Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Green Jewel 50K Race Report & Training Update for Spring Marathon Season

Saturday was the Green Jewel 50K, which was my first big race of the season. I am happy to say that it went well! I feel like the training I've done this year helped me to get to the start confident, stronger than last year and better rested.

Steve and I parked our car at Oak Grove Reservation in Brecksville to catch the bus to the race start at Rocky River Reservation. We stayed on the bus to keep warm and use the bathroom before the 9am start. We quickly dropped off our bags for the halfway point in the race and said hi to some friends. We knew a number of people running the 50K and 50K relay. I was a little cold waiting for the start but as soon as we took off I was fine.

early miles
The first few miles were slick with some snow that had fallen in the middle of the night, early morning hours so this forced me to hold back a little and watch the footing. It felt great to be out there racing. I think I must have been smiling ear to ear as I had waited for this race for months. I took in a gel just before the first aid station and then started to pick up the pace a little. I caught up to my friends Jillian and Brandon and tailed them for a while as we weaved around the Emerald Necklace. At the 10 mile mark or so I did another gel and stopped for a drink and decided to slightly pick up the pace a little. I said hi to my friends and off I went back into my little running groove.

I felt pretty good arriving at Wallace Lake at 15 miles in. I located my bag and reloaded gels, grabbed some salt tabs and my little handheld bottle for the rest of the race. According to my first split I ran the first 15 at an 8:11 pace so I was happy with that and figured I would end up slowing down the back part of the race to at least an 8:30-9 min pace. Getting going again here was a little tougher but I got back on track and ran a few miles with my friend Mike before hitting a burst of energy and speeding up around mile 18 or so.

beautiful scenery!
Around mile 20 I remember feeling like I was on top of the world. Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here" came on my playlist and I was singing out loud and playing the air guitar. This is generally a sign that I am having a great run. This went on for a few miles and then I came back down to reality as I approached Ridge Rd around mile 24. That is a tough hill. I walked most of it and hit the final aid station for a quick potty break and some final fuel.

The rolling hills of Brecksville were as hard as I remembered from last year. I got emotional a couple times as was the case last year. Something about these really long runs can dig deep into your soul. I love that feeling. It's like healing from the inside out - all the hurts and disappointments of my life just melting away bit by bit. This may be why I am in love with running and in some ways I feel it is a gift that was given to me to help make my life better and more rewarding.

2nd & 3rd awards!
Towards the end of the race I knew I had to make up some time so I picked up the pace the last 5k as I generally have been doing in my long runs this season. With the last couple of miles being down hill it worked out perfectly. I wasn't sure what place I was in - I actually thought I might be in first but with the relay it is hard to tell and when I crossed over I asked and learned that I was second again. Of course I wanted to win but the top spot went to a younger woman who certainly earned it with her 4:18. I was happy with 2nd having a nice PR with my 4:38. My friend Jillian ended up not too far behind me in 3rd.

After the race we headed over to Fatheads to meet some friends. I really enjoyed the tangerine-infused Headhunter and food. Then it was home to shower and head in for a massage. Needless to say I slept pretty well! Special thanks to my Sponsors: Pearl Izumi and Nuun and to my teammates on Snakebite Racing and Team Freeplay that sent cheers!

I have been recovering pretty well this week. Sunday we walked the dogs. Yesterday I did an easy spin on the bike trainer for 50 minutes and again walked. I also did the trainer today for 50 minutes and walked a couple of miles at lunch. Tomorrow I will swim and if I feel well enough  I will do a short recovery run otherwise I will walk and try to run Thursday. I would like to race this weekend but have to see how I feel later in the week and maybe I will go and use it as speed or tempo work. I am anxious to get back to the training! Boston is like 6 weeks away and Cleveland is about 10 weeks out so I still have some work to do to ensure successful races. Speaking of Cleveland, I am excited to see my fellow marathon ambassadors tomorrow night for a meet up! Love these folks!

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