October 26, 2010

Rock 'n' Roll Denver Half Marathon!

After this blog post, I promise I will write about something other than running... this is for those who asked how it went and for beginner (since I still consider myself a beginner) training tips and thoughts.

The Rock 'n' Roll Denver Half Marathon was on Sunday, October 17th at 6:55am. After sharing a protein and salt filled breakfast with my cousin Brianne (made by my lovely mom) we headed over to meet Megan for the big race. I was a little excited and pretty nervous so I don't think I gave myself enough time to digest breakfast; luckily that didn't come back to haunt me as badly as it could have. Let me back up a little and talk about training...

I knew training for a Half Marathon (which is 13.1 miles) would be daunting. I had read a few websites, blogs and magazine articles about training for the race but decided to take a pretty relaxed approach. You all know I have a Nike+ sensor (click here to see my runs) and love it; so I just clicked on the "NWM Half Marathon" training coach through the Nike+ website and it gave me a schedule to follow. I didn't follow it. No lie.

I did start training in July. I actually started training while I was in Iowa > Worst. Idea. Ever. It was so humid that I felt like I was swimming in a bathtub filled of muck. I'll run in high-altitude over humidity any day. So, I continued training for 12 weeks. Some weeks I ran 7 miles and other weeks I ran 17 miles. My furthest run before race-day was 10 miles. Quite an accomplishment if you ask me, but I didn't know if I was ready or not. I took the optimistic approach and talked myself into being ready.

Vinny loves running

Ten things I learned about running, myself and my body while training:

  1. Yes, my appetite increased. I was hungry most of the time and craved salt like no one's business (pickles in particular) - I could have done better with nutrition during training and am actually in the middle of setting a plan for myself for the rest of the year to avoid post-training weight gain.
  2. I did experience a little pain - my collar bones felt like they were pulling my shoulders forward, mostly after long runs but also while going about my day - I think this is from having really tight shoulders. Massage is really important if you're feeling tight, ignoring aches and pains will lead to injury. I wish I could afford to get massage more often (and I even work for a massage company!).
  3. After about mile 4 or 5 Vincent gets tired and thirsty, so I had to start leaving him at home and that made me sad so, of course, I had to make up for it by taking him on more walks.
  4. I love having a running buddy. The important thing about running buddies though, is they have to run around the same pace as you - lucky for me, I have one of those - Megan. I did find that if she couldn't make a running date, I'd skip it too.
  5. After about mile 7 my right knee and IT band show some pain - love the foam roller for this (check out this video to see how).
  6. I must have water if I'm running 5+ miles. I bought the Spring Palm Holder at Dick's. I had to get it online because they only had the larger versions in the store. Like carrying anything while running, it's annoying and I only take it on longer runs.
  7. I only got around to trying one sports snack - I used Clif's Shot Bloks and I think Cran Razz is the best flavor. In my opinion these really helped. I had 3 Bloks every 5 miles (long runs only) while training and only ate 3 during the race - at mile 9.
  8. Talking about the training is as important to me as training itself. It's good to talk to seasoned runners as well as non-runners because it keeps the idea of running (and the guilt of not running or maintaining your training schedule) top-of-mind.
  9. Running has become an addiction. If I feel anxious or fatigued I immediately say "I need to go for a run!"
  10. I set pretty realistic goals for myself for this race. First, I just wanted to be able to finish. Then, after my 10 mile run I set a new goal - to finish in 2 hours and 40 minutes (12 min. 21 second miles).
View of the Colorado State Capital Building from the finish line (I think)
Training under way, goals set -- now off to the race! 

Rock 'n' Roll does a great job. This was the first year for Rock 'n' Roll in Denver, so I expect next year will be a little different and even better (you will see my note about the music below). The Expo on Friday night was really cool - lots of freebees and neat stuff to learn about.

Megan and I got into the same corral (pen for livestock, or... ummm, start area) and stuck together through mile 9. Brianne was quite a ways behind us because her corral crossed the start-line several minutes later. At mile 9 I absolutely had to hit the porta-potty and ended up waiting in line for 4.5 minutes! That was a little discouraging because I lost Megan. I knew that I'd see my boss, coworker Todd and Katy at about mile 10.5 and they were there, sign and all (how sweet, thanks guys!) - I will tell you, seeing people you know (or anyone) cheering for you is the ultimate motivator! I wasn't expecting the excitement it gave me and I am so grateful everyone was there. 

I walked a little between mile 10.75 and 11.5 (at Cheeseman Park) but don't feel bad about it at all. Walking helped me be able to have a strong finish.


Finished In:

Kathryn Shanahan
Denver, CO
Age: 27 | Gender: F
Overall: 6873 out of 9177 · Division: 993 out of 1260 · Gender: 4450 out of 6334
Pace5K10K11.0 MiChipTimeClockTime

FINISH TIME: 02:37:34 or 
02:33:24 if you exclude the wait at the potty

I waited in the "family wait area" for my mom, Lee, Mike, Aunt Debbi and Brianne for a good 40 minutes and that is when I felt the worst. I thought I was going to die. All I wanted to do was get to the couch ASAP but I knew that walking around was the best thing for me at the time anyway. I was sore for a good day - my right knee and IT band were aching and I was very tired. I felt pretty good Monday (I was very happy I ended up taking Monday off work) and by Tuesday I was back to normal.

This is me after the race, when I thought I was going to die!
Brianne (when she thought she was going to die) and me again.
A better shot of Brianne and me.
My bestest fans - Mike, my mom and Lee (mom's fiance)
One thing that bugged me is that the live bands during the race were not as LOUD as they were at the Bolder Boulder. That was quite disappointing and I hope they step it up next year (I don't really like to wear my iPod during big events like this) for the runners. Another thing that bugged me was that the FT shirts I ordered were wayyyy to short so I had to wear two shirts, poooo.

For those of you who are interested in training for a Half, here is another training tool a few people had recommended to me: Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training for Intermediate Runners. I think I will follow this 'to the T' next time, to help increase my pace and so I feel a little more "normal" after the race.

"Dear Lord, I pray that there is someone behind me to read this" was definitely the best t-shirt and "F X X K CANCER" was the best marker-tattoo I saw at the race!

Happy Running Everyone - Remember, personal fitness and nutrition are two of the very few things controllable in your life.

1 comment:

Jenni Schwartz said...

Great blog! I wish that I could run for a decent amount of time without feeling like my boobs are going to rip right off my chest. Hopefully P90X will work on shrinking them for me. :/