Ironman Countdown

Thursday, April 2, 2015

B&A Trail Half Marathon Race Report, and other ramblings

This past Saturday, March 28, 2015, I participated in the B&A (Baltimore/Annapolis)Trail Half Marathon in Severna Park.  It was a cold, crisp, bright and clear morning.  And I am thrilled to provide the spoiler that I found my "happy place" early on... and by that I mean I was able to simply enjoy the run, the feeling of running, of being out in the world and of being able to appreciate all that I have.   It was a good day.
starting line with a gorgeous sunrise

Shamrock Half, VA Beach
I was supposed to take on the Shamrock Half Marathon last weekend in Virginia Beach with a girlfriend, but due to complications with her work schedule, we opted to defer our entry til 2016.  We did the Shamrock last year and had the most fun; I also PR'd (personal record or best time, in case this is a new term for you) by 12 minutes so that was a total joy.  I broke 2 hours for the first time, and went 1:55.04.  But, last year I also trained specially for that race:  I rested and planned my runs on the weekends around getting a solid half marathon time.  I approached the start line in that race, knowing full well that I was faster than I had been a year ago, and would be able to run a smarter race.

This year, since my  main focus is the Eagleman 70.3 in June, and IMMD, I did not cut back on my other workouts of biking and swimming.  Biking, as previously mentioned, is my "weakest link" so I have been trying really hard to get in three solid bike sessions a week, and squeak in a fourth if time allows.  So, I biked in the morning on Thursday, but took it easy with a mild three mile run in the afternoon.  Then I swam 3500 yards Friday  night; and on Saturday I biked on the trainer for an hour and a half.
pondering after Friday's swim
(selfies are so silly)

Julia and I went down to the packet pickup Saturday to get my race number.  We had fun looking at the few vendors that were there, and she enjoyed snacking on the free Power Bar samples.  I even picked up a super cute new running skirt that had a crab pattern on it!
holding Mamma's number

I went into Sunday morning just wanting to see what I could do, wanting to break 2 hours again, and feel strong... even split each mile.  I didn't go with anyone, and this particular paved trail can be pretty solitary... no spectators and lots of wooded areas.

The race started and ended at Severna Park High School; a great hub as there are plenty of restrooms, and they have food and coffee afterwards in the school cafeteria.  Starting temperature was about 25 degrees, so I had on layers, hat, and gloves.
very chilly!

had "my girls" (SBMAT) with me, my beads that Jack
made me, and my mantra bracelet

The race headed south towards Annapolis.  The B&A is paved, flat, and basically tree lined in this portion of it, through southern Severna Park.  The scenery doesn't change much and, because I was basically running through a suburban neighborhood at 7:30 in the morning, there's no crowd support or anything like that.  Its a solitary run.  I do most of my runs by myself so it doesn't bother me so much.

I managed to keep even splits for each mile, just about.  I felt strong and was excited to see I was holding 8:50ish/mile with ease for the first half.   My plan was to keep it steady until Mile 10, then start to drop the hammer little by little and see what I could pull off for the last three miles.  All was going to plan beautifully. 

When I got to Mile 12, and, WARNING, this is a bit of an over-share, I suddenly had to pee.  And not like I had to pee, like your bladder is full... but have to pee like how women who have had children have to pee out of nowhere when there is stress on their body (sneeze, hard laughter).  This has never happened in a long run before, and I literally had to stop for a minute and figure out what was happening.  I got a little pissy (pun intended, sorry Mom) at that point as I was trying to walk a few steps to literally pull myself together, because I knew I was so close to hitting my PR.  But I wasn't willing to "let it all go," so to speak.  (See what I did there?  Yellow!  Like pee!)  So after about 20 or 30 seconds, I started running again and almost managed to catch back up to the girl I had been "following" and intending to pick off at the end.

Final time:  1:55.22.  Average 8:49/mile.  Place 196/596 overall.
count it!  new bling!

Just 15 seconds off my PR.  So without resting, or true focus on that race, I was pretty happy with that finish.  And it was a nice confidence boost!

The half marathon is definitely my favorite distance because its a challenge but it doesn't require as much training and it doesn't tear up my body the way a marathon does.  Well, except for the spontaneous pee thing... hahahaha! 

The B&A is a great place to run in general.  The Half Marathon is a nice small hometown race.  The after-race food and such was very nice, with places to sit and relax.  But if you are a big crowd runner, and you like fans and supporters, this is not your race.  It is solitary, and you are in your own head for the whole thing.  But it is pretty and flat, and a very well done race. 

Other than that, I filled up March with some long runs with Tricia, and battled the ever changing spring weather that is Maryland:  60 degrees one day; 5 inches of snow the next. 

Tricia, and CP, on a 62 degrees, snow melting, 9 miler

one week later, running 12 in snow and ice, 28 degrees

another week later, 70 degree 3 miler with my girl

I missed one swim due to illness, and have continued to make biking a priority.  The bike is still on a trainer, as it has only just finally gotten warm enough to possibly take it on the road.  I hope to do that this weekend.  So glad that spring has sprung!  Wishing you all good weather, Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Spring!

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