Monday, March 12, 2012

race report: hyannis half

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while - you know that 2011 was a crazy year for me, running-wise. I started off the year with the Disney Marathon (my first!), the Hyannis half in February (my seventh!), and then Reach the Beach in May. This was all before an injury that sidelined me from running, and most activity, for almost four months. After finishing physical therapy (twice) I decided that my comeback race would be the Hyannis half. I had fun last year, the course was pleasant (despite the cold and snow), and I'd have many friends down there who were also running the race.

I signed up - hoping that the race would spark something in me and I'd get excited to run again. But, if we're being honest here, training was a struggle. Between indoor rock climbing, fighter fitness and general malaise - most weeks I was only able to get in a couple of runs. Although some weeks I did manage to squeeze in the three that were on my schedule. I did very little speed work and whenever asked about my time goal for the race, my response was always "survival".  I can't tell you how many times I reminded myself that the point of this was to just get back out there, to prove that I could still run a half marathon.

The weather last year was.. unpleasant. It was freezing and snowing for most of the race. This year it was warmer with no snow in the forecast. But it was REALLY windy. And it definitely impacted me when I was out on the course. Also, I think that the snow last year blinded me from noticing the hills. The hills sort of sucked. But with the nice weather I was able to truly appreciate the course - and it was definitely a pretty one. I guess the beauty was lost on my facial expression and body language because looking at my race photos they're all pretty much a variation of this:

y so angry?

I felt pretty damn good for most of the race. However, around mile 10 or so I started to feel like my heart rate monitor strap was too tight and it was preventing me from getting good, deep breaths. And then I realized nope, it wasn't my strap, I was having a (mild) asthma attack. Wonderful! My asthma is a fairly recent occurrence and I'd never had an issue DURING a run, only after I'd finished. As a result, I never carried my inhaler with me. Once I realized what was happening, I did start to panic a little bit, so I stepped off the course. I spent the next few minutes focusing on relaxing and regulating my breathing. When I stepped back on the race course I realized that the only way to finish the last 3.5 miles would be to stay calm. I don't remember a damn thing from the last miles of that race and I have never been so happy to cross a finish line. After posing for this picture:

dinosaur arms. it happens when you run a half marathon
I told my friends that I was having an attack and Juls shot off to find my inhaler. I felt so much better after the inhaler and some water and I looked down at my watch to see my time: 2:21:30. Not my best race by a long shot, but somehow, even in the midst of an asthma attack, I was able to run my second fastest half marathon. I'm still really, really slow, I totally get it. But I still feel like a total rockstar that I was able to keep myself together despite everything that was going on.

a small portion of the gang who was at the race
Oh, and for the record - half marathon #9 will be happening on March 25th. Is anyone running Eastern States (the half or the 20 miler?) - if so, let me know, I'd love to meet up!

Also, I've started using my inhaler 30 minutes before running and haven't had another attack since!

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