Gone With the Wind – The OC Island to Island 1/2 Marathon Recap!

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Monday: 2500m row, rope pull ups, deadlifts

Tuesday: 4m easy 9:40/pace

It’s been four days and i’m still unsure how I feel about the Island to Island half marathon. Sometimes i’m super happy with the outcome, other moments i’m incredibly confused and disappointed. Part of me hated this race but at the same time i PR’d a super difficult situation and would probably have loved the course on a different day. I’m sure by the end of the post i’ll have figured it out. Bear with me, I’m about to talk too much.

Friday afternoon Cameron, LE and I headed to Ocean City, settled in, grabbed my bib at the Expo and headed to the ocean for LE’s first visit. She was super adorable and treated the sand like snow. She tasted it, pushed her face in it, scrambled around the ground and dug her paws in.

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For dinner we ate at BJ’s On The Water. I ordered the blackened Salmon & a baked potato. It was simple and tasty!

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Leading up to race day i was worried about a couple things. #1- the weather was forecasted on and off for rain & 10+ mph wind. I could deal with rain, but running fast with a headwind is tough. #2 I didn’t want to say this, but i think it’s important–I started my period and was dealing with some extreme fatigue, lower back and leg pain. Ladies, i know you get me. Gentlemen i’m glad you don’t ever have to deal with it.

4:30am, race day morning came quickly. I sunscreened and body glided up. Ate my usual breakfast: a Honey Stinger Waffle, banana and pb, water with Nuun and a coffee to go. When I stepped outside i immediately heard the HOWLING wind and ocean. Let’s just say it was the loudest 5AM has ever sounded. Cameron drove me up to the shuttles for our point to point race (yes he is the best husband). There were sets of busses departing to the start line at 5:15, 5:45 & 6:15am. I was on the 5:45 bus which should have allowed an hour before the start of the race for any pre-race things to do.

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I sat on the bus with a a girl named Caitlyn. We talked about running, traveling and our pups while passing the excruciatingly long time we sat on the bus. 40 minutes, not moving. All the extra time I had set aside for a warm up mile, stretches, bathroom, was gone. The bus didn’t leave until 6:28 and when we arrived at the starting area I checked my bag and had to pee in the open behind a sand dune because the port-a-potty lines were out of control. And again, I had no warm up or time to do anything but get to the front of the start line. I don’t know if it’s just my luck, but i can’t get a warm up in to save my life!

I shook off all the negative thoughts, Taylor Swift style and laughed about peeing in public, started my watch and before I had time to think, the race started!

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The girl in the pink arm sleeves above is the one I choose to follow. Her pace was right on target and she looked strong and relaxed. The other two women in the picture were always nearby as well. We were all fighting for the 3rd position almost the entire race.

I’m very thankful I spent time developing the mental rigor to fight and keep pushing when all the body wants is to stop. This by far, was the most difficult race i have done. I remember distinctly looking down at my watch 3.5 miles in and realizing the wind was NOT going to let up.

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We experienced mostly gusts. We ran NE into the headwind, in a straight line, on an open road for 13 miles. I had to work my ass off to maintain a 7:15-ish pace. I accepted that running in wind like this was going to slow pace a bit and all I could do is run based on effort. I tried to mimic a 6:50 effort as best as I could.

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mile 1

All the mantras I had practiced with got thrown out the window. I didn’t feel like a brave dog, I didn’t feel like a machine. I didn’t feel fast, but i felt tough. I changed the mantra mid-race to “work for it, earn it, fight!” Also we listened to a podcast earlier in the day about taking risks and the dude said, “Mother nature ain’t shit! Come at me!” Again, a funny mantra that fit the situation and calmed me down.

There was a quick mile around 6 that turned into a neighborhood for a loop where the wind was almost non existent. I checked my watch, i was hitting that 6:50/pace I so desperately had trained for, but the moment I turned back on the highway and into Hell’s Wind Tunnel, my pace slowed right back down to the 7:15s. One thing helping me not throw in the towel, was realizing my effort was reflecting the training, not the numbers on my watch. I reminded myself periodically that my effort was a sub 1:30 and I could still PR if i didn’t give up.

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I swear to you the wind progressively got worse the further north we ran. My ipod was useless. I couldn’t hear the music well because the wind was so loud. I wasn’t paying attention to music anyway with all the internal pep talking. This half felt like the last 6 miles of a marathon. My body wanted to stop, i hurt, my legs felt like lead. I had never wanted a race to end this badly. I hate thinking like that, but I just wasn’t having as much fun as I wanted.

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Just when I thought I couldn’t keep going, we were at mile 12, back on the boardwalk of Ocean City where the shuttles picked us up earlier that morning. Before I even tried looking, I spotted Cameron and LE! I needed that so bad! I slowed down a second to say hi and took off to finish the race with a small boost. Half mile later was the turn around, and for the first time the ENTIRE RACE the wind was at my back.

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don’t mind my lovely form, i would have hurled myself over the finish if it meant i could stop running.

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The picture above really says it all. I was so relieved it was over, so happy I PR’d and so ready to see my family.

I know a lot of this post seems to be a complaint. I hate that about running sometimes. I ran a great race for the conditions. I talked myself into NOT quitting for 10 miles. I’m proud this didn’t come easy. There will never be perfect weather or race conditions or warm ups (Cameron so lovingly reminded me). But what can be perfected is the ability and drive to try and do my best on the given day. Gratitude, played a big part in this race.

I finished in 1:35:36 official. Here are the splits!

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We hung out in the finishers tent and waited for the awards ceremony. Cameron thought i would have at least got an age group award and he was right!

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yes my lips are purple. i was freezing!

And finally the rewarding meal after the race! I had crepes (sausage and pancake crepe) and potatoes with tons of coffee at the Bayside Skillet.

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Here’s the Good, the Bad and the Otherwise!

The Bad

-Weather. Wind is my LEAST favorite element to run in. I conquered it. Mother Nature ain’t shit! (wait, should this go in “The Good” column?)

-Warm Ups. This was actually out of my control.

-Period that lead to fatigue & lower back pain. Again, not in my control.

-Accidentally drank Gatorade. Grabbed the wrong cup and almost puked it up. Seriously don’t do anything new on race day.

The Good

-I didn’t stop other than water stations. I wanted to stop…Oh i wanted to stop, but i knew if i started walking it was going to be harder to continue.

-I placed 4th overall female and 1st in my age group!

-I PR’d by 31 seconds!

-This was my first complete sub 8 half marathon (all my miles were under 7:30/pace!)

-When I crossed the finish line, Maria (girl in the pink arm sleeves) gave me a huge hug and congratulated me. She finished 3rd! Super nice girl. Then I talked to the dude in the orange shirt and long hair–he said i cruised past him on the bridge and looked really strong. I told him I thought he looked great, which was why i was running behind him. Basically runners are awesome and I love the support! There were tons of high fives and congrats at the end of this race!

-My friend, Emmeline sent me a text the night before the race. She knew all the stuff I was dealing with and she told me there’s nothing I can do physically, but not to let it drag me down mentally too. Thank you Emmeline. You were my secret coach during the race.

-Having Cameron and LE there was my favorite. Cameron held her up at one point and just yelled “I didn’t make a sign!”

All the good stuff definitely outweighs the bad. As usual getting it all out on paper computer sorts all my thoughts out. Thanks for hanging if you made it this far!

Last Week

Monday: 7m combo tempo (2m warm up, 2 x 1m @ 6:11/pace, 2 x 400s @ 5:56/pace, 2m cool down)

Tuesday: 20min shoulders/core

Wednesday: 5m easy 9:41/pace

Thursday: 4m easy

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 13.1m Ocean City Island to Island 1/2 marathon 1:35:36 7:15/pace

Sunday: Rest

Total Miles: 29 

Anyone else race this weekend? How did it go?

 

Author: She's Going the Distance

Runner!

24 thoughts on “Gone With the Wind – The OC Island to Island 1/2 Marathon Recap!

  1. You really didn’t ramble or talk too much – nor was it a ‘complaint’! It was a great (and not so great) story! Love getting the whole picture behind the final Instagram!

    First off, congratulation on the PR!

    So I will ramble a bit:
    – Family – my wife came to watch me finish a marathon just a few days after shredding all three ligaments in her ankle. I told her to stay home, but she had one boy drive and both help her get to the street-side and brought a chair! Family is everything … and they help us in so many amazing ways! So great that Cameron and LE were there for you!
    – Mother Nature – my most challenging marathon was the trail marathon in the ‘grand canyon of Pennsylvania’ … which aside from 6000 ft of elevation, featured torrential rains, driving winds and flowing mud. There was a section where we had some decent tree cover interspersed with the driving rains, and I was thinking like Rocky against Mr T “you ain’t so bad … is that all you got? Ain’t so bad!”
    – “Other” Mother Nature – all I can say is UGH. Yeah, that is one thing I definitely sympathize with women having to deal with – and it seems to have a wonderful habit of arriving at JUST the right time! It became a running joke that Lisa would get her period every time we went on vacation. Every. Single. Time. I would really say that in the 25 years we’ve been together that there have been ❤ times it has not made an appearance (and 2 of those are thanks to the other fun thing for women as they get older)!

    Most importantly – amazing job, so great that you hit that PR – you trained incredibly well, ran smart by focusing on EFFORT rather than raw pacing – you would have chewed yourself up going for the faster pace and ended up in a sorry state!

    • aww! that’s such a great story about your wife coming to your marathon, so sweet, and i’m sure you appreciated her being there. AIN’T SO BAD!! Love it!!! Exactly my thoughts. And this is the first time during any race i had to run on my period. I’ve been lucky so far i guess. haha. Thanks for all the support Michael!

  2. Congrats on the PR and for running well in tough conditions. I ran the NJ marathon on Sunday in similar conditions (cold wind, nonstop rain) and it was anything but fun. I can relate to your ambivalence about the race. I sometimes feel proud that I PR’d on a tough day, and other times disappointed that I didn’t run to my potential. Funny that you mention Aunt Flo making an appearance for your race. I was in the same boat for my marathon and it was no bueno. I felt bloated and “off” the entire time. Well, can’t control the weather but I like your mental toughness! 🙂 Congrats again.

    • Congrats on your marathon!! I was so on the fence about writing this post the way i did, but i figured i needed to keep it as honest and real as possible. I knew i wasn’t the only one with those back and forth feelings of pride and disappointment. Seriously, i’m so sorry you had to deal with all those elements!

  3. Congrats on a really tough race. It was brutal out there. I was hanging out around mile 8 waiting for my friend and was almost positive it was you but then second guessed myself so I didn’t yell your name. That wind was miserable though so you should be proud of yourself for PRing. I like that you focused on how your effort reflective of your training even if the numbers weren’t. That sub 1:30 is out there!

  4. Wow, you did really great considering what you were working against! I hate running in the wind too. That sounds brutal! And I have been lucky to not get my period for a race yet but I know how awful I feel that first day and usually its a struggle even to go on an easy run! I know you are going to get that 1:30 soon- you definitely put in an amazing effort in this race! Congrats! Oh and awesome that you got 1st in your AG!!

    • Thanks Lisa. I have ran like 20 races and never once had it been on the first days of my period! i don’t know how that happened, i guess it was bound to happen. Thank you for all the kind words! I’m ready for a do-over already! hahah

  5. Awesome job in difficult conditions! You shoulda got some thrashers fries at the end! I raced Saturday and Sunday and working on a report. But I’m tired.

  6. I ran the OC half, too! I remember seeing you for a brief moment at the start but then you were quickly out of my sight! You looked really strong; great job, especially with the windy conditions!!

  7. Congratulations – you did great despite the conditions (environmental, etc) and this post is reminding me to work on my mental strength! Thanks so much for being candid about your experiences. “Holding up LE for lack of a sign” is definitely going to keep me grinning all day long!

  8. I didn’t think you complained too much!! CONGRATS ON A GREAT RACE! You PR’d! You were 4th overall! You made Mother Nature your bitch!!!!!! That is AMAZING! But for real – wind is THE WORST. You handled it well. I thought your splits looked really consistent. Everything was between 7:05-7:25. Really well paced race. NICE JOB!

    I love when you meet cool people on a course that you duke it out with and then can high five each other at the end. SO FUN.

    Now that the race is over, I can tell you this. One of my friends ran that race last year and HATED IT. I guess they screwed up the bussing situation and the pacers were all over the place (I don’t even know if they had pacers this year, but they did last year). I think she also said the course was long, but that could also be that she was weaving around people because I know she does that. But my point is – I am really glad you had a better experience, save for the wind.

    Those crepes though. Yes please.

    • I was pleased with the pacing. I wanted to go faster, but i knew i’d burn out if i tried. They had pacers this year, but i’m not sure how they all did (they started at 1:45 pacing) . And yeah not sure i’d run this one again, it was a good experience but running along the coast into wind wasn’t my idea of a fun race. Keep me updated on what other races you plan on doing this fall. I’d love to run in a new state 😉

  9. Congratulations on your PR AND 1st place in your age group! Wind, period, fatigue… I think you did great! Also love how you’ve adjusted your mantras! 😀 xoxo

    How Running Makes Us Happy, But Happiness Makes Us Better Runners: https://candiesandcrunches.com/2016/05/04/how-running-makes-us-happy-but-happiness-makes-us-better-runners/

  10. Congrats on the PR and age group win! Not bad for a day’s run. I’m extra impressed because running into wind is the worst running weather bar none. And keeping those consistent splits in those conditions tells me that you have even faster times in you. PS Did LE get a hair cut?

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  12. Pingback: 2016, 2017, 20:09, One of these things is not like the other ;) |

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