As most of you know. I started coaching two months ago. I knew that I would enjoy it, but I didn’t know how much I would absolutely adore it. I get so excited to put together the training plans for each athlete and I get goosebumps thinking of how much progress they’ll make in their upcoming season. I cheer when I see they nailed their important training sessions, and feel their sadness and frustration when things don’t go as they hoped. I love feeling like Wikipedia for all their training questions, and am always amused by all the emails and texts I get from them. I’ve got an AMAZING crew of athletes (if you’re reading, you guys rock!) even if I do call them sissies once in awhile.
So today’s post comes from one of my athletes Dana. She came to me with a few half marathons and marathon under her belt but wanted to take her training up to the next level and work on getting faster. Although her main race is in the spring, she told me that she really wanted to PR her half marathon in November—which was about 6 weeks away from the start of her training. No pressure, right? Well, Ms. Dana has been working her little butt off, diligently following the plan (and telling her calf to SHUT UP), and it paid off with a big PR! I’m so proud of her for getting a PR so early in the season that I wanted to highlight her race report. Something tells me you’ll be reading a lot of my athletes race reports this year, since I expect big PRs from all of them (feel the pressure, the rest of you?)!
Battleship Half Race Report
Well this is my first race recap on my new blog! Woohoo! The Battleship Half is a great race. If you are from Wilmington you would call it a hilly race but it is fairly flat which most of this town is. The beginning and end feature two different bridges which consist of of those uphill battles and grates that can take you out, if you are not careful.
This is my first race having a coach. I am sooooo excited to have one! Usually I haphazardly train and don’t get the results I want in a race. Or I give up before the race even comes around because I think I am not going to get the results I want. My coach (Laura) sets a schedule, gives advice and is sweet at what she does too. This is definitely going to motivate me to stick with it! I am looking forward to the 2014 season of races with her!
Now for this race, The Battleship Half Marathon. I started the morning with a good head start and was dropped off to pick up a trolley around 7am. By the time got over the bridge and to the battle ship I had 45 min left to kill. It was perfect running weather but a little to cold to just be standing around. All I wore was what I was gonna race in (long tights and a tank)and just stood in the sun to stay warm.
I had stayed at a friend’s place the night before because it was closer to the race start. Trying to not wake anyone in the am, except for my ride, made me forget my gels and the headband I was going to wear. Even though I was woke up once in the middle of the night, I think sleep was good and the extra hour definitely helped with time going back.
The walkers started at 7:00am and they corralled the runners and got us started promptly at 8. I started somewhere in the middle of the pack where I overheard a man say it was best to stay to the left at the beginning because it gets really congested on the first bridge. I am so glad I heard it because it was the truth.
The races starts at the Battleship which is a really cool site. The first almost mile is tall grass that is the entry to get to battleship which leads up to the first bridge. As always that first mile is slow but I stayed to the left and started pass people. My next 3 miles were super fast (a little too fast actually). I was running a 830-9 min pace, the excitement must of been getting to me!
For some reason I was under the impression that water stops were supposed to be every mile. They were actually every 2 miles. So I skipped the first one not knowing and by the time mile 4 rolled around I was really thirsty. I was still feeling good though. Love this course which runs along a popular lake/park area in town. It is very pretty and easy to forget you are out running 13 miles. So those miles went by fast although technically at a slower speed but in my mind fast!
It was when we left the park that it started to slow down both mentally and physically(probably about where my gel I forgot would of kicked in for me). We turned out of park onto a small sidewalk next to a busy street. This was weird and inconvenient and lasted about three quarters of a mile. Just after that, right around mile 10, I saw a familiar face from earlier in the race come up and overtake me. Very tall and wearing orange I couldn’t forget the man who was talking to his buddy just after mile 2 about twisting and possibly spraining his ankle. No doubt about it he had a softball size swelling on the side of his ankle. There he was running my pace! Anger and motivation all at the same time came over me. I may have been walking a little at this point. Definitely had to pick it up! I come to find out after the race that the tall man in orange with the sprained ankle is my manicurists fiance who is a Marine! So now I don’t feel as bad that he beat me by 2 min (he probably would of crushed me by 45 min if it weren’t for the injury).
The end of the race was approaching and I was out of steam. There was one more hill to tackle to get back onto the bridge. In my mind I wasn’t going to be able to make it. Less then 2 miles to go and I dedicate them to the entire UNCW cheerleading squad!! That is right as we rounded the corner to climb the hill and there they were, my saviors! Yelling, screaming, cheering and doing what they do best, pepping me up! It was a great wave of support for a race that wasn’t well supported all around.
The home stretch had a lot of people lining it and was topped off by these guys giving out medals.
How cool is that!!! Such an honor! Here is the sweet medal you get!
I finished with my best time so far for a half marathon 2:09:09 With that kind of results I excited for my shift in training. I am getting serious about wanting to really do this. I trained a lot differently then before. I got all my long runs in before the race and was suprised with even doing a 12 miler. I actually had some calf issues during training that held me back a lot. I am looking forward to an awesome year! Hope you are just as excited to hear about it!! Here are the 2 good pics the race photographers got of me.
WAY TO GO DANA! WOOOOHOOOOO!