Sunday, July 27, 2014

Half for two and Tri three

Dusty and I did a HALF MARATHON!
No that was not a typo, we really did it!
On May 25th we ran the Coeur d'Alene Half.

It is no surprise that hardworking, athletic Dusty was capable of running the race but with his busy schedule starting with farm work early in the spring, I am especially proud of him for making the time commitment to get out and train. It was great to see him take to the longer runs so very naturally. I heard him say many times throughout his training that it was something he actually felt good at, as opposed to other endeavors he had tried and been unsuccessful with over the years. His natural ability to run made me proud and perhaps a bit jealous. Really the challenge for him was just getting out the door and syncing our schedules enough to make sure he got his training runs done. There were many really early, like before daylight, mornings runs for him. A task that makes his effort even more commendable in my non-morning person opinion. And all his hard work training really paid off. He was well ahead of his conservative time goal, and a minute ahead of his optimistic goal, even with the course being a bit longer than 13.1! His time for the race was 1:44:00, which put him under 8 minute pace for the whole thing.

Me... well I was much slower but my goal from the beginning was more along the lines of just finishing. So as far as that goes, I pretty much rocked it! Ha ha, I was pleased with the fact that I was able to run the whole thing and felt surprisingly great afterwards. My mile time race day was slower than I had hoped it would be when I first signed up and set goals for where I wanted to be by race day. But given the paces I was charting in the training I had done ahead of time I was not surprised. I guess that is just a discrepancy between how much I thought I would be able to improve and where I actually saw results. Once I pushed my initial thoughts away for another race season and looked at how far I was able to come just over one winter, I was still very pleased with my progress. Come race day I was also ahead of the time goal I had set for myself to finish the half marathon.

We both learned a lot during the time leading up to the race and also on race day. I wouldn't be surprised if it is a challenge we attempt again at some point off in the future but not right away. Although we both enjoyed the challenge of the race itself and being able to say it is something we can do, we were surprised by the commitment it necessitated. We knew it would be hard work, that was no doubt. However for me and my slow pace, it became slightly burdensome time allotted into training prior to the race, especially given my current stage of life with a little person.

I hadn't accounted for how many hours would be required to have Dusty or a sitter watch JJ while I got the longs runs done. I often ran with her on the shorter run days, or took her to the child care at my gym for as long as I could stand to run on a treadmill but those 7 mile plus runs really were too far for me to push a stroller, so that meant trying to get it done with Dusty keeping JJ (she got a lot of time ridding in the tractor) or asking someone to hangout with her while we both went for our run. If I tried to leave my run until in the evening when Dusty was off work, they just wouldn't have happened regularly for me. The time away to my self was nice at first and I loved the benefits of the extra running but when the season of "intense" training was over I was more than ready for a break and to just go back to my three milers with the stroller.  I know it is just about priorities, and I will not be shy to admit mine was often for spending time with my family before it was for running.

Despite the fact that my training and races run is far less than most all others in the running world, by midsummer I was starting to feel burnt out. I would have much rather taken the time to splash with JJ in her kiddy pool that stuff her into the stroller for a hot, sweaty run. But much earlier, I had signed up for the Valley Girl sprint triathlon, and convinced my friend Michelle (who ended up doing awesome) to do the same! So I was stuck, sticking out the true training, as opposed to recreational running when I made time, at least until after that race was through. I figured with the half marathon training as a base it wasn't going to be too hard to get into a new mode, adding the biking and swimming.
Race day for Valley girl was SUPER HOT! Again my time was within the goals I had set but not a record on any standard. The swim went about how I envisioned it would, with the plus side of not getting kicked in the neck like I had at the Wunder Woman sprint tri last summer! I was most worried about the bike since it was the area I had put the least time into training and then to my pleasant surprise it went much better than expected. My run, the skill I had clearly had the most time into in the months prior, was really a flop! I didn't see that coming at all, but looking back I can see why. I did all the mileage and then some but really hadn't prepared for the heat! By the time I got to the finish line the temps were teetering on the 100 degree mark. Most of my miles shortly before race day had been logged in the cool of the evening, in the climate controlled gym, or on days where it was just hadn't been that warm yet. Nearly all my training had been in the temps of under 80, so with a heat wave that hit the week of the race, I literally just melted away. But I still finished and that was more than enough given my state of mind and goals set.
Each of these races for Dusty and I, have really been a learning experience that we are thankful for having. Not only about the course itself, or the training needed but about our own abilities and how we can push ourselves when we really try. When it comes down to it, what we gained in confidence and mental strength acquired from each new situation is far greater than any award or medal we could have earned, but we will still sport our half marathon shirts with great pride!!!

*** Update: Incase you have read our other posts and have seen an exciting announcement where we reveled we are expecting baby #2... Let me save you the math! YES, I was already pregnant when participating in the sprint tri! It was still very early, only a few weeks into the pregnancy so I didn't know yet. I don't think it drastically changed how my race overall would have gone but I do wonder if it played a small part in why I pretty much blew-up in the run portion. Either way, I think it is safe to say I wont be running in any half marathons spring 2015!

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