Thank you all so much for your sweet comments about my first half marathon! It’s kind of hard to believe that I ran 13.1 miles two days ago. Although, I believe it every time I stand up and my legs feel sore ;)
It’s weird being done with something that I spent so much time and energy preparing for! Does anyone else feel like that after a race? It’s like I’m not sure what to do with myself now — I’ve been training continuously for races since late January!
I was really happy with my training plan for this race and the fact that with the exception of my sore calf, I was able to stay injury free!
Long time readers will remember that I had a lot of knee trouble while training for the Army Ten Miler in the fall. If you just started reading my blog you might think I’ve always been doing long races, but the Army Ten Miler in October was actually my first “long” race (I’d only done 5 milers and 5k’s before it):
About a month before the race, I started having dull pain in the back of my right knee, radiating up towards my hip. I invested in a knee sleeve, which helped that problem, but then two weeks before the race I got a really sharp pain in the FRONT of my right knee during a long run, to the point where I had to stop running immediately. I rested the knee, did lots of icing, and thankfully was still able to finish the race strong in 1:30:01 (9:00 pace) in spite of my knee not feeling its best. I was upset, though, that after all my training I wasn’t feeling my best on race day. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting an injury right before a race you’ve spent months training for.
I decided to spend the winter focusing on strengthening my legs. With the exception of a 10k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, I simmered on the running and spent more time doing squats, lunges, and leg weight machines, in addition to upper body weights.
I started gradually training for the Army Ten Miler when I moved back from Prague last summer, and I had a feeling my training issues came from neglecting strength training pretty much the whole 9 months I was overseas. Yikes.
Come late January, I was feeling good and itching to do another race. My friend Ashley and I decided to sign up and train for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in April. I made us a 2.5 month training plan similar to that we’d followed in the fall, but made sure to include more strength training. I also decided to ice my knees and legs after every single run, not just long runs.
The strength training, stretching, and icing seriously paid off. Not only was I able to train injury free throughout the spring, but I got faster, too. In a St. Patrick’s Day 8k training race, Ashley and I finished the 5 miles in 40:50 for an average pace of 8:13:
And at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in April, we blew our Army Ten Miler time out of the water, finishing in 1:28:27, for an average pace of 8:51.
We decided it was time to sign up for a half marathon… and the rest is history. :)
So, where do I go from here? I definitely want to do another half marathon in the future and try to improve my time. I had the foundation for a great race — I had trained well and I had the perfect night-before-a-race meal courtesy of my college BFF Turner (thanks again, you rock!):
… but the heat just completely threw me off my game. I’m really proud of my time, but given our training speeds and my previous race paces, I know I had it in me to finish in under 2 hours if the weather hadn’t been so extreme! I’m thinking fall for my next half marathon… somewhere cold ;)
But for now… I’m just excited to take a little breather from training!
Do you have any training/race reflections to share? Any injuries you’ve been able to overcome?