Browse Category: Running

Mississippi River Half Marathon

I ran the Mississippi River Half Marathon today! I’m very satisfied with how I did, but also…

I’m trying to smile here, but it’s hard because I am concerned about hypothermia.

I did not anticipate how cold it would be – I was expecting high 40’s, given the weather forecast. I brought tights to Greenville just in case, but I really don’t like to run in tights – I much prefer shorts. While I was on the bus and waiting for the race to start, I was wearing a fleece jacket on top of what I’m wearing above, and I considered keeping it on, instead of dropping my bag off to get at the finish line. I’m glad I took it off, though – my upper body wasn’t that cold once I got moving, it was mostly my face, feet, and legs.

While I was on the bridge over the Mississippi River, I regretted not wearing leggings – it was incredibly cold and windy. I briefly thought about getting out my phone to google “symptoms of frostbite” because I couldn’t feel 80% of each foot, and my legs were bright pink. It got a bit better later on, once I was off the bridge and there were trees to shield me from the wind.

Mile One – I barely noticed this mile passing, it was nice and easy. I was way more focused on how cold it was. This was tied for my second-fastest mile at 11:31.

Mile Two – This is where I was really struggling with the cold – I couldn’t feel my toes, or the balls of my feet, and my legs were incredibly cold. I was very glad to have worn gloves at this point.

Mile Three – This was tied with mile one for my second-fastest mile and I was off the bridge, so that was good. At this point, I was feeling pretty good and thinking that I might finish the race in under 2:30.

Mile Four – I was still feeling great here, and I was pretty amazed that I was a third of the way through the race and not feeling tired or sore at all. I stopped at the beginning of mile four to have my first Gu and drink some water.

Miles Five to Eight – I was feeling pretty good throughout this. I was taking short breaks to walk, but otherwise feeling pretty strong. Towards the end of mile seven, right around 1:30, I had another Gu.

Mile Nine – I got a snack from the aid station (peanut butter on cracker sandwiches) and stopped to use the restroom. Right here, I told myself “It’s only four more miles. You can run four miles without walking.” and I did not stick to that, but the thought was nice.

Mile Ten – This is where I started to feel more tired – I checked my watch, debated my pacing and time goals, and I stopped and started running a lot.

Mile Eleven and Twelve – This is where it became physically painful. My right glute was in pretty significant pain and I pushed through, still running most of this.

Mile Thirteen – I was in downtown Greenville now, and I had a sense of how close I was to the finish line. I ran the entire mile, and picked up the pace. My mindset here was very centered on passing people – I would pick the closest person ahead of me, then tell myself that I could beat them. I passed two or three people with that thought, and I picked up the pace in the last .1 to the finish line.

My time last year was 2:57:34, so this year’s time, 2:38:12 is a nineteen-minute improvement, which I am incredibly proud of. Last year I set a goal of running this race in under two hours, but in retrospect that was totally unrealistic – I didn’t have any concept of how much training my body would need to get that fast. In training, I did my long runs at a pace slower than 12:00/mile, somewhere around 12:40 or even 13:00 for most of them.

I trained a lot more for this race than I did last year, which is the number one thing that made a difference. All those sweaty, it’s-so-humid-I-can’t-breathe runs from June and July felt very worth it today. Two other factors that really helped were hydration and nutrition. Last year, I didn’t even eat breakfast before the race, and I didn’t drink water that morning – I wasn’t that thirsty and I didn’t want to have to stop and use the bathroom. This year, I drank a liter of water before the race, and ate a bowl of cereal and a muffin. I also had my Camelbak and Gu while I was running, which I had trained with, so I knew how to use it effectively and not feel like it was sitting in my stomach. I think there is also a mindset piece – this year I knew I could do it going into it, so there was no question of finishing, just a question of how fast I could finish.

In the fall, you will fly

I started running about a year ago. I started running thirteen years ago when I was on the cross country team in seventh grade, but a year ago is when I started running and kept it up enough to get stronger and better. I did my half marathon in February, and I kept running through the summer in Mississippi, when it was horribly hot and constantly drenched in sweat, grinding out my 12:30 miles and feeling like it was just too hard.

I go running with a friend pretty regularly, and I sometimes go running with the local running group. They’re all a lot faster than me, but it’s still nice to run with other people and have it be an event, rather than just me and my audiobooks. On one of those running group runs, where it’s 90 degrees and humid and you feel like you’re dying the whole time, the woman who runs the group said that these runs are hard now, but if you stick with it and keep training through the heat, you’ll fly in the fall.

This week, it finally got a little cooler in Mississippi. I don’t think we’re all the way to the end of 80 degree days, but the cooler weather has made running so much easier. Easier enough that I hit two PRs this week, which I’m incredibly proud of.

On Thursday, I ran a 5k with my friend. It was a smaller, local race, and I definitely went into it with the mindset of hitting a PR. My goal was running ten minute miles and hitting a PR.

I made it. 9:56 miles, PR met.

Today, I had a 6.5 mile run on my training plan. I woke up this morning, and it wasn’t hot at all, and I had that goal – hitting a PR on my 10k time. I also wanted to do longer than the 6.5 miles, because this week I’ve been thinking of this (silly? unreasonable?) idea of running another half marathon at the beginning of December, so I wanted to push up my long run mileage right now. I figure if I did 7 miles today, I can do eight miles next weekend, then nine, ten, eleven, and probably be good to go at the beginning of December.

I made it. 1:12:02. Somehow I ran a 9:44 mile after having already run five miles. Check it out on Strava, the splits are kind of ridiculous.

Running felt amazing today. It was cool, and quiet, and I barely saw anyone on the trail – it was perfect. When I felt tired, it was 100% in my legs, not my lungs, which is a good feeling, a nice switch from barely being able to breathe in the summer.

I’ve found that running can be a great push in helping me find a balance between teaching and life – having a goal that I care about, that I want to work towards, and that has nothing to do with teaching has helped me to put down the grading, put down the computer, and just focus on running.

Mississippi River Half Marathon

I did the thing. It was raining the entire time. My time, according to the chip, was 2:57:34. My unofficial, I will be okay even if I don’t make it goal, was under three hours.

I made it.

Here’s the full race report:

Before the race – I spent the night at my friend’s house in Indianola, about half an hour away from Greenville. I had driven into Greenville the night before to get my race packet, and then had dinner in Greenville. I woke up around 5:15 or 5:20, and left Indianola at 5:40 or so. It was a very early morning. All the runners park at the finish line, then busses take everyone to the starting line – either the Mississippi half, or the full marathon/Arkansas half. I sat next to someone on the bus who I consider to be TFA-MS famous, and I fangirled a little bit.

I planned to walk for some portions of  the race – I walked some during my long runs in training, and I noticed how much better it made me feel, even if it was just for a short interval. Initially, I planned to run the first five miles, walk a mile, then run the rest of it, relying on race day adrenaline to carry me through miles 6-13. Continue Reading

A running update

I ran six miles this week.

I mean, I ran 11.7 miles this week, but I ran six of those in a row. I’m really proud of that.

Two months ago, I was definitely not capable of running six miles, but now I can. I could probably do seven right now, but I’m all cozy and I don’t want to right this minute. Maybe tomorrow.

I’m decently on track for the half marathon, but I haven’t been following a plan with any kind of accuracy. I’ve been using the Nike+ Run Club app, but I haven’t followed it exactly because life is a thing that sometimes gets in the way of running.

It’s funny how running more and getting halfway okay at running changes the way you feel about two things: running and your body.

Running first, because that’s a lot easier than bodies.

When you first start running you are inevitably kind of garbage at it, and it’s hard, and you just kind of hate it. In my last year of college, I started running again, with plans to run a 5k, and I started running a fair amount, doing Couch to 5k, and my own program of running as far as I could, and increasing the time by one minute for every run.

It was awful! Western’s incredibly hilly campus didn’t help. I would cuss out loud while I was running because it made me feel marginally better about the awfulness of it all. The only good part of it was when I would lay down in the cool, moist grass for ten or 15 minutes after every run.

Continue Reading

Half Marathon?

In August, I did something that was a little bit ambitious and a little bit impulsive. I registered for a half marathon, which is coming up in February.

This is big! I ran a 5k in college, and I ran a (very, very slow) season of cross country in seventh grade, but overall, I have not-very-much running experience. I’ve been running more since I registered for the half marathon. I’ve been following the Couch to 10K app, which is interval based and then moves on to just running 2 miles, then 2.25 miles, then 2.5 miles and so on.

I’ve looked into a few different training plans, and I haven’t come up with a singular plan that I’m going to stick to. I’ve looked at the Nike Run Club app and the Hal Higdon plans

Another factor that I’m really concerned about is the fact that I’ve mostly been running on a treadmill. Mississippi is really hot and humid and I would much rather run in the cold than in the heat. Also, I can watch Netflix whole I run on the treadmill.

I’m telling myself that once it cools down a little, I’m going to start running outside, but I’m worried that the treadmill is different enough from running outside that it’s going to be a tough adjustment.

I’m going to keep writing about this half marathon thing, because that’s the only way I know to hold myself accountable. Check back for updates, and all that.