Monday, October 19, 2009

Duke City '09 - Longer Version

[Updated with official results]

The Good
1) From strictly a numbers perspective, I'm showing improvement year on year on this course.

2007 - 02:36:58
2008 - 02:29:07
2009 - 02:25:14 (45 of 78 F40-44, 403 of 641 females, 885 of 1199 finishers, age grade 49% which makes me a mid-pack runner. wow. when did that happen?)

2) Husband signed up for the race and ran with me. He finished about 10ft in front of me because I just couldn't kick it at the end, but otherwise he was pretty much right there with me the entire way. Here is one of the pictures that my friend took at about the 7 mile mark. Husband is just a few steps ahead to my left. [You should recognize me from what I'm wearing based on your suggestions before the race.]

3) I have awesome running friends (that includes you all!) and a great coach. Really appreciated all the support.

Coach was running the race as well. This photo was taken by the same person at basically the same spot on the course, just a different angle. Notice how nobody else is really in the picture running in either direction? That's because he's freaking fast! He took 2nd overall at a time of 1:17:15 a 5:54 pace!!.

He passed us well before we got to the 5 mile marker (he was probably 8.5 miles into the race). He spotted me in the crowd coming the other direction, reached out his arm to give me a high five as we crossed paths, and shouted at me "Good job, Lisa, keep going!"

He's running in 2nd position in the race and he takes time to tell *me* that I'm doing a good job?!? How incredible is that!?

4) Couldn't have asked for better weather. It was about 48deg when we arrived at the race venue. Maybe 50deg when the race started. It warmed up when the sun came up and I was out of my long sleeves before the 2mile marker. It never got too hot and it wasn't windy. Just a lovely day for running.

5) Despite a lot of pain all over my body, my knee never bothered me one bit. Considering where I was a year ago, that is incredible!

The Bad

1) Didn't not achieve my primary objective, which was to finish strong and uninjured. Before the race, I was explaining to Husband that I've felt amazing after my recent training runs. I really didn't care too much about how long it took to get to the finish line, I just wanted to be able to run 13.1 miles and feel amazing.

He then asked what pace I expected to run at. I told him that I expected to finish right around an 11min/mi pace because that's been fairly comfortable in training. I thought it was within my grasp to finish at 2:20:00, and I expected to finish closer to 02:25:00 and I was fairly certain that even if I had a bad day it would be under 02:30:00. I also expected to go out too fast and have to slow down a bit in the the race.

I had an amazing race up to about the 8 mile marker. Then my body really started to hurt. Not in a good way and not in a way that I've experienced in training. I'm convinced that the difference is that I mostly run on dirt trails and this race was on pavement. My hips hurt. My ankles hurt. My shins hurt. My low back hurt. Every step was miserable.

2) It's a minor point, but I missed the 02:20:00-02:25:00 window by 22 seconds. I wasn't limited by my cardio-fitness level, I was limited by pain, and I gave up. I stopped having fun and started taking frequent walk breaks somewhere around the 11 mile marker. At that point, I just wanted it to be over.

The Ugly

1) The splits graph says it all. You can see where I started to slow down due to pain at mile 9. You can also see where I gave up on the race at mile 11.

2) It's the morning after, and I still feel like I've been hit by a truck. So my opinion of the experience is mostly unchanged. If I'm going to train for long-ish races on pavement, I'm going to need to do more training on pavement. I'm thinking 80% trails, 20% pavement would be a good mix. Otherwise, I really need to rethink whether or not I should be doing half marathon races on pavement at all.

Final Thoughts

While some of you define success by the numbers, and pour everything you've got out on the course on race day, I am truly seeking something different. Pain-free and joyful running. Feeling good at the end of the race. Knowing that the course didn't beat me (or beat me up).

I know it's out there. And I'm still seeking it...


  1. Feel better ((())) .. your coach sounds awesome. so sorry to hear about your pain but I am so proud of you !

  2. Pavement does hurt. I have spent too much time on the deadmill lately and really felt the difference on just a 3 mile run on pavement! YIKES. I need to get outside more or else my New Orleans experience is going to be like what you felt here.
    Hope all feels good soon.

  3. Congratulations on a great time, Lisa! Sorry that you didn't end up feeling as great as you had hoped. I'm sure the pavement was a huge factor. At least you can learn something from this experience

    Way to hang in there.

  4. Don't beat yourself up. You were still able to be right around your performance expectations but more importantly I believe that you should define success based on what you learned about yourself. You won't learn that in a training run and you are still seeking more... In that context, I consider that you rocked this race.

    Soon you'll have to drop the "slow" from your moniker.


  5. I still say congrats and good job!

  6. Great job Lisa! I found when I trained mostly on dirt for IMAZ, come race day I HURT from running on pavement too (this never occurred to me would happen). Have you tried an ice bath? That REALLY helps with post workout/race pain..

  7. Congrats on running well despite the pain!

    Another race and another learning experience, I'm sure that you'll have better races in the future because of it.

  8. Girl you still did great and I am so proud of you! After everything you've been through in the last few weeks/months only missing your goal by 22 seconds is not worth stressing over. The pain, well that unfortunately happens and we have no control. Fate can be cruel sometimes. Don't stress girlie, look at your progress and keep on running. Good job Lisa!!!

  9. Your times are moving in the right direction. Great job!

    (But I had a crappy race this weekend too, so I know exactly the dissappointment of training well and not performing on race day.)

  10. I love your final thought! That is how I feel too!

  11. Lisa you did great. I know your body is saying otherwise right now but you'll get to that point. And I love that you are looking at running as a joyful experience. Sometimes we all get too caught up with the "racing" aspect of it.

    I say congrats and hope you feel better soon.

  12. ((((hugs)))) I'm sorry you're still feeling beaten up by it all.

  13. I think you did fantastic! And congrats on improving your time even more. Pavement is another beast altogether for sure. I'm used to running on it cuz, after all, I live in the asphalt jungle.

    I hope your body feels better soon. You have a great coach.

    Nice final words. It's no good when it stops being fun.

    btw, I was looking for ORANGE SHORTS, I feel slighted somehow**sniff**

  14. Amazing perspective...I wish my hubby would run a half with me :)

    I hope that you can find your pain free joyful running soon.. This week I have been in a funk in pain and not having fun and it was because I was stressing too much about speed ans high miles. It is not worth it is the joy is zapped.

    Congrats on a great finish!

  15. I think pain free and joyful running is an excellent definition of success, and definitely makes the running feel satisfying. Sorry this race did neither for you!

  16. it stinks not to be able to run all the races you want, but maybe you should really get in to trail races? I'm like you it's about the joy of running...and pain certainly hinders that!

  17. You should recognize me from what I'm wearing based on your suggestions before the race.

    If you had taken my suggestion, I would have recognized you without any clothes on :-) ROFL.....

    I'm glad you don't listen to me, but... Running 13.1 miles hurts. I say it again. If you are doing your best, you are going to hurt, and I don't think pavement makes that much of a big difference.

    Congrats again on a great race!!!

  18. Hey Lisa,

    To me - it sounds like your race went to plan up to mile 8 then it pysched you out well and truly around mile 11... that happens... it so WAS your day but alas you didn't feel the love ;o)



    You didn't enjoy the last bit so did that detract from the great feeling you should have from such a time? .... Chin up friend. We all think you did great... we wish you could have enjoyed it though the way you wanted to :o)

  19. I'm looking for the same thing. Here's to us finding that finish strong feeling in the upcoming races. Good job to you!

  20. Ah, girl. I've been losing the joy since I started pursuing the digits. There's gotta be some way to get both!

    Your final thought is so very true.

    Congrats on pushing through the pain to finish.

    Maybe some trail races?

  21. First, congratulations on a great time!

    I'm sorry about the pain but I imagine you're right about the cause. It's just so jarring for your body to run on the roads when you haven't run on them in training.

  22. I am right there with you! Pain free running is EVERYTHING.

  23. Congrats on the race!!!! Finishing pain free is key, and if it's not fun, it's definitely not worth it!!

  24. I'm not sure it's possible to run 13.1 miles and not hurt. I'm really not. I've hurt on all of mine and my pace was behind what yours was at this race.

    That being said, I wholeheartedly support you going for exactly what you want out of running cause it darn sure can be about more than simply pace alone!

    I LIKE the fact that you PR'd this course! And that you were enjoying it for up to mile 8. Seems like there is lots of good stuff here! No knee pain -- Huge!

    So take what you will from this and then go after what your heart tells you! I believe you will find the balance that you seek if you keep seeking.

  25. I'm sorry this race had a good, bad and ugly side :( But at least you know the cause of the ugly & bad and can hopefully improve it. I worry about pavement for all runners, I definitely see your point about training on pavement but then I just worry about you hurting yourself during training too. Are there any half marathon trail runs? That could be fun!

  26. Ouch Lisa, I'm sorry that the race wound up being so tough at the end. Pavement can indeed be really hard on the body. Yay for getting faster from the previous years, but so sorry about not being happy running those last few miles! :(

  27. no matter the goal, it is always disheartening to not see it come to fruition. fun, painfree running is important! more so than the numbers, i think :) hope recovery is going well and you are still excited to be a runner!

  28. I can certainly understand your frustration at not finishing the race feeling good. And if as you say it is because you're not used to pavement, then it would be a good idea to train on what the course will be like on race day. I also think that the more long runs you do, the more the long running becomes automatic, where you don't think about how far you're going or how long it takes, just going mile by mile. The bright side for you is that you have seen steady progress over the last 3 years. I'm guessing eventually if you keep at it, that state of nirvana will come to you.

  29. I'm so sorry to hear that you hurt during your race. I know you're looking for that pain free feeling and I'm sure you'll find it soon! Congrats on a great finish!

  30. I think injury free and feeling great are super criteria for success. I'm with you on thinking that numbers only tell a small part of the story. Sorry your finish wasn't the happy place that you wanted and hope you can treasure those first 8 miles. Keep sight of your goals - you'll get there!

  31. Good job pushing through and finishing. Sorry it didn't end up being fun for you. I hope you can find a balance between trail running and pavement running.

    Hope you feel better soon!

    MCM Mama

  32. First of all, CONGRATS on your PR!!

    I don't run off-road much but do think that training on a softer surface and then racing on a much harder one probably makes a big difference. I know some folks who only race off-road and others who stick with only shorter distances because their body just breaks down from too much pounding on a hard surface. Whatever it takes, keep running and finding out what's right for you. Maybe try ice water baths after hard workouts or races, if you don't already do them. I find them to be really helpful in reducing soreness and recovering fast. In fact, I don't think I could continue racing long if I had to deal with the same pains that I had early on before discovering them.