About Me

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Austin, Texas, United States
I'll make you laugh, or break my neck trying. This is usually accomplished with daily bouts of swimming, biking and running. A former "chub-a-holic," I got fit and healthy the good old fashioned way and went from a mid-pack athlete to top age group runner and triathlete. I'm a Writer and USAT Level 1 Certified Triathlon Coach. I guess that makes me part Tina Fey and part Jillian Michaels. Visit my coaching site at www.fomotraining.com

Monday, January 26, 2009

3M Half Marathon: Testament to Just Hangin' On!!!

I’m laughing as I look at my mile splits from yesterday’s 3M Half Marathon. Anyone would look at those numbers and say, “What the hell kinda race were you running?!” It is a true depiction of enduring peaks and valleys. Let the schizophrenic race begin!

The Start
It was 5 minutes before the start of the race and I was still in the porta-potty line. At this point, I had let Shawn, Richard and Thon go and hadn’t met up with any of the T3ers I was hoping to pace with during the race.

Fortunately, they held the start of the race for about 10 minutes (I’m sure it had to do with the hundreds of people still in line and not little ‘ol me, but I’m eternally grateful just the same.)

As with any race start, there’s really no clear entrance into a corral so I just forced myself somewhere in the middle of the pack. It wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be, but I was just thankful that I wasn’t running feverishly to catch up with the field with toilet paper stuck to my shoe or anything.

I ran into Lindsey in the crowd…She told me the T3 pace pack was looking for me. Damn… I was looking for them too, but all I really had a clear view of was the pack of people’s butts directly in front of me. Don’t throw a 5’ tall chick in the middle of a pack of thousands and tell her to look for one person. Unless I can recognize shoes, it’s not going to happen. Oh well…we struck up pleasantries before the race and met a new T3 dude behind us. Damn—they’re everywhere these days.

Gun finally goes off and the roar of “Eye of the Tiger” was heard throughout the Gateway Parking Lot. Not sure if it was inspiring or laughter inducing at this point. I waited over 2 minutes to hit the start line and my watch.

The Early Miles
I was that runner that I make fun of…I shot out of the gate like a thoroughbred. Nervous tension, no doubt. Plus, I was hoping to clock a 7:20 for the first mile and until you’ve been running for a while, there’s no way to tell how fast you’re going until you hear the beep of the first mile…BEEP…7:09 --oops!

As I ran by one group of runners in the first mile, I heard them talking about “people like her” (referring to yours truly) who start off fast and run out of gas by mile 2. I wanted so badly to stop and turn around and say something egotistical like, “Wanna Bet?” but I had to stay on pace J This mission didn’t allow for self-defense.

Ran by Alisa, Katy and Vegas who wished me good luck. Of course, Katy told me to chase down those boys!

As usual, the early miles clicked by so fast and before I knew it, I was flying down Mesa and Spicewood Springs and enjoying the wonderful downhill portion before crossing over Mopac and enduring Phase 2 of the race. Saw some friends and heard random “Go Carrie’s” along the course. Breathing hard, but under control at this point. I was near threshold, but felt it was sustainable (at least for a while). Of course, I was also fully aware that I was at Mile 4 of a 13 mile race.

Saw some friends along the course…Tom and Monica (thought about breakfast with them afterwards and wishing I was there at that moment!) Chris informed me that the T3 crew was just up ahead. Finally, I was catching them, even though it wasn’t really necessary to do so. Saw David and Muna who were encouraging as usual.

The Middle Miles

We hit Anderson and the Shoal Creek neighborhoods and I was still feeling strong. My average at that point was a 6:57! Holy Moly—a sub 7:00 min mile average and I’m almost halfway done! Surely I can hold this pace for 6 more miles. Surely my body and mind will hold up. Surely… Why is my right leg numb? I noticed this at the Marine Corps Marathon. My right leg starts to go numb every now and then. It’s as if my quad is dead and I have to consciously tell myself to lift it. On the verge of a cramp? Paralysis? Definitely a different feeling than the left leg, but just keep moving…

Took my 2nd of 3 gels at Mile 6 and grabbed a quick drink. Heard a quick, “Hey Barrett” and glanced to my side to see Tom and Kevin—two of my pace rabbits. “I finally found you,” was about all I could say. Turns out, that would be the extent of our conversation during the race. We were all suffering and expending as much energy to running as we were to just remain focused on the next five miles.
We passed the relay exchange area and I felt a surge of jealousy for those people who were done! Made the turn onto Burnet Road for the long stretch that isn’t nearly as flat as you’d think. I heard Kevin behind me and just tried to keep a steady pace…My watch beeped…7:15…What?! It feels like I’m running a 6:30! A little discouragement crept in…It was getting harder to maintain pace and I could feel a slight cramp coming on from the last gulp of water.

“What are you doing?!” I thought to myself as I pulled over to the side of the road and started walking. I cracked. I was into my 9th mile and hitting the dark side quickly. I must’ve walked for about 10 seconds before I snapped out of it. Kevin had passed during that short span. I remember thinking that I would have so much more fun if I just slowed down and waited for Shawn. At the same time I thought, “You’ve got a PR to beat today. Do it!” And the light flipped and I ran.

I started running again in a bit of a haze…Right leg hurting, ego breaking, breathing all out of sorts…just in time to hit the “hills” of North Loop. This is the most difficult (in my opinion) stretch of the race with a couple of final climbs. Part of me knew this which is why I felt slightly self-defeated. I hit the hills and walked again. “God Damn It, Carrie! You did it again!! You blew up!” (Gotta love my inner voice. She’s so kind sometimes) I seriously thought of sitting on the curb and waving to people as they ran up the hills.

And then, as quickly as I wanted to quit, I wanted to run again. It was as if some little booger kept turning a power switch on and off in my body. I wasn’t that far down and could still conceivably PR if I put together a stellar finish.

Enter Nike Shirt Chick.

Final Miles

With one final power gel ingested at Mile 10, my eyes caught the little black streak. This woman reminded me of, well…me…That is, if I felt strong, powerful and invincible at that moment. She was short and petite, but looked like she could whoop your butt if she had to. I was going to let her try because I needed a good butt whooping for those final miles. I caught her as we turned onto Duval and began the final stretch. We never once acknowledged each other verbally, but we were certainly connected stride for stride. At this point, I’m not even sure if we were competing against each other or running FOR each other. We both needed the support and extra push and we were both using it for all it was worth.

I saw Steph and baby Audrey as I was heaving up the final hill at 42nd Street. More than once, spectators shouted “Go Nike and Ironwoman!” I had my “Dot the M” shirt so I assume she was sporting some Nike apparel. She pulled ahead as we made the final turn for the last mile. I was so grateful and yet so spent. Only one more mile to go…just get past the football stadium. Some crazy second wind had swept me up and I was so thrilled to have caught the wave only for just a few more minutes. My average pace was getting faster and faster, but my body was hurting

Finally, the end was in sight and I could see the Finish Line and Coach Gilbert. I so badly wanted to be done!! Guess what? I clipped Nike Girl in the final meters to finish in a 1:33 flat (according to the official chip time). My garmin said 1:32:54!


As usual, I worked too hard in the beginning and left myself virtually NOTHING at the end...no pride, no energy, no NOTHING. My nervous tension and wanting to catch up to the T3 people certainly caught up to me.

In the end, it was a PR by 1min 10 sec, which is fantastic, but I feel like I worked way too hard for that time and am definitely capable of a smarter faster race (not MUCH faster, but definitely MUCH smarter). Starting a bit slower could’ve alleviated some of the walk breaks that became necessary when I was struggling to umm...live. However, I must give myself some props for battling the demons and not giving up when the evil voices kept getting louder and louder. I don’t know where that final surge came from, but it is testament to endure the peaks and valleys of any race! (and give thanks to chicks in black Nike shirts who look like they might be around the same age as you)

Check out these humorous (and horribly inconsistent) splits:

Mile 1: 7:09
Mile 2: 7:14
Mile 3: 7:00
Mile 4: 6:51 --gotta love the downhills!
Mile 5: 6:48
Mile 6: 6:48
Mile 7:7:07 --uh oh...numbness in leg
Mile 8: 7:07
Mile 9:7:33 --walk break and crack in ego
Mile 10: 7:48 --ego crushed. I want to lay down
Mile 11: 6:45 --enter Nike chick
Mile 12: 6:48
Mile 13: 6:43 --enter finish line


Viv said...

You are so fantastic Caddy! Congrats again girl loved the breakdown! Congrats also to da Mr.

Richard said...

Heh... you said "enter nike chick"...

Seriously, I know you're not thrilled it wasn't 2 seconds faster, but considering the course structure it really wasn't a bad race! And you PR'd! By over a minute! And by keeping it over 7/mile you've left yourself an easy 'next PR' target...

Garry said...

That was a great race. Maybe not a conventional pacing chart, but still a great race! Excellent job!

Spokane Al said...

You are tough and you are fast! Congratulations.

Rural Girl said...

Holy cats! A 70 second PR is awesome!
Fast, Fast. Loved reading your report.

amybee said...

My gosh, Carrie -- great race!

Your pace looks pretty phenomenal to me.

ShirleyPerly said...

Holy Smokes! I think you ran an incredible race despite slowing at miles 9 & 10. You kept it together and finished strong. CONGRATS!!

Borsch said...

HOLY COW! Great race and way to hold on!

I hope those people from the beginning run across your blog and shut their mouths next time.

Again, great job!

ps...love the inner monologue!

Priscilla said...

Great race report! Good job on not giving up :)