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Oct 16

It’s Raining (Personal) Records!

I can’t control the weather yet. I really wish someone had this ability as it becomes an obsession for weddings, holidays, outdoor parties and races! I tend to not get especially crazy about the weather, simply because I like to focus on what I can control – my training, my mental game and my outfit.

HartfordHalfRaceRecap

As you can imagine, dressing properly for a half-marathon of cold rain can be a bit tricky. And, as everyone knows, weather “predictors” cannot be trusted. Most of the text messages I was receiving leading up to race day were about what to wear. I was happy for the distraction because I was busy obsessing about my tight/sore/achy hamstring. What I would wear on race day, was not a big concern for me and, I was actually glad it was going to rain. Now, don’t get me wrong, I would have preferred an overcast, 45 degree day, however I will take rain any day over heat.

Part of the reason I don’t worry too much about the weather is because I’ve had a lot of experience running in the rain. My very first marathon was in a torrential downpour. My Boston marathon? Almost canceled for the first time in it’s 110 year history, due to a spring nor’easter. Lovely. What can you do? Run.

Runners are a tough bunch and, as much as we may like to hem and haw about the weather, when it comes down to the race, we just suck it up and tow the line. I also read something like how doing anything in the rain makes you feel 10x more badass. This is true.

Post-race with my medal. Some how I need to get two of these - one for each boy!

Post-race with my medal. Some how I need to get two of these – one for each boy!

So, what did I wear? A short sleeve shirt, Oiselle Lux arm warmers and Oiselle lesley knickers. Those arm sleeves are so plush, it was like having a tiny little baby blanket wrapped around each arm for 13.1 miles. They made me want to purr.

Where was I? Oh! Back to the race.

At the start, I tried to just clear my head and stay focused on my goal. What was my goal? To run at least a 1:29 and to be pain-free in the general hamstring area. Neither of these things happened.

My first mile was something that started with a five. Way too fast. I reigned it in to try and stay between a 6:38-6:48 per mile. My Garmin was being naughty and started ticking off miles way before the mile markers. Now, I know I’m not always running the tangents, but I wasn’t that far off. No matter, I kept my pace and ran my race. There was only one issue…

Around mile three, as I was running along minding my own business, I heard someone say “For those of you new to this course, this is Park Street!” WTF? First of all, if you can give a tour, you’re not running hard enough. Second, Park Street is not exactly worth mentioning, as it’s pretty much in the ghetto of Hartford. And then I saw him. It was hard to miss the bright yellow shirt with 1:30 emblazoned across his chest and back. Damnit! Pace leader!

I’m probably not going to win any fans with this, but I kinda hate pace groups. For those of you who are all “what the hell is a pace group?” it’s a group of runners who are led by someone who can pace them to a particular finish time.

I totally get it and I know it’s nice to have someone pace you to your perfect PR however, they are usually going too fast! In my experience, 90% of the time, the pacer gets his or her pack in one to two minutes prior to goal. And, in a sport where seconds are a big deal, minutes can crush a runner.

Ok so if MEB were leading the pace group, I would have zero complaints. Whatever.

Ok so if MEB were leading the pace group, I would have zero complaints. Whatever. But do you see how much ROOM these people take up?

Unfortunately for me, there were about eight men in the 1:30 pace pack and they took up the whole of the street. I played with them, running in front and then behind them, for the duration of the race. I got a tour of Hartford, but I also had to manage them, along with all the puddles. Not fun. It was also mentally challenging as I was shooting for 1:29 or better, and I couldn’t seem to shake the 1:30 pace group. I tried to remind myself that they are usually too fast and just focus. One of my favorite running mantras came to my rescue – “Set your pace, run your race.”

I also had my sights set on mile 9 and Elizabeth Park. The highlight of the race for me is seeing my kids there. This year, they were with my dad and stepmom, but I wasn’t sure if they would make it. Because of the cold and rainy forecast, I told my dad to make a game time decision.

My father has a very distinct whistle. It’s piercingly loud and like my own signal from Capt. Von Trapp. As I closed in on their ‘usual’ spot in the park, I heard it! As I rounded the corner and saw them, my heart raced and my pace picked up. I was able to hit two perfect high-fives from little outstretched hands and smiling faces. I continued pumping my arms in the air for as long as I thought they could see me, to a chant of “go mommy go!” and then I zeroed in on the last 3.1 miles. #betterthenGU

I hear you dad! I'm coming!

I hear you dad! I’m coming!

I’m horrible at math, and this comes in handy at the end of a race. As I said, my Garmin wasn’t behaving and I had the messy 1:30 pace group now in front of me, so I really wasn’t sure where I was going to land at the finish. I knew it was going to be close to 1:29, so I dug it out and pushed hard.

My hammy was acting very strangely though out the race. It was either very painful (for short bouts) or not there at all. I couldn’t figure it out, expect maybe that my body temp was varying because of the temperature, and it was affecting my muscles in different ways at different times? Whatever it was, I was happy that it seemed to be cooperating.

I finally saw a clock at the 11 mile mark and knew I could maybe, just maybe squeak in a 1:28. This is the point when you know how badly you want something. At mile 11 of a half, you’re cooked. Everything in you is ready to just be happy without a PR. Except it wasn’t. I was determined to stay in the moment, control what I could, and run!

As I rounded the final turn toward the finish I couldn’t see the clock. This is just one of the many disadvantages short people have! When the path of giants in front of me finally cleared, I was able to see that it read 1:28:25. Holy shit! RUN! With everything I had left, I pushed to 1:28:53 finish and a personal best by over 40 seconds, and I couldn’t have been happier. At least that’s what I thought…until I found out that I also came in third in my age group out of 526 women! In all the years I’ve been running this particular race, this was a first. I finally did it. YES!

*the 1:30 pace group finished about 10 seconds ahead of me!

Here’s all the stats for those of you who are good at math:

IMG_4913

 

And I’m so happy to report that I wasn’t the only one who had an amazing race! I’m telling you – it was raining PR’s in Hartford last weekend:

Chrissie D. (marathon) 3:39 and a BQ (Boston Qualifier)

Barb B. (half) 2:09 PR

Kevin V. (marathon) 2:51 PR by over 2 minutes!

Shannon K. (half) 1:56 PR

Jess K. (marathon) 4:10 PR by 12 minutes!

All of the above peeps participated in my “dream goal‘ post last week. See what happens when you write down your goals and post them to the world? What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve! I BELIEVE!

Shannon and I (like wet dogs!) changing in my car after the half so we could cheer Chrissie into the marathon finish!

Shannon and I (like wet dogs!) changing in my car after the half so we could cheer Chrissie to her first marathon finish!

Despite the weather, dreams were made and goals were smashed. I loved watching all the marathoners come into the finish, heads high and eyes wide! They’ve been to hell and back, and have been running for hours to see that finish line. If you ever lose faith in humanity, come and watch the end of a marathon. You won’t believe your eyes.

Of course, after all that excitement, it was time to EAT! Some of my favorite running people and I headed to a local burger bar, ordered a basket of soft warm pretzels, bloody mary’s and burgers. It was heavenly.

IMG_4912

 

Next up is the 15K Stockade-A-Thon in Schenectady, NY on November 9. I hope it rains…

 

Did you race this past weekend? Tell me about it!

Have you ever been a race spectator or volunteer?

Have you ever run, raced or done any other activity in the rain?

How do you feel about pace groups in races?

57 comments

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  1. Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness

    Congratulations!! Thats an amazing time, its amazing you finished 3rd in your age group and all around amazingess you did it all in the rain! 🙂 Also your 1st mile started with a 5?! in high school when i ran that 1 mile that started with a 5 i nearly died after- even in my peak aerobic shape i would not have been able to keep going another dozen miles or so. Nope. In fact im tired thinking about it. CONGRATS AGAIN!
    Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness recently posted…WAKE THE F UP (Alternate Title: How to be a Morning Worker-Outer)My Profile

  2. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

    I’ve used a pace group once and ended up getting annoyed with the crowd so I peeled off and still finished in the time I wanted…but for my first full I’m considering following a group for some of it. There’s a comfort in it that I think I may need as a first timer. But I agree that the herd gets annoying!

    Congrats on an absolutely amazing race and for not only getting your PR, but also your podium!!
    Ali @ Hit the Ground Running recently posted…Victory!My Profile

    1. vita88

      Thank you so much! I totally understand the comfort of the pack, and I just heard some great advice for someone in your situation – you should stalk them from afar and see if you want/can hang with them 🙂 Just beware of coming in too soon and cooking your legs! Good luck!!!

  3. Tina

    I had a PR, but also was cooked at mile 11.5 and did the dreaded walk of shame. BUT, I got to see those boys, too, which really had me wondering if the somehow missed you like an HOUR earlier!

    1. vita88

      YOU DID? How did I miss that?? CONGRATS!!!! No shame in walking and still PR-ing.
      Love how many people saw my little peeps! I’ll make them carry signs next year. It’s time to put them to work! 🙂

  4. Janine Huldie

    Aww, huge congrats to you Allie and you definitely are amazing in my book not just for this race, but so much more 🙂
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Otto’s New Costume, Hayride & Wonderful Wednesday Blog HopMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Ok, so that is the BEST compliment ever. Thank you Janine. The feeling is completely mutual!

  5. Tina Muir

    Ahhhh Allie, I can always be assured your post is going to be a bubble, happy, makes-me-smile post, but this one is especially good. FIRSTLY CONGRATS AGAIN! How very exciting, I love that you ran even faster than you expected, and definitely well earned1 I love that you did not let the rain affect you mentally, I have never understood that….it is the same for everyone! And finally, I love that you embraced everything about the day, especially the after eating! Thats the best part right? Looks like this was a great race to do!
    Tina Muir recently posted…Chicago Marathon 2014- The RaceMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thank you for saying that Tina! I’m so glad you get all of that here because that is absolutely my intention. The race was really great, unexpected, but I will always love the food afterward!!

  6. Dana

    You tell an excellent race story – I was enthralled even though I already knew the ending! Hope your hamstring behaves so you can kick ass on November 9th!
    Dana recently posted…My biggest pet peevesMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I’m so glad – that is great!! Thanks Dana.
      I’m giving that hammy lots of love so I will be ready..

  7. Danielle@T-Rex Runner

    Yay!!! Congratulations!! I tend to agree about pace groups. I find that at the beginning, they are often going way too fast, only to slow down at the end to come in near their mark. It can’t be said for every group, of course, but I’ve had that experience in many races.
    Danielle@T-Rex Runner recently posted…Negative Nancy, be gone!My Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Danielle! I suggest some sort of data collecting on how many people stay with a pace group, and then stay on pace. I want numbers! HAHAHA

  8. Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama

    Yay! What a great race recap!! You did amazing!!! Congrats for real. I can imagine the boost seeing your boys gave you!! I can only imagine your horror when you realize the chatty guy was a pace leader 🙂 I haven’t been in big enough races (yet) for a pace leader but I am always curious about them. Congrats to all your friends too! Rain is good for you, I hope it rains in November 9th too (but not November 8th!!!!) 🙂
    Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama recently posted…When 2 Passions Intersect + An Announcement!My Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Nellie. SO great seeing you today and I miss you already. I will put in an order for NO RAIN on 11/8!

  9. Melissa @ Melissa Running It

    So much awesomeness here! I was JUST telling a friend that running and I need to reevaluate our relationship and maybe take a break. Then I read this and I’m thinking, dangit, I love race day too much to take a break!

    Dad’s whistle, high fives, LOVE IT!!!

    Pace groups can suck it. They mess with my head game.

    Congratulations!!!!
    Melissa @ Melissa Running It recently posted…Fitwall: The Numbers GameMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You are so awesome. I would race with you any day!!!

  10. Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness

    You guys did awesome Allie! Your recaps are always so exciting! I hope your hamstring behaves so you can rock the Stockade-A-Thon!
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted…Questions About Beachbody CoachingMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Me too! Thanks Kris!!

  11. Tamara

    Congratulations to you! And to the others who had amazing races!
    I think this endless loop of humid or cold rain is ridiculous. However, my sister’s wedding is Saturday so I’m just choosing to believe it’s all going to stop by tomorrow and then dry the land. Magically.
    Tamara recently posted…A Bit of a Once Upon a Time Story.My Profile

    1. vita88

      It will. I believe in magic…especially when it comes to YOU! Have such an amazing day…I’ll be thinking of you!

  12. Yum Yucky

    I love your medal! You should let me borrow it so I can pretend I’m bad-ass bawse like you.
    As for controlling the weather, there are indeed weather modification tools used by the government. Ya, I’m all about those conspiracy theories. LOL!
    Yum Yucky recently posted…How I Sometimes Eat on Non-Fasting DaysMy Profile

    1. vita88

      You can totally have it. You’ve earned it!

  13. Britt@MyOwnBalance

    Congrats Allie! That is so amazing! I didn’t know what a pace group is but doesn’t it kind of seem like cheating? I mean, shouldn’t you be running your own race?
    Britt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…A Day in the LifeMy Profile

    1. vita88

      That’s funny!! It’s not really “cheating” but I can see how you might think that. They’re definitely not for me (obviously) but a lot of people use them. I would like to see some data though on how many people STAY with the group and cross the finish in the time predicted.

  14. Kim

    Great job on that race – so awesome!!!
    Love y’alls after race meal!
    Kim recently posted…It’s the Little ThingsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Kim! The post-race meal/party is always the BEST!

  15. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    You are unfreaking believable. So so incredibly happy for you and even my heart rate picked up when you described your Dad’s whistle! I can’t even imagine running along with the pace group. That would have annoyed me to no end but glad you were able to keep your cool. Love your recaps Allie!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted…Slow the Rhythm of RushMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Christine! I guess my dad’s whistle even has a virtual effect. I should try to bottle that!! 🙂

  16. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    YES!!! I love it! Congrats! And thanks for making me tear up a little bit about the anticipation of your dad’s whistle and seeing the kids. It’s always the best part of the race to see the fam even if it is for a few seconds. Pace groups – don’t trust ’em!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted…High Five FridayMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Angela! I know you get it about seeing your family on the course – so important!! I think we can pretty much agree to never trust pace groups!

  17. jill conyers

    You are amazing! I need to run Hartford next year! A little positive PR karma never hurts 🙂
    jill conyers recently posted…10 Ways To Tell You Are a Fitness EnthusiastMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I would love it if you ran Hartford next year!! I’ll be sure to remind you…

  18. thedoseofreality

    Y’all are amazing…the bad weather would have definitely been a deal breaker for me…besides the actual race itself, of course! 😉 And I love a place that serves pretzel bites and burgers! YUM!-Ashley
    thedoseofreality recently posted…Dirty Dancing: The Next GenerationMy Profile

    1. vita88

      The food is usually the best part, but especially after being in the cold rain for a good portion of the day!! Thanks Ashely.

  19. emma @ be mom strong

    yAY SO happy for you Allie! Wish I could use this as inspiration for my half Sunday but I’m in no shape to run that fast… hopefully I can at least get that far!
    emma @ be mom strong recently posted…Not-so-pizza pizza recipeMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I’m sure you will have a great race, and if not, you will at least be surrounded by chocolate!!! Enjoy and I can’t wait to read all about it.

  20. Melissa Burton

    You are one amazing runner! I love that your Dad has a whistle and that’s your beacon to find them while doing a race.

    In addition to being amazed with your running in general, I can’t believe that you remember so much about your run to chronicle. Very impressive.

    So glad that you and your friends super PR’ed!

    Me, I’m a weather wimp in every case including running.
    Melissa Burton recently posted…Friday’s Featured Female – 5 Bloggers You Should KnowMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Aw thank you so much Melissa. And it’s funny you say that about remembering so much during the race. Is that something unique? I can remember details from almost all my races! Thanks for pointing that out 🙂

  21. Mo at Mocadeaux

    Way to go, Allie!! Congratulations!!
    I know that Boston Marathon you are talking about. I’m not a runner but have always wanted to watch the Boston Marathon. We were in Boston that weekend and I finally thought I was going to have my chance but then that terrible storm blew in and I chickened out. I definitely do not have the soul of a marathoner! I finally got to witness the Boston Marathon this past April. My daughter and son-in-law lived in an apartment on Beacon Street so it was perfect! Very emotional after the tragedy of 2013 but also so festive! I loved it! Still, you will only see me on the sidewalk not ever on the actual race course!
    Mo at Mocadeaux recently posted…Facebook, Police Blotter & Other Random ThingsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Spectators are SO important to us racers!! A good cheer goes a long way. So glad you were able to finally see the spectacle that is the Boston Marathon! Thank you 🙂

  22. Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    Congrats!!! That is an amazing recap! Glad you hammy didn’t give you too many issues! I’ve never run a race in the rain, I’m hoping the weather is good next weekend for MCM! So now I’m torn, I was considering joining up with a pace team for Marine Corp, but you think no?
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…Friday Five: 5 Ways to Avoid Taper PsychosisMy Profile

    1. vita88

      I would stalk them from behind and make sure they’re on pace. Most of the time, they go out too fast and then slow down at the end to come in “on time.” You usually want to do the opposite of that!! If you follow them for the first few miles you will be able to tell if they’re on target. I don’t want to mess with your racing plans!! Definitely do what you think is right. Either way, I’m sure you will have a great race with NO rain!

      1. Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

        It’s looking like no rain as of right now! Yea, I definitely want to start off slower and finish faster, but I have such a hard time holding back my energy in such a BIG race like this…it’s hard to not get caught up in the energy.
        Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…MCM Training Week 16 RecapMy Profile

        1. vita88

          I know!!! It’s a mistake almost everyone makes. Just try your best to stick to your pace. I’m so excited for you and no rain is a huge bonus!!!

          1. Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

            I will, I got a pacing tattoo to help me in that department, but not sure If I’ll use it or not…ever use one?
            Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…MCM Training Week 16 RecapMy Profile

          2. vita88

            I haven’t but I’m sure it’s helpful. I usually just know my goal pace (or at least what I shouldn’t fall below!) and where I need to be at the 10 mile mark for a half. I like to keep it simple so I’m not constantly checking something but…different things work for different people. You have to do what you’re comfortable with 🙂

  23. Sandra Laflamme

    Wow! Super speedy half time!!! Congrats on your PR in less then stellar rainy conditions but you absolutely rocked that course. So inspiring. I am running the CHaD Hero Half next weekend and am actually not sure how to pace it as I haven’t run a half since I was training for my first Boston qualifier. Your race recap is incredibly inspiring and you totally made me want a pair of those cozy arm warmers!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted…Applegate HALFTIME Review and Giveaway! #LunchingAwesomeMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thank you! I’m sure you will have a great race. Just do what you’ve been doing in training and I’m sure it will all work itself out. I highly recommend the “baby blanket” arm warmers 🙂

  24. Carla

    Way to go, Allie! Looks like everyone did a great job at their races. I can see why the pacers can be upsetting, I was bobbing and weaving around them today. With that being said, had it not been for a knee issue that left me in excruciating pain, I think I could have finished well under 3 hours for my first half. Sooo….I’m thinking about joining Fleet Feet to train for a 2:30 in April. So then others will have to bob and weave around me.

    I love that your family was there. I bet high fiving the kids really did give you some extra oomph. Such a good role model!

    No math doing for me. I just love seeing where you placed. Awesome!

    1. vita88

      Thanks Carla! I hope the leg is feeling better today. And, when you’re ready, I would highly recommend joining the Fleet Feet team. It’s a great group (usually) and they will be able to get you to your goal…while other bob and weave around you 🙂 Great job toughing out your first half!

  25. Kate

    I was excited for you when I saw you shared this on Instagram! Congrats!!!
    Kate recently posted…All the exciting thingsMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Kate!

  26. Jesica @rUnladylike

    Congrats on your PR! Amazing time and even more amazing when you factor in rain and pace group dodging. I love how consistent you were across the entire race. So proud of you! Hope you’re still enjoying your race high and resting that hammy! xoxo
    Jesica @rUnladylike recently posted…Friday FITspiration: Racing for TwoMy Profile

    1. vita88

      Thanks Jesica! It was one of those great races where everything just came together. I’m definitely still enjoying the “afterglow” (and I hope you are too!!) and giving the hamstring lots of love.

  27. Alison

    My dear friend, Tracy at Sellabit Mum ran a 3:48 at the Twin Cities Marathon and BQ’ed! You runners amaze me daily.
    Alison recently posted…TouchMy Profile

    1. vita88

      That is FANTASTIC! Good for her!!!

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