Sunday, October 20, 2013

Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon 2013

Third Annual Pumpkin Run!
What a difference a year makes!!

Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon 2012

Last year I did this half marathon and it was ugly on many, many levels.  I had begun my "I give up" stage that lasted from August until Christmas last year.  I gained 20 pounds and was pretty much miserable.  I had signed up for the race earlier in the summer and since I had paid the money I decided to do it anyway.  My husband had to work and none of my friends were doing it or could go.  It was pouring down rain.  I mean it just dumped then entire run.  I ran the first three miles at a slow pace but it was still miserable.  I had only done a two mile run in September and a two mile run in October before race day.  After the first three miles I walked a mile and then ran a mile.  Which wasn't too bad but every time I had to run again I was miserable.  My whole body just hurt.  This was the first time I ever considered not finishing a race.  When I got to mile 10 I was so wet and miserable that I just wanted to quit.  The only reason I kept going was because I couldn't bear the thought of going to school on Monday and telling my students that I had given up.  I finished the race and even that was not fun.  I never really knew how much it means to me have my husband, friends and family waiting for me at the end of my races until they weren't there.  Finishing sucked because I had done horribly, I was wet to the skin, everything hurt and there was nobody there.  I hobbled to my car, stripped off a few layers of wet clothes, put on some dry ones and drove home.  I was miserable and sore for almost a week.  I promised myself that I would NEVER participate in a race like that again without training.  It was not worth the misery during and after the race.  I took so long that I killed the battery on my phone so my Nike+ only had me doing a little over 11 miles.  
Not a time that I'm proud of. 

Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon 2013

We fast forward to a year later.  Like I said before, what a difference a year makes.  I have been working hard since Christmas on my running and my attitude.  Still have a long way to go with both but I am seeing improvement and that's what is important.  I was determined to keep up with my training this year, no excuses.  I was fine in August when I wasn't working but when school started and my grad classes started it became more of a challenge.  However, I am blessed with an amazing, supportive husband who has stepped up and helped out so that I can get out and run.  Basically he makes sure that I have no excuses.  :-)  Last year I put in a whopping 10.84 miles of training in during September and October.  This year the total for the two months for training was 97.36 miles!!!  I think that I was a bit more committed this year.  

My short runs the past few weeks have been getting faster.  Probably the tapering that comes before the big race helped that but, oh wow, is it fun to feel fast!  This week I ran my fastest mile ever.  I did it at the end of a three mile run.  At the end!  I was so excited.
Woot Woot!
I really didn't feel nervous about the half marathon until Friday night.  Evidently my subconscious was nervous because I had dreams about another terrible run or getting injured and not being able to finish all night long.  When I woke up in the morning I was nervous.  lol  But there were a lot of differences between last year and this year.  Not only had I trained for the race but the weather looked to be much better and my husband was racing too.  My best friend was one of the coordinators for the race and she was going to be there too.  Training, check.  Weather no rainy, check.  Friends and family at race, check.  It was going to be a better day no matter what.  

It was cold before the race and foggy.  But the sun was starting to break through.  

Pre-Race Smiles

We got lined up, Joe towards the front and me towards the back.  The sun was shining at the start line but about a mile in we got back to the fog.  Either way was better than the rain last year so no complaints here.  

I started out too fast and had to reign myself back.  Pretty sure I couldn't do a half marathon at a 10 minute pace!  Yikes.  

I settled into a nice steady 12'30" pace and felt really good.  I started to get tired around mile 10 but kept trucking along.

View during of the South Santiam River
At mile 12 is where I hit the wall.  I always walk through the water stations.  I get a water and a Gatorade and give myself until the last garbage can to finish the drinks and walk.  Usually this gives me just enough of a rest to feel perked up for a little bit again.  There was one last water station about a 1/2 mile before the mile 12 marker.  I walked through and then got going again.  My legs started to tighten up, I started to cramp and at the 12 mile marker I had to start walking.  I was really frustrated because I knew that I had been on track to being really close to my goal of 2:45.  Walking was killing any chance of that.  I had to walk/run for about a 1/2 mile.  Then I just decided that I had to push through or I wouldn't get a PR either and that would be really crappy.  I managed to start running again and kept a pace under 13 minutes and I finished running.  

My husband was waiting for me at the finish line.  My best friend was waiting at the finish line.  I got a hug from one of the cheerleaders that was a student of mine last year.  I told her I was all sweaty and she said she didn't care.  Made my heart happy.  :-)  A running friend that I had watched do the Portland Marathon a few weeks ago came out to cheer Joe and I over the finish line.  That was a fun treat.  And my co-workers were also hanging out for high fives at the finish.  

Overall the entire day was better from start to finish.  While I didn't make my goal for 2 hours 45 minutes, that was a really lofty goal and I really didn't think it was even remotely possible.  Now I know it is possible because I came really, really close to getting it.  

I did, however, PR again my time for a half marathon.  Last April I got a PR at the Eugene Half Marathon of 2:51:22.  This October I got a new PR at the Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon of 2:47:31.  I beat my last PR by more than 5 minutes!!  I am pretty stinking excited about that!  My goals, other than the time, was to finish with an average pace of under 13 minute miles and to run the whole thing.  Still didn't quite get that second one but nailed the first one!  By a lot!  I dropped my average pace from last years race by 3'34"!  AND I improved by 46 minutes over last years Pumpkin Run!  That's worth the training right there!

I am excited about the things I've accomplished in the last week.

  1. I became a triathlete.
  2. I ran my fastest mile ever.
  3. I got a new PR for a Half Marathon.

I still have a long way to go to get where I want to be but I'm really, really proud of how far I have come! 
After race smiles!
Now I'm going to brag on a friend.  My amazing friend Betsy, the one I want to be just like when I grow up, participated in the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco today.  She got a Badass (with Sparkle) PR of her own of 2:22:45!  So proud of her and all she has done to get healthy.  I also am glad that we have become friends because she has become, in a very short amount of time, one of my important peeps who keeps me going!  Love you Betsy!  You rock and I can't wait to hear all about your race when you get home!

This is what I have been focusing on lately:  It doesn't matter if you are slow or fast.  What matters is that you are out there kicking ass!


  1. So awesome! Way to go, Lisa. You know, you're going to have to consider renaming your blog, because you ARE going places!

  2. Yeah for you Lisa!!! and I agree....not about fast it is about going out and doing it!!!!!!