My 3rd half marathon is on the books! Somewhat miraculous really when you consider that for the two weeks prior to the race I wasn’t even sure if I could run. On what was supposed to be a 10 mile training run my right calf muscle suddenly tightened up and never relaxed. For two weeks. Running was extremely painful – it essentially felt like I had no flexibility in my lower leg at all. I dialed down the speed and distance and did lots and lots of stretching, foam rolling, and epsom salt soaking and eventually felt well enough to try another long-ish run, and then both of my calves locked up again. I think the left was having sympathy pains for the right (or, more likely, was compensating for the weakness on my right side).
When my coworkers saw me limping around the office, still talking about running that weekend, they kindly suggested/insisted that I go see a physiotherapist. Duh Claire. So, first thing on the Tuesday before the race I met my PT for a quick assessment to figure out if I was good to run. After a deep tissue massage and an electroacupucture treatment I was more than ready. I’d never had acupuncture before but I’m absolutely a believer! My soleus muscle (learn something new every day!) felt MUCH better immediately, and only improved as the week went on and I flew from Toronto to San Francisco to Boston to DC. You know, just your average work week. Nothing like wearing heels for presentations and sitting still for 6+ hours on a plane to get your legs ready for a race.
Race day arrived way too fast and my friend Carlie and I were up and at ’em at 4am (ugh) to pick up Wellsley and drive out to the vineyard for a 7am start. Way. Too. Early. But, a nice sunrise.
We met up with another Carly (and her husband and adorable little son) at the start line and away we went!
This was certainly not my best race – I took it slow at the start to see if the hills would cause any pain, and while I wasn’t feeling 100% it wasn’t too bad. Carlie and I ran the first 7 miles together and enjoyed a nice little wine break at the halfway point.
Don’t worry, she didn’t drink the whole bottle! Just a little thimble full for fun, then back to running. At that point, I wasn’t feeling my best and just wanted it to be over, so I pushed myself to pick up the pace just to get through the last chunk. At least the scenery was gorgeous!
I stayed cramp free until the last 2 miles when I ended up walking the uphills and trying to compensate on the downhills…I swear there were more ups than downs! My finish time was 30 minutes longer than my last race, which isn’t awful all things considered. I’m planning to cut down on distance and focus on speed work for the next couple months until it’s time to ramp back up for the next half in October! I’m shooting for a sub-2 hour finish, which is slightly aggressive since it requires cutting a full minute off of each mile from last year’s pace…and I was in much better shape then. The biggest challenge is sticking with a training schedule with all this crazy travel!
We all eventually finished and made our way to the real event – wine tasting! The lines were long so we just picked up a bottle and sat under a tree snacking on watermelon and whiling the day away.
These cows in the neighboring field wanted to join the party.
Carlie and I eventually had to get a move on since we had big plans to get to – whiling the weekend away at her lake house in Maryland. The rest of the weekend was all long chats over great wine, reading in the sun, and easy walks with her dog. Pretty much perfection!
I always find race photos hilarious – no one ever actually looks good, and I have no idea who orders these things. Still, I always have to look and found some gems! Sorry to these two, but they’re too funny not to share!