You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Race Report for Freedom's Run- photos added

Pre Race:
Woke up at 4:30 so I could eat and drink, and then digest before the race. 2 rice cakes w/ peanutbutter and about a 1/3 of a glass of Nathan Catalyst, and then decided to repack my bag into another bag. I don't know why but I did.

Headed off into the dark, arrived just before 7 and walked about a half a mile to the starting area which was already buzzing with activity. At some point I put my cell phone in the pocket of my throw away jacket.  I planned to wear my fuel belt and bought an additional 'pouch' to attach to my belt to take all my extra junk (have you seen how small the Fuel Belt pouches are???). I had already turned in my bag to bag check but started thinking about how I didn't want to schlep this extra stuff for 13.1 miles so I began to reevaluate my junk. 

In the end, I took the extra pouch off and decided to stuff 2 Gu packs and 2 TP wipies (in case I had to go and there was no paper in the potties) into the Fuel Belt pouch and carry Jake's camera, stuffing another Gu pack in the case. So no pouch for the camera and just in case Gu packs. And the nice bag check guys dug out my bag so I could put my excess stuff in it.

I met a really nice woman in her late 50's (she told me so) and chatted with her a bit. She used to be a marathoner and decided to do this race on a whim. Also, during this time I made about 42 trips to the porta potties 'just in case' and then they started calling us to line up. I put my hand in my jacket pocket (you know, the jacket I was going to throw away??) and felt my cell phone. Whoopsie! I took off for bag check and the very nice volunteer dug through the boxes AGAIN to find my bag so I could toss it in. Whew!

Then I remembered that I forgot to put Body Glide on my neck (shirt seam at the neckline), underarms and thighs and started beating myself up for not having my head in the game.

I was standing there pondering the universe when all of a sudden I heard someone yell "GO!" and off we went. It was a gun start with chip finish - which I really don't like because it always takes me a while to cross the start because I'm lined up towards the back like I should be ('cause I'm slow).

I wanted to stay in the 11 m/m range for most of the race and then pick it up at mile 10. I would be reminded that a man plans his course but God orders his footsteps. Mentally, I had broken the race into 4 5K's. The first 3 miles were relatively flat, save one section of a steep downhill from the bridge to the tow path. 2 5Ks through the battlefield (insanely hilly) and then 5K from roughly Sharpsburg to the finish (a couple of hills but mostly downhill).

I actually did pretty well staying on target except for 4 miles (4, 7, 8, & 12).

Miles 1-3:
Tossed the jacket near a dorm door and took off. The weather couldn't have been more AMAZING and the scenery more beautiful. It was a little chilly and just a perfect day to run! I had cut the toes off a pair of Jake's socks and used them as arm warmers until I warmed up. I kept a pretty even pace the first 3 miles and then tossed the arm warmer socks next to some potties (Jake was quite offended they didn't receive a more appropriate resting place). Enjoyed a caffeinated Gu during this time since I didn't have any coffee this morning.

Miles 4-6:
Here we begin the hills. Sawyers Mill Rd was quite the adventure. Race fans/family(??) decided to drive along with us. No joke! We're huffing and puffing up these crazy hills on a narrow country road only to hear someone yell "Car!" so we could move over. Invariably it was an out of state plate filled with people cheering. Um, thanks, I think? A woman was running next to me as a truck started to pass us. She must have not been paying attention because she screamed and jumped. The truck was pulling a trailer with 3 Llamas in it. We almost got creamed by a llama trailer! Wild!

Miles 7-9:
Things started getting fuzzy here. I felt great, really great the first 6 and had to work at not speeding up. So glad I had that restraint or I would have died even more in the later miles. Into the battlefield we go, on a nice freshly paved road full of hills. I CAN do this!  I already mentally 'allowed' myself to walk up the steeper hills so I was fine with taking walk breaks and used them to drink and I thought take pictures. Turns out I had the camera in video mode so none of them turned out! So sad about this because it was truly beautiful through the battlefield. Once the race photos are published, I'll snag some (giving credit, of course).

I made it through the back portion of the battlefield, across Rt 34 and then started up the most insane hill (I think around mile 7 on the chart but I don't remember for sure). And there was a photographer at the TOP. I did manage to smile only because I had walked up the 2nd half of the hill. I ate another GU shortly after. They had a great water stop at this point. They were playing the theme from Rocky and the volunteers were wearing funny hats. It was a nice pick me up on a course that thus far lacked any real crowd support.

Mile 8ish I got the most intense pain in my side. Like rip my guts out and kill me pain. I walked a little, drank a little, ran a little but I was in serious pain. Not throwup or GI issues, but the muscles hurt more than I could imagine possible - it actually still hurts when I laugh or breath deep so I don't know what I did.  I gripped my side in a death grip and ran (with the most lovely look on my face I'm sure) and looked up to see a race photographer with a video camera pointed at me. Thanks pal!

As if that wasn't enough, my calves pretty much decided they were NOT running up any more hills.  I felt (and looked?) like I was a hobbling 100 y/o woman. I did a lot of run/walk from there until mile 11.

Miles 11-13.1:
Mostly downhill. Thank you, Lord, for small mercies! Any uphill still made my calves scream at me so I took walk breaks during this stretch, even in the last mile - which I hated, but I felt like I was crawling at this point.

We had to run past the stadium end zone, then around the side to the other end where we entered the field and finished on the 50 yard line. Once I hit that last corner something took off in me and I sprinted to the finish- well, at least it felt like a sprint. I could hear my high school track coach yelling 'elbows!' 'knees!' And I finished stronger than I think I have for any race I've done.

Without a doubt, I left it all on the course. My Garmin time (which I didn't stop until I had my medal and was walking to the water table) was 2:26:40. My official time was 2:27:20.  Either way, it's a PR on one tough course so I'll happily take it!

Post race:

I hobbled up the ridiculously steep hill to the celebration area and hung out at our club tent for a few minutes. Then I decided I should have a shower since I was caked in salt so I hobbled over to the wellness center - a half mile or so away. On my way, I spotted my throw away jacket so I picked it up. Inside the shower room, I hung it on a peg....where I left it and didn't realize it until I was about a quarter mile away!

Freedom's Run is a great race. It was well organized - 4 distances in one morning! - and the course really is beautiful. But you will EARN your medal, no doubt. 

And the MEDAL! How could I forget!  The full marathoners got a larger version of the half medal. At first glance I thought it was just a cheesy little trinket. But then I looked at it and realized it's HAND CRAFTED! It's the armory that abolitionist John Brown and his men tried to take over during the Civil War. So Cool!

Great race on a gorgeous day! Now if I could just walk like a normal person...

To see lots more and better quality photos, check out Dana's blog here.
*The photos that say "proof" across them are from the talented folks at Print Room


The Green Girl said...

Wow. Congratulations on a PR despite all your setbacks!

I love love love that the medal has so much historical significance.

Jen said...

Great job... and I am sorry about the pain issues... ever figure out what hapened?

*~* *~* Tracy said...

Jen, the calves I guess were just the hills. Even with the hills I run around my house, I don't think I was completely prepared for the number and steepness of the hills on the course. The elevation chart doesn't really do them justice (in my mind!). :)

I don't know if it's a matter of form, fitness or nutrition though so I'll have to do some reading.

My stomach is rarely on speaking terms with me, but weird muscle pain in my side is new so I don't know what happened. I plan to take it easy for a few days so hopefully it recovers as my legs do.

chris mcpeake said...

Congrats. Great race report

abbi said...

Great report and great race! You did amazing to get a PR on that course. The hills were hard, whichever way you had to run them! I love the medal too...great job! Maybe I'll be able to see you at some other event in the area sometime soon!

abbi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
*~* *~* Tracy said...

Thanks Chris! I looked at your feet pictures btw. Great job on your 100 miler!

Abbi, I would love to try to get together at another race. I'm not doing another half until next year but I may do the inaugural Frederick 10 miler in November. (I think it's in Nov)

Julie @ "Hotlegs Runner" said...

I think that's a cool medal! And must never leave the GU. =)

new follower here =)

Molly said...

Nice job with the PR, and that downhill at the end sounded lovely!

cool medal too....congrats!


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