said I had to do it in 8 weeks) and a 5K.  WOOHOO!  [I have since completed the C25K and the 5K, which I will update you on soon.]


Lacey said...

Wow, congratulations! I'm proud of you! :)

Pickles and Dimes said...

That is so awesome - congrats! I love that the girls underestimated their time, while the boys overestimated - ha!

I may have to check out that C25K program. I jog 3.1 miles a few times a week, but to do it without walking is a MIRACLE. I need to learn how to train myself to run continuously.

Jessica said...

Way to go, Laura! That's awesome. I think I'm going to start the C25K again soon. Kind of dreading it.