Archive for birmingham half-marathon

reflections, stats, & the Olympic Rings

Posted in motivation, photos, quotes, races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by afuntanilla

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.”–unknown

For the 2nd race in a row, I was surprised with my finish time. As I mentioned in last post, the Birmingham Half-Marathon finish time of 2:01:55 was my 2nd best ever. Only time I was faster was by 12 seconds in 1999, in my first 1st Half-Marathon. Why was I surprised by my result. Well, my longest run since my last marathon in October was only 9 miles. I took it easy after the SF Marathon; resting in November and slowly getting miles in during December. I cranked it up in January & into February. Still, having my longest run only be 9 miles gave me room to manage expectations. Honestly, if I had finished anywhere under 2:05, I was gonna be happy. So, the question begs to be asked; why? what do i attribute it to?

For one, I think I am a smarter runner. I think I know my body well enough to tune in and pay attention to how it feels and then go with it. I think I am better at knowing how much I can push and for how long. Secondly, i believe my overall fitness is better. I’ve been doing a good amount of strength training and I do feel stronger, more fit. I guess I’ve been running races steadily for just over 10 years and I guess that’s a good amount of time to get to know your body and especially know it during a race environment. There are some days when you have it and definitely days when you don’t and I have been on both sides and no doubt, i will be on them time and time again.

Racing is fun. Not that I’m actually racing against anyone except myself and the clock. But, it’s the test. For weeks, for months, you train. You get out the door when you don’t want to. You run in the freezing cold when you’d rather sleep in. You get on the treadmill when you are dog-ass tired. Race day is when I feel free. I feel self-inflicted pressure, but I also feel free. Not sure if that makes sense, but it does to me. It’s like play. Race day is play day. I sure am looking forward to my next play day; March 21st. LA Marathon. I will be challenged, for sure.

The only stat I really have from my half-marathon is this:

Finished #60 out of 289 women aged 35-39. I’m happy with this. It’s better than last year. Moving up. yay.

My 1st run this morning was 10.5 miles. I ran from my house, zig-zag through Ansley, Midtown & Downtown and underneath the Olympic Rings near the Atlanta Braves baseball stadium. If you recall, the Olympics were in Atlanta in 1996. I was not a resident then, but I did make my first trip here 2 months before the games began. The city was buzzing. It was very exciting to see and feel the energy of the people. As I ran under the rings I remembered that when I was a little girl, I dreamt of going to the Olympics as a sprinter. It was really fun to have that dream.

I will never stand on an Olympic podium. And, that is ok. When I run, and when I race, and when i cross that finish line that sometimes seems to take forever, a little bit of an Olympian lives in me. And it lives in you too. Believe in yourself and all that you want to do, in all that you want to accomplish. Stay dedicated. Stay determined. Be your own hero. Make it happen.

Cheers!

Feb 21: 1st run=10.5 miles – outside, 2nd run = 2.5 miles treadmill

Feb 20: 3.0 miles outside

Feb 18: 3.5 miles treadmill

Feb 17: 3.67 miles outside

Roll Tide, Baby

Posted in quotes, races, road, travel with tags , , , , , , , on February 16, 2010 by afuntanilla

Such a pleasure driving my new wheels to Birmingham! wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee

“Everyone in life is looking for a certain rush. Racing is where I get mine” -John Trautman

Oh, uh..ok..this is a RACE REPORT!! Here I go…

I made the 2 hour-ish drive to b’ham Saturday afternoon. Had zero trouble on the roads after the serious snow we had in atlanta on Friday. The remnants made the drive all the more pretty. Upon arrival, went straight to the expo and got my race stuff; BIB# 2432, race tag/chip thing, a free race cap and picked up a couple more gels. I drove around a bit afterwards and checked out some of the course…was same course as last year. Checked into my hotel and then went to the local Starbucks for some writing/reading time. Had a very strange evening trying to find dinner but won’t even go into that story.

Race morning. Finally. I felt like my body really needed to run. I was so glad the day was finally here and I could go face the challenge. Temps were about 35 degrees, which is same as atlanta has been. I had on pants and a fleece top so i thought i might get warm, but i never did. My warm-up was hurrying to starting line. I made it with about 3 minutes to spare so i did a little stretching and we were off. I was in such a rush to leave hotel room that i forgot my iPod. Oh well. Might be nice to not have it, I thought. So, no iPOD and no water bottle; man, i felt NAKED. and FREE.

The race starts in downtown birmingham and the first 6 miles takes you on a course thru those streets. By mile 2 I could feel my body settle in and I had a feeling i might have a good day. I kept checking my Garmin watch for my mile splits and at mile 6, i was at 54:00 = 9:00/min/mile pace. I was psyched and I knew If i could keep it up i could have a good finish time. All I really wanted to do was be better than my results here in the past, which were 2:04, and 2:03. First 6 miles are nearly all completely flat. The next 7.1 have hills, so i wasn’t sure. I had to be careful not to run too fast and conk out, but also not be too conservative. I just kept focusing on one mile at a time and watching my splits. By mile 10, I was at 1:32 and I knew I was gonna finish well. only 3.1 more miles to go. I had one more hill and then it was flat home free. I was pushing, for sure. My right groin was starting to hurt & the left IT band area too. But, I just had to focus. I was so close. I’m not sure if it was because I had no music in my ears or what, but I was super focused. Felt awesome. I took my last swig of water at the last water stop/mile 12 and headed home. They called out my name as I came in and I crossed the finish line. THRILLED.

2:01:55

Best finish in a half-marathon distance since my very FIRST one in 1999. Who says you don’t get better with age? I missed a PR by 12 seconds. Crazy. So thrilled. On my way to breaking the 2 hour beast!

This has been one of my favorite races to do. 4 times now I have run. For the first time, however, the race t-shirt is not very good. oh well. a small concession, huh?! Another cool medal and another BIB # to add to the pile. What is a girl to do with all these BIB #’s? NOT THROWING THEM AWAY!

It’s always worth repeating; so thankful for my body. so appreciative. feeling strong and capable!

Thank you to the readers who give me so much support. Truly appreciate it.

What’s next?

running on veggies

Posted in races, road with tags , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2010 by afuntanilla

Sitting here on Sunday morning, drinking some Peets out of the only coffee mug I have ever gotten for running a race; the Woodminster X-Country Race in Oakland Hills back in 2002. Whew! That was a tough 9 mile trail race…but fun! And hell, I got a mug out of it soI am happy! Race organizers ought to think more about other things besides tee shirts, although if i had a mug for every race i’ve done, i would be in a world of hurt for cabinet space!

I did sign up for my first race of 2010. I will be running the Birmingham Half-Marathon on February 14th. Me and my love, together again. Coudn’t be happier.

Since the beginning of the year, I have been having a veggie eating experience. I could say I’m a vegetarian, but i’m not. I’m simply just going without meat for a while. The decision to do so is mostly rooted in the fact that I just don’t eat enough vegetables on a consistent basis and I feel my body really needs them. Morally, ethically, whatever…i’m cool with eating meat, but I feel that unless I go strictly veggie, for at least a while, until I get in some sort of groove, I would falter in providing myself with important nutrients etc…

It’s been interesting thus far. I few things i have noticed; it’s cheaper and i am preparing food and eating at home. If you know me, you know that I usually eat out a lot….at least 5 times a week. Obviously, that gets pricey, especially if you add in an occasional cocktail! I am enjoying my new place much more than my previous home, so it’s been a pleasure to prepare meals. My new place is much more cozy and feels more like a home….which probably aides my wanting to stay in more. One of the things I have noticed to the “downside” is that i might not be taking in enough calories. Hasn’t been too much of an issue yet, but as the training ramps up, it will if i don’t adjust. I can’t eat a veggie quesadilla one night and expect to run a good 10 miles the following morning. Won’t work.

I’ve eaten mostly veggie tacos, quesadillas. I even put KALE into the quesadilla. When was the last time I had KALE??? Last night, I made asparagus soup and pesto pasta. Pretty good.

As opposed to the stints of “no-sugar” or “no-alcohol” that I do from time to time, I don’t necessarily feel healthier with all veggies, i just feel like I am getting more of what I need. I don’t feel a huge difference yet, but I trust what’s happening “behind the scenes” in my body. When I go without sugar and alcohol, I feel the difference and i feel cleaner, healthier. It will be interesting to see if I notice anything differently as time goes on.

Been alternating the runs lately with treadmill & outside. Been brutally cold here in Atlanta. The weekend runs were the toughest, but I have to say, it feels refreshing to be outside….and then my cheeks, lips, and nose go numb…ah….hopefully next weekend it will be a tad warmer.

I hope your year has started off well and you are getting ready to kick some ass in all you do!

Here’s some of my latest runs.

Jan 1 4 miles – outside

Jan 2 4.75 miles – outside – 30 degrees

Jan 3 6 miles – treadmill – easy

Jan 6 3.5 miles – treadmill – fast

Jan 7 4.5 miles – treadmill – w/ intermittent incline

Jan 9 4.1 miles – outside 25 degrees

Jan 10 6 miles – outside 17 degrees