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If you can fill the unforgiving minute ... with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run ... Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.
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Monthly Archives: May 2012
Decided to do the Cleveland Half-Marathon because it is my hometown race, I've never done a race that big, and I thought I could maybe run a sub-1:43 half. So my goal since March has been to run a sub-1:43 at CLE. I ran two tune up races: a flat 10-miler in 1:18.52 cold wet conditions and a trail 10K in 60ish degree weather in 45:47.
I'm an active member at Runner's World Online, and all week along with everyone else I watched the forecast for Sunday with dismay. I went back and forth on what to do. Cleveland was supposed to be my goal race and the temperatures were definitely NOT going to be conducive to running a fast time. To run a fast time, you really need it to be in the 50s, and they were forecasting mid to high 60s from the start.
This race ended up being a huge meeting race between people I knew both "in real life" and only online through Runner's World. (I am going to mostly use people's screen names in case they want to remain private.) Bob, Tigg, Lara (crazyrunninglady), and I all drove down to the race together. I knew Tigg from Bob's Burning River race last July; Lara came up from Florida hoping for good Ohio weather, but instead we basically gave her Florida weather. haha. Super runner MickeyD from Indiana was also in town, as was MattC from Saratoga, and ultra running machine Battman down from Canada. Eddie was there as a spectator. Tracie was there with her husband who was running the full marathon, his second.
At the Expo, we joined the legions of runners who refused to pay $8 for parking and stuck it to the man by parking outside the I-X Center and walking. Uh, we're marathoners, folks. We can walk a few extra feet ... At the expo, the Cleveland Clinic was handing out information on the color coded system used to "flag" conditions in a race. The worst conditions are called "black flag" and that means they cancel the race. The highlight of the expo was getting my picture taken with Charlie the Tuna.
That afternoon we had a nice lunch at Bob's house. I pinned my number on my singlet, and went to bed early.
So the race. Finally.
When I woke up Sunday morning at 4 AM and saw 66 downtown and an air quality alert, I was truly thinking 13.1 mile fun run. Every run I did last week OTHER than Sunday's race was done in longsleeves. I am *always* cold and on Sunday morning, standing in front of Browns Stadium, I was perfectly comfortable in singlet and split shorts. That means it had to be around 70 degrees. The only one chilly was Lara; I let her borrow my long sleeve shirt.
I ate half a package of strawberry GU chomps (a little gross) and drank a TON of water. That was it as far as fueling.
Bob, Lara, and Tigg and I drove down to the race together. We wandered around Browns Stadium which was open for the runners to use. We did meet up with Tracie and her husband, but didn't find anyone else before the race. With 20,000 runners, it was very crowded.
At about 6:15, we checked our gear. I took two shots of Symbicort for exercise-induced asthma. (Learning to race with asthma has been a challenge.) Then the moment of truth - where to line up. I made the call: I had trained for a sub-1:43, and there would be no more chances until fall. I'm not a very good warm weather runner & with asthma that air quality alert concerned me, but .... I just wanted to try and go for it. Plus there was an orange spatula on the line .... More on that later. Anyway, I lined up with Tigg and Bob near the 8:00 minute sign and near the 3:25 pacer. A sub-1:43 half-marathon is approximately 7:50/mile, or a 3:25 pace. I told Tigg I wanted to try and run 7:50 pace. He said that if he ran that pace it would set him up for a strong second half and we could run together to start. I said ok, but please go if you need to go. I figured I would go down in a fiery blaze of glory somewhere around mile 10.
A few minutes after seven, the gun went off and we were off. It took about 1 minute for us to get to the start line. The start WAS crowded, and it was hard to find running room the first mile. But then things thinned out fine.
The race in a nutshell: We immediately ran up a short hill called West Third Street, and then onto the Shoreway which was rolling hills -- nothing severe, but rollers. It was cool to see people sitting on the Shoreway barriers. Those of you who have been here for NC24, we ran right past Edgewater Park where they hold NC24. Then the course goes down Lake Avenue (where it was mercifully shady), turns down into Tremont and Ohio City and past the West Side Market, down a hill and then up a sneaky nasty short hill at around mile 9, back up across the Detroit Bridge, then into downtown where at mile 12 the half splits from the full and continues to the finish line at Browns Stadium. The course while not "challenging" is also not exactly flat and fast.
Running with Tigg made the race go by fast. I remember bits and pieces of the race mostly: being in the direct sun on the shoreway, the 3:25 pacer zooming past us around mile 3 even though we were running way too fast, loving the Lake Avenue section, getting dropped by Tigg on the 9-mile hill (he let me catch back up), the long climb up the Detroit Road bridge, seeing Eddie at the split, the run in to the finish line. I didn't want to screw up Tigg's race, and I told him several times during the race that he could go, but he ran with me and like I said, it was awesome. A couple times when I fighting off some wheezing he kept me on track. I heart you Tigg. You are the best. Thank you for getting me my PR. :)
I came in at 1:43:38. I am a little disappointed that I missed 1:42:x, but I still set a post-cancer PR. My Garmin measured the course at 13.37; never had a HM course ever measure that long (13.2x is typical for a certified course), but maybe Tigg and I just stink at running tangents. Anyway, my disappointment is tempered by the fact that I truly redlined this race and I really trained well for it. I ran the whole thing at 91 to 92% of my max heart rate (I don't look at my heart rate, I run by feel, but I like the data). When my breathing would start to get ragged, I would back off the pace a little to prevent an asthma attack (that type of blowing up is dangerous; I want to run hard but I don't want to end up needing an ambulance), but I ran this race *hard.* I don't think I could have run any faster yesterday.
My disappointment is also tempered by the fact that Bob awarded me the coveted Spatula Award, although there were several other folks who put in good performances who could have taken the award. About the Spatula Award. So a bunch of us from RWOL know each other fairly well on Facebook and in real life. Early in the week, I was joking with Bob that Tigg and I were going to go up in flames due to the hot weather. He said he'd bring a spatula to scrape up our remains. This morphed into the Spatula Award: originally intended to be given to the worst crash and burn, it was modified later to go to the day's best race. The award is ... an orange spatula.
On the negative side, I did end up in the medical tent for the first time in my running career. :( I finished feeling tired but not in any trouble. The chutes to exit were long and I was recovered by the time I reached the end. But then my shoulder completely cramped up so bad I could not lift my arm. Nothing like that has ever happened to me before and I was alarmed so I hustled over to the medical tent. I got some ice and a massage and although it still is stiff, it seems ok today.
I am glad everyone from our group seemed to come through the race ok. It was VERY tough weather for running. I know a lot of people were disappointed in their times or races, but the conditions were just awful for running.
Here are my splits for those who care about that sort of thing. It was actually a pretty even effort, the course just rolled a lot.
1 mi 8:08.58
2 mi 7:22.72
3 mi 7:40.11 (At this point the 3:25 pacer zoomed by us...)
4 mi 7:54.00
5 mi 7:42.03
6 mi 7:56.51
7 mi 7:48.23
8 mi 7:51.33
9 mi 7:56.48
10 mi 7:48.34 Split: 1:18:08.33 (faster than my ideal weather, flat ten miler in April)
11 mi 7:59.85
12 mi 7:40.47
13 mi 7:29.07
0.37 mi 2:21.38
Distance HALF MAR
Clock Time 01:44:46
Chip Time 01:43:38
Overall Place 450 / 14635
Gender Place 94 / 8262
Division Place 30 / 1491
If you read this long, you're obviously very patient and thank you for reading. :)
Excellent. From the New York Times:
Exercise ... made it less likely that a survivor would subsequently die from a recurrence of his or her cancer. When Dr. Ballard-Barbash and her colleagues teased out specific information about biomarkers related to cancer recurrence, they found that exercise tended reliably to improve insulin levels, reduce inflammation and increase populations of the very immune system cells that are thought to attack tumors.
Exercise also lessened the chances that a survivor of cancer would later succumb prematurely to other common diseases like heart disease or diabetes. “We live in an era when cancer has moved away from being generally fatal to being itself a chronic disease,” Dr. Ballard-Barbash said. People can live many years after a cancer diagnosis. “If they are inactive,” she continued, “they risk developing other chronic diseases.”
Read the entire article here.
I know, I know. It's my fault. The weather gods hate me.
Forecast is not terrible, but it is definitely not ideal.