Tuesday, April 20, 2010

After The Half

Some thoughts on Sunday's half-marathon.

Excitement Persists

I'm still excited by Sunday's results. I still think it's a great accomplishment to be able to run a half-marathon averaging a pace under 9-minute miles. And to do it on a hilly course like Redlands was even more monumental for both Angie and myself. Last year, we both ran that race and it was our the first half-marathon for each of us (though she'd already run a full marathon). She finished in 2:12:something and I finished in 2:14:50. We destroyed those times, on the same exact course. I'd said after the race that if we didn't do it, I would have looked for the next half-marathon to run (there's one in Laguna Hills on Memorial Day!) but she wanted to get the sub-2 hour half at Redlands. And she's right. We had to beat that course, and we did.

So of course we're extra excited about that.

Not All Smooth

I can't ignore my knee pain any longer. I've been having knee discomfort periodically but haven't blogged about it. Part of me wants to just ignore it and hope it goes away, but my knee wasn't just uncomfortable after the race - it hurt. I iced it when I got home and took some aleve. That helped and I was feeling much better later in the day, but still the pain/discomfort persisted into Monday.

I don't know what it is, but it's just a small discomfort that escalates to pain. I felt it early on during the race Sunday and it came and went throughout. The walk out to my car was a long one.

Now, I've noticed the knee acts up sometimes during hilly runs, be it on Mt. Rubidoux or over The Hill. This has been one of the main reasons why I haven't signed up for San Francisco. I'm just wondering what the knee pain is and what it could lead to. In the meantime, stretching, icing and foam rolling. Fun.

I Am A Distance Runner

I realized something on Sunday. It's actually something I've been noticing of late.

I'm a distance runner.

Duh, right? I mean, I ran a marathon not too long ago. And I knock out 10-12 mile runs with regularity.

But more so than just numbers and mileage, I am far more comfortable at miles 9, 10 and 11 than I am at miles 2, 3 and 4. I really struggled in the early part of Sunday's race, but by the time I hit Mile 8, I was feeling great. It was smooth sailing for me once I got there. I know part of it had to do with the lack of hills - we were done with most of the hills by that point - but it's not just that. A few weeks ago, Angie and I ran 15.5 miles, and my best mile that day was Mile 12. I hit a bit of a runner's high that mile. And during my 14-mile solo run a few weeks back, my last two miles were among my four fastest overall during that run.

Shorter runs of course are vital to me. I need my 4-6 mile midweek runs as much as I do my 10-plus mile runs on Sundays, but those long runs are just so much more fun for me.

Time To Push It

In thinking back to my marathon, I always remember the last four miles or so, and how tough they were. I don't often get there, to those points. I don't mean Mile 22-26.2 of a race, but rather the closing stages of a long race... or any race, really, but in particular a long race.

Races are not training runs, of course. That's obvious. But the reason they aren't isn't because you wear a bib and there are a lot of others out there. It's because you push yourself during races more than long runs. During both long runs and races, you get to a point where you feel exhaustion, fatigue, anguish perhaps. In training, that's when you can ease back, maybe take a walk break, maybe slow down your pace. But in races, you can't do that.

Well, I mean I guess you can. But for me, that's the challenge. Can I exceed my limits? Can I meet challenges and keep going? Can I get through the dreaded and proverbial wall?

When you train, you don't really need to do that. Yeah, you will encounter tough moments, but the constant pushing of yourself is saved for races. So I don't often get to Mile 12 of a 13.1-mile race, feeling tired, wanting the race to be over but needing just a little bit longer. That's the time for me to see what I have inside.

To me, that's fun. That's enjoyable. I savor those moments. Those are the moments I replay in my head when I think back to races. How did I perform under pressure? What were the conditions like at the end and how did I do?

I think I did okay on Sunday.

Next Half?

I really like the half marathon distance. It's a very challenging distance but it also seems like a faster pace is attainable. It's also not a body-wrecker like a 26.2. It doesn't mean I want to do the full marathons any less, but rather run half marathons even more.

So when will I run my next 13.1? As I mentioned earlier, Laguna Hills has a half marathon on Memorial Day. That's not that far from me, but I'm not sure if I'll do that. I've toyed with the idea of running the America's Finest City Half Marathon, in San Diego on Aug. 15, and Angie seems set on doing the Disneyland Half Marathon on Labor Day weekend. The price for that (120) seems a bit steep for me, but that's still on my must-run list.

I'm not sure when my next half marathon will be. It might not be until November when I run the Mission Inn Half Marathon right here in Riverside. I'm running that for sure, but only time will tell if that's my only other half marathon this year.

Lois The Speedy

I didn't forget about the Lois Fiasco. You'll have to wait for that as I'm dedicating a full post to it.


Anne said...

Congrats on your half-marathon PR...it's particularly sweet that it was on the same course as last year!

Willoughby said...

Do you think your knee pain could have anything to do with your meniscus? I know at least a half dozen people who've had problems with theirs. Here's a link to some info. http://www.sports-injury-info.com/meniscus-tear-symptoms.html

Kerrie T. said...

I hope you get your knee figured out. :(

Wish I could run Disneyland, too. Maybe someday we should have a big bloggy meet up at D-land.

Amanda said...

We just booked our disney vacay for labor day weekend and I should be running the half with my inlaws. I mean why else would I go down there lol