Rockin Rabbit Half Marathon

Well, Saturday I ran my 3rd half marathon ever, my 3rd in 70 days as well. It has been a very busy running month for me, a half on March 17th that I set a great PR at (2:21:35), a 5k March 24th that I set a HUGE PR at (28:54), a weekend of FAB-O running events and an 8 miler, my first ever trail run… and topped it off with the Rockin Rabbit Half. I was excited for this race because it would be my qualifier for Half Fanatics, a goal I had set for myself to accomplish this year. I was a little nervous about this one, since it was a 4 mile incline, followed by a 9 mile descent of 2000 ft. I wasn’t sure that my quads were trained enough for that type of downhill, and, to be honest… I was tired from the busy running month.

I secretly wanted to finish sub 2:20, but, was really focused on seeing how my training was going overall. I had been upping my training (thanks Coach), gotten better sneakers, working on my form (I’m a bad heel striker), and trying to improve all around. But, don’t all runners try to improve? I had run 2 weeks in the new sneakers, including an 8 miler, and felt good in them, comfortable, and they definitely helped my form. I opted to go with them. My only concern… my regular running socks, Balega Hidden Comfort felt too cushioned and too much for these sneakers, so I went with a pair of Reebok socks I had around (not the smartest decision).

So… I did my carb loading, etc leading up to the race, kept my morning ritual as I usually do… and headed up to the race. The race map and plan stated there would be aid stations every 2 miles, so I opted to run to each one, walk for 30 sec through each aid station. This worked for me at Six Tunnels for the most part. So… I started slow on this one, knowing that the first 4 miles were all up hill. At mile 2, I took a short walk break… but there was no aid station. Thankfully I had my own water, etc. but this had me worried how the rest of the race would be laid out, I’ll admit, this threw me off a bit. (and there were NOT aid stations every two miles). I started to run again, but the one hill was a bit tough, so I walked sooner than 2 miles. With doing this, after 4 miles, I took an even shorter walk break to get some water, and kept going. The descent started, and I was feeling good. I was watching my pace, so as not to get too fast, and destroy my legs. I took less walk breaks, it was probably mile 7 when I took a walk break to have a Clif Shot and some water. I ran then until mile 10. I was really doing well here, and my pace showed it. I am normally between 11-11:30, and I was at 10-10:30 during miles 4-10.  At mile 9, I was HUNGRY…. this was new for me. I also realized around mile 8 that a blister was forming…. uh oh. This, was also a first for me during a race. Actually, in almost a year of running overall. At mile 10, the route veered onto a dirt trail. I had just run this part on the March 17th race, so was familiar with it… but, after 10 miles on paved, it took a bit to get my footing right on the dirt and stone… and right about then, I could feel it, the blister popped… it hurt, but, with 3 miles left, was just going to keep on going. Wasn’t much I could do about it now. So, as I was running, I was keeping a decent pace, but, with the blister, ready to be done. At mile 12.5, the fun continued… a stone got in my shoe, the same shoe that had a blister on the toe. Really?! Thanks running gods… thanks. So, I chugged on through until the end. I finished only 4 minutes off my PR at 2:25:09. Not the time I wanted… and when I look at my mile pace, I can pinpoint the issues I need to work on.

So… what have I learned?  After 3 half marathons, few things:

  • my form still needs work.
  • I LOVE my Saucony Kinvara2 sneakers.
  • when the blister started forming, I over compensated with the other leg, causing more tight muscles in that leg.
  • blisters suck and must never happen again. I peeled off an entire layer of skin, on the 4th toe, it was rubbing against the middle toe (which was taped because it was sore).
  • I created a bad mix: newer shoes, not good running socks, a taped toe, long descent… it was bound to happen.
  • I need more hills training. (I know typing this will only make Charlene torture me in training, but, if I want to improve, I need more hills training) I need to better slay the dragon on inclines.
  • I need to do more strength training on my legs to prepare for steep descents
  • I need to work on my endurance…. my energy wanes at the end of a race, and I know my time suffers because of it. 
  • I need a better fueling plan and a much better hydration belt.
  • I want to eliminate walking…. and if I am going to sub 2 hours, I will have to.
  • My brain really is my biggest enemy. It kept wanting to walk, telling me I couldn’t do it…. and when I get tired, I tend to listen to it. I have proven, I can do this…. I need to believe that myself.
  • Wearing that ninja shirt, really made me feel proud to be a member of such an amazing and inspiring team.
  • I really enjoy half marathons….

Well, next up on the race list, a trail run 5k. I am not setting any goals on this one, as trail running is new to me, but will enjoy it. After that, I am possibly doing a 10k the following weekend, then I will be traveling. I am set for a 5k in May. I have 3 more half marathons I am doing this year, and considering 2 others. Now…. to work on fueling, socks, endurance, time.

Two great running things that happened for me: I registered for the Philadelphia Half Marathon. I will be running it with my cousin Ryan while my brother, and two other cousins run the full marathon. A family running adventure! Also…. I became a Half Fanatic #2166!!! 

Also… the Ninjas dominated a local 5k, and there were 2 other ninjas at this half, one set a PR, one finished, with a hamstring injury. Another ninja conquered a mountain in the Hollywood Half with a great time and found a successful fueling plan! Go NER!!!

I forgot to take a pic at the race, so had the hubby take one when I got home… I will spare you all the pic of the blister, but it is on Facebook. This singlet is awesome!!