Sunday, August 18, 2013

Biggest Loser Half Marathon Recap

I achieved a new PR (personal record)!! I finished the Biggest Loser Half Marathon in Erie, PA in 2 hrs., 15 minutes and 51 seconds. That's ten minutes faster than my first half marathon! I went from an 11:10 pace in my first one to a 10:22 pace! And that's with a bathroom break during the race!

Erie Half Marathon course map
Source


This is the race course. It is completely on Presque Isle. It was a gorgeous and very flat course. The race began at 7am, so my beau and I got up at the crack ass of dawn to get ready. We drove to Erie the day before, about a three hour drive from where we live. After getting ready that morning, we had to get some breakfast. We went to McDonald's and I got an Egg White McMuffin and a water. I have these type of sandwiches at home so I figured it would be fine. We ate on the way to the island because on a normal day it can take twenty minutes to get from the entrance to the point of the island where the race would begin. We had marked out where we needed to go the night before and they were not kidding about how long it takes to get out there!  So we wanted to leave plenty of time for traffic. And I'm really glad we did. I had plenty of time to use the port-o-potties (not that it helped much) and we got a good parking spot. There were plenty of people rolling in, this was around 5:30am. Crazy runners.

Is it just me or do I look completely freaked out?


The start/finish line.
On good thing about getting up so early, we got to watch the sun rise over the water.
 The race seemed well organized with plenty of bathrooms at the start/finish line as well as on the course (since there are already bathrooms on the island, they were easily accessible during the race), some vendors, even a concession stand that was open and selling coffee at 5:30 in the morning! They separated the half marathoners and the 5K runners with the half lining up and starting first. I'm not sure what happened, but the race did start a little late and with a crowded chute, I was getting ansy.
Waiting...
 I decided I would line up with the 10:00 minute mile pacers. That was my A goal. I didn't think I could do it the whole way, but I thought it might motivate me to keep a more evened pace. And the pacer had a pirate flag. It was meant to be.

Finally, we started moving. About .2 miles in, I realized I had forgotten to start my watch. Doh! Then I realized I must have hit something while I was waiting because it was no longer on run. Extra doh! I got it working though, which was not easy as I was running.

I stayed with the 10:00 pacer really well, even during the water stations, where I still have to walk. I walked quickly just enough to gulp a drink down and then started running again which kept me right with them. I did that until mile 7 or so. That is when my stomach decided it hated me. I could feel it rumbling before, but I thought I might be able to ignore it. Well it would not be ignored. I saw a bathroom at mile 6 but again thought I could hold out. Like I said above, it was not happening. I started slowing up just a little bit at around that 7 mile marker. I could still see the pirate flag just barely ahead of me. I didn't think I was going to make it though. I'm not sure if it was the fried fish sandwich I had the night before or the extra Power Bar fruit gummies I ate during the run, but my stomach was roaring. There were no other bathrooms and I was heavily considering either going behind a very skinny tree or getting a lift with one of the cars passing us in the open lane. At mile 9 though there was a ranger's station that had a bathroom. Thank heaven! I made it and all was well.

I totally lost sight of the pirate flag after that of course. And I started to get really hungry. I'm not sure if it was because we started a little late or because I had eaten so early. Maybe a combination of both. So I had more fruit chews, way more than I usually eat. I only had one of the Clif Shot Blocks. I usually have two of those during a run like this, but they can upset my stomach and I didn't want to take the chance of making things worse. So I stuck with water, a little bit of gatorade that was offered on the course, and my chews.

They had water stations every mile and water/gatorade every other mile! That's fantastic. They didn't really need it this year since it was a lovely cool day, but it was nice to have that option. My strategy going in was to have water every two miles and gatorade if I needed a little extra boost. The few miles before I found a bathroom, I didn't have anything. I didn't want to put anything more into my stomach!

After the bathroom incident, I felt pretty good. My pace did slow down a little, but I kept it right around 10:00. And really the scenery was beautiful. A mix between beautiful trees, marsh lands, and bright Lake Erie. And with that I finished in 2:15!
Not sure if you can really tell, but I'm running towards the finish line.

Trying to not let that girl pass me! The time shows the gun time, 2:16.42. Chip time 2:15.51

 Overall it was a nice race. I might have hit closer to my 10:00 mark if it hadn't been for the pit stop. I'm really proud of my race though. Except for my left knee (not the one I messed up) hurting the last mile or so, my legs did well. I'll make sure to tape both of them next time!
The swag.

Erie half marathon medal
Source

After the race my beau and I decided it would be a great idea to swim in Lake Erie. So I decided to just go in with my clothes on. It was freeeaking cold! It's the middle of August and that water was ice cold! We didn't last long, haha.
It was sunnier than this might seem. Great for running!
 Also, I wasn't feeling well. Unfortunately, my stomach was majorly upset all day. Thank goodness our hotel room was nice and our king sized bed was comfy. I spent a lot of time in that room and not for any good reasons! My beau was very nice about it though and stayed with me even when I told him he should go out and find something fun to do. After lots of Pepto and a nap, we did take a little time out to do a first for me. We went to a casino!
Presque Isle Downs and Casino
I didn't win the big bucks. Better not quit my day job.

Today we decided to hit up a zoo. We had a really good time and it was nice to walk out my slightly sore legs. Even though we didn't do as much as I had thought we would, since I was dying on Saturday (dramatic much?), it was so nice to get away. And I leave you with a cute picture:

I thought this Red Panda was adorable!

P.S. I didn't stay on track with my eating. At all. But when you don't feel well you eat what sounds good. Doing better today and back on track completely tomorrow!