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<span style="text-decoration:underline;">Short & Sweet</span><br>
Did not injure self on course!<br>
Watch time 1:50:52 (8:29); not my best but not my worst<br>
9th of 55 in AG<br>
Finished ahead of 2 out of 3 female runners I know of "similar ability"<br><br><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Long & Endlessly Rambling</span><br>
This was the second running of the Fleet Week Half Marathon in Norfolk, VA, and my second year running the race. I had not raced a half since February or entered any race longer than a 5K since March (Shamrock Marathon, DNF). I'm 8 weeks from my goal marathon, so Fleet Week would be a check to see how training was progressing. My sense was that I wasn't quite where I needed to be just yet, but not too far off either. My goals for the race were:<br><br>
1) Not re-injure foot sprained during Shamrock which had been "acting up" for the past couple weeks<br>
2) Beat last year's time<br>
3) Finish smiling and remembering to be grateful for the ability and opportunity to run<br><br>
As Meat Loaf once crooned, two out of three ain't bad.<br><br>
Everything went smoothly from this morning's wake-up. I was very nervous, though. It has been so long since I've raced that getting into race day mode mentally isn't instinctual yet. Lining up at the start my legs felt loose and rested, and my energy was just a touch low-fatigued. Temperatures had been forecasted for mid-50s, but were already in the low 60s and perfectly clear. This is warmer than optimal for me, but after 20 miles in high 80s and humidity the week before, I told myself it wouldn't feel like anything.<br><br>
The race is held entirely on Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval installation in the world. At 8 a.m. -- make that 0800 -- we paused for "colors" and were on our way at 8:05. We started down one of the main roadways on base into a stronger than expected headwind.<br><br>
I had situated myself between the 1:45 and 1:52 pacers, planning to start easy for a mile or two and gradually catch up to the 1:45 group. It was a well-designed plan, but poorly executed. The 1 mile marker surprised me in 7:47. I almost swore out loud when I saw that.<br><br>
Miles two and three I tried to hold back to make up for the error of my ways: 8:08 and 8:13. I was right on target for 1:45. I finally started to feel more settled in to the feeling of racing and the pace. Shortly after Mile 3 the course 180's, so I could see that I was just a few places back from Angela, a woman I run track workouts with, and farther ahead than expected of Traci, who I had traded 2nd place with back and forth in a 5K last year until she blazed by right before the finish. Another woman, Elisha, who I've run with and beaten and lost to in other races was already up with the 1:45 pace group.<br><br>
I caught Angela coming in to Mile 4 (8:00) and held on for Mile 5 (8:03). In Mile 6 (8:23 ) I stopped to drink and take a Gu, but was just 40 seconds over, no big deal. Somewhere after Mile 6 the pace leaked out. I can't pinpoint exactly why. I felt fatigued and my stomach was slightly upset, but my legs and even injured foot felt strong and powerful. Mainly I didn't feel "in the moment" the way I have in other races, either, and even slightly disinterested at times.<br><br>
During miles 7-9 my stomach was still queasy and full of air, enough to not be able to ignore, and the breeze had left so it felt warm. I was not doing myself any favors mentally on this stretch. I thought about how I'd run a better half marathon (Shamrock '06) on no formal training and less weekly mileage. I thought about how I'd run this race better last year. I thought about struggling to come in last in the mile in jr. high PE. I thought about how much fun I had had running in the Fargo Marathon, when running was more about the joyful experience than the result. I thought about how lonely it was to come to races and run alone. I thought maybe a 3:49 marathon PR was enough to be proud of. I thought about a difficult conversation I am gathering strength to initiate, something I had promised myself I would not think about during the race. Then I got angry at the situation itself for burderning me on a run yet again, and angry at myself for letting it. I thought about how I was defeating myself mentally at this very moment. I felt like I was running with the weight of the world on me.<br><br>
When these thoughts came up I tried to bring my focus to the breath and the moment, or look for something external to boost me up. There wasn't much around in this more desolate part of an already pretty desolate course and few spectators, so the only option was to soldier on.<br><br>
Just before Mile 10 (1:23:43) is the only exciting part of the course. Runners turn and run past all the naval fleet currently docked at Norfolk. Something about the "double-digit" miles always lifts me up in a half. Looking at the huge vessels and thinking about all the sailors who set forth on them and their loved ones who stay ashore was inspiring. I felt my legs push harder and my head come to a better place. I marveled at how loose and good my injured foot was feeling. I thought about how in my last long race at this point I was just waiting to be back at the hotel so I could drop and get off my foot. I thought about other Kickrunners racing today and sent them good vibes. I thought about how Traci and Angela were still behind me. I thought about how 6 months earlier I was gimping around and spectating the half marathon that my local running friends were doing. I thought about letting go of worries and gave them up. I saw the Mile 12 sign and knew it wouldn't feel like very long at all, just one small loop, until I was at that point.<br><br>
Right at Mile 12 the course turns and zig-zags up a few blocks to the final approach to the Finish. With many buildings around, it was one wind tunnel after another here. I didn't care. The wind felt better than the stagnant warmth 4 miles behind me.<br><br>
I hit the final turn and saw the Finish ... way off in the distance and into the wind. My watch said 1:45 and I decided to try to get in under 1:50. Problem was, the finish kept backing up! I came alive here and passed half a dozen runners. It felt great and I momentarily regretted not running like this throughout the race, but was more happy to be feeling swift and strong for as many moments as I could get. The Finish sauntered back again and my watch read 1:50, but I vowed it would stop before 1:51. Traci and Angela were still behind me. I was healthy and pain-free and able to use running as one way to enjoy my body and celebrate life. I passed a guy and woke him up, then found another gear to hold him as he worked to re-gain his position. For the briefest of moments, I became breath, energy, will, nothing, everything. In the final strides I had climbed up out of my head and beyond myself and it felt cleansing. I wasn't pleased with my abominable pacing, portions of the race, or my overall pace, but the pure elation and joy of crossing a Finish line again overshone those disappointments.<br><br>
My coach was waiting at the Finish, and we compared notes as we cooled down together. She was reassuring, saying the course was a little long, lots of people had had a slower day, that I wasn't too far off, that last year I had been 4 weeks from goal race instead of 8 and the weather had been 10 degrees cooler, that the fact that my foot felt good was more important than my time, that there was still time for me to make gains. And that in the end it was one race, no more, no less.
 

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Good run and nice report, as always, Andrea.<br><br>
In think you're in a good spot to reach your goal considering that you're still two months away, an also didn't taper with your 20 miler last week. Undoubtedly you're in better shape than what your think.<br><br>
Wow, you do think a lot. You're aware of your surroundings, and like you said you've been out of practice. Perhaps with a few more races you'll better able to channel your mind to the task and avoid becoming disinterested.<br><br>
Its been fun following along your progress. Hope the foot feels better as you train towards your goal. Congrats!
 

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SGH, this was a really great report! Congratulations on your race too! I remember reading in the Pfitz book that when you do a tune-up race, often you'll be a bit slower than normal because you're in the middle of heavy marathon training, so keep that in mind!<br><br>
Your miles 7-9 sound so mentally familiar to me. You got through the rough part - kudos to you! I have a feeling you're going to do really well in 8 weeks. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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That was a good race report. Wow. What a race. glad your foot was doing well.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/wav.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wav">
 

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Good report, and a nice run! I totally hate when the finish line keeps backing up, too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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Excellent race, especially as a training through effort!<br><br><i>"my stomach was still queasy and full of air" ....</i> SGH, were you pooting? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"><br><br>
Congrats!<br>
hup
 

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Nice job goldie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Nice race and report. Since this was a tune up race it sounds like it went very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Surprsingly, no. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"><br><br>
Here are my race splits, BTW. Kids, don't try this at home!<br><br>
7:47, 8:08, 8:13, 8:00, 8:03, 8:28, 8:24, 8:58, 8:51, 8:49, 8:47, 8:56, 8:39, :45.
 

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Nice, enjoyable race report. Glad your foot feels better. I don't know what your marathon goal is but sounds like you're doing well with your training.
 

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I enjoyed reading your report, you write well. I am very slow but am able to come alive at the end and you brought that feeling back to me. You are fast!<br>
Good luck on your goal race and staying injury free!<br><br>
Barb<br><br>
et fix crappy writing on my part <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy">
 

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Congrats...great report. Training run/races can be like that. They can make you feel like you aren't where you actually are. Does that make any sense? Great Job!<br><br>
BTW, your avatar picture is featured on page 16 of the November issue of <i>running times</i>...and on the very next page is a picture that looks like's Sierra's old avatar minus the smile face on each toe. Very odd!
 

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Andrea, you write an excellent race report! It's so difficult to rise above negative thoughts during a run, and you did a great job. Way to go, keep up the good work.
 
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