Race #5: San Antonio Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon

I bet you never thought you would hear from me again!  I’ve had a lot going on, but I couldn’t resist writing about my latest race, and figured I would give you a quick update while I’m at it.

Running has been rough for me lately.  About a month and a half ago, I injured my IT band.  I injured my IT band for the first time in 2008, and it was a long recovery.  Early in October, I felt my IT band acting up again on a 13 mile long run.  It started to ache around miles 4-5, and by mile 9 I was in quite a bit of pain.  I should have quit then, but I was determined to finish my 13.  My IT band has made running painful since that run.  I can usually run 2-3 miles before it starts to ache, but that has been really inconvenient when it comes to training for my first marathon.

I started going to physical therapy about two weeks ago – twice a week each week.  They have me doing exercises to strengthen my hip and loosen my hamstrings.  I’ve been very good about doing my exercises and foam rolling every single day, but I’m not sure whether it’s really helping or not.  I did an 8 mile training run last week, alternating 5 minute of jogging (10:30 pace) with 5 minutes of walking.  I made it through with only a little bit of ache, and felt pretty good.  So my plan for the half marathon this morning was to alternative running 6 minutes and walking 4 minutes.

We arrived in San Antonio yesterday.  We made a little stop by the San Marcos outlets before heading into town.  I couldn’t believe how huge the shops were!  We could have spent several days there, but we only had a few hours.  We wanted to make sure we left for San Antonio in time for the expo.  I still had to pick up my race packet, and we only had until 5pm.

It was the first race expo I’ve ever been to.  They seemed pretty well organized, and I enjoyed walking around the booths and sampling different drinks and bars.  I think the highlight for me was seeing some old contestants from Biggest Loser.  I should have asked for a picture!  But they looked busy when I went by.

After the Expo we had dinner at a Guadelajara Grill, a Mexican restaurant near our hotel.  After some delicious veggie fajitas and a margarita, we made our way back to the hotel for an early bedtime.

I was really nervous for the race this morning.  After all the walking yesterday, my knee was aching pretty badly before the race even started this morning.  I was worried that I shouldn’t even try to race, that I would just make my knee even worse.  I was also worried that if I tried, my knee would hurt too badly, and I wouldn’t be able to finish.  But all my worries went away as I moved closer to the start line and felt the excitement of the race!

I stuck to the 6 min/4 min plan for almost the entire race.  But in the excitement of the race, I ran my 6 minute intervals at closer to a 9:00 pace.  There’s just something about being in a race that makes it difficult to pace myself!  Each 4 minute interval felt like torture.  I knew I needed to walk, but it was so hard to watch all the people passing me each time.

I loved all the crowds along this race.  I got lots of high fives from little kids, and all the cheers were really encouraging.  There were also a lot of awesome signs – I wish I had taken pictures to remember some of the more creative signs.  One of my favorites was a couple dressed up like Greek gods/goddesses – their sign said something like, “We’re old – we ran the marathon the 1st time!”

There was a lot of water and Cytomax along the course, which was helpful.  There were enough water volunteers that I was able to get 2-3 cups at each water stop.  I tasted the Cytomax at the expo and wasn’t a fan, so I avoided those.  I also liked the music along the way, but wished there was more.  The stages were too far away from each other.  Several stores and houses were blasting music, and I enjoyed that.

The best part of the whole race was seeing my husband at mile marker 8 🙂  I had been watching for him, but wasn’t sure I would see him in the crowd.  He popped down for a quick kiss, and then I was on my way.  It gave me just the pep I needed at that point!

I first started to feel my knee really aching around 6.5 miles.  But after a quick walk break, it started to feel a little better.  It wasn’t until about 11.5 miles that it really became painful.  I know at this point I should have switched to just walking, but being that close to the end, it was hard to just walk and watch everyone else pass me by.  I kept up the 6/4 intervals, but started walking just a little bit more until the last half mile.  It almost hurt less to keep jogging than it did to walk.  It hurt either way, so I was really just looking forward to it being over.

The last half mile was really exciting.  I started to take one last walk break, but was too excited – I could see that the finish line was up a short hill and around the corner, so I quick switched back to running to the end – I wanted to get that medal!

We finished!  I finished in 2:36.  I was expecting to finish in 2:45 – 3:00, so I was happy with my time.  I was really just happy that I had run – and finished the race.  Maggie finished in under 2 hours, for an awesome PR!!  My splits:

  • Mile 1:  11:08
  • Mile 2:  10:47
  • Mile 3:  11:28
  • Mile 4:  10:47
  • Mile 5:  11:39
  • Mile 6:  12:19
  • Mile 7:  12:04
  • Mile 8:  11:34
  • Mile 9:  11:45
  • Mile 10:  12:03
  • Mile 11:  13:39
  • Mile 12:  12:37
  • Mile 13:  11:15
  • Last 0.31:  10:04
  • Total:  2:36:14 (11:44 average pace)

It was a fun race and a fun weekend!

After a long ride home, my knee is hurting quite a bit now.  I’m hoping a little rest and a lot of foam rolling will help get it back into shape quickly.  I think I will be keeping up with the run/walking thing as long as it keeps me running.  I have my first full marathon to train for!

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5 responses to “Race #5: San Antonio Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon

  1. Congrats- great job even with a bum knee! Hope your IT band heals and GL with training for a full 🙂

  2. Great job, especially considering you had an injury.

    You’re lucky 🙂 I almost deleted you from my Google reader, every now and then I delete blogs that aren’t active anymore. Glad to see you back.

  3. Welcome back! 🙂 Sorry your IT band is acting up–that’s my problem area too…it sucks! The only thing that helps me (besides constant foam rolling) is an IT band strap–takes some of the stress off the knee and lets me run MUCH more comfortably. My PT recommended it to me, and even though it doesn’t FIX the IT band problem, it sure makes it feel better!

  4. Pingback: Pre Goofy: Getting Back in Shape | Racing to Thirty

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