Sunday, March 24, 2013

17.75K Access Granted (and the Bear Bell Strikes Back)

Yesterday I ran  the Marine Corps 17.75 K.  This was my first run back since the marathon last week.  I walked a mile on Sunday, and then pretty much just rolled and did normal activities.  I was surprised by how quickly I bounce back this time.  I was doing stairs normally by Tuesday and actually felt like I could have run on Wednesday, but I was really forcing myself to rest during zero week because I knew I had 11.03 miles coming up on Saturday.  My major activity consisted of walking the kids all over the National Zoo on Friday.
Staying warm in the car pre-race

I had no real goal for this race other than to have fun and get my guaranteed entry.  This race sold out in 45 minutes in January because of guaranteed entry into the Marine Corps Marathon.  A bunch of friends from my Gainesville Moms Run This Town group were running so we were just out to have a blast.    We met up in the Holiday Inn to stay warm while we waited for race start.
Gainesville Moms Run This Town

About 5 minutes before race start we went out and got in line.  I have never been so nonchalant or relaxed about a race not even when I'm running a 5K with the kids.  I was thinking that I wanted to do about 10 minute miles, but I really had no other race plan.  So we were off without much fanfare.  We started behind an IHOP and ran down 234 for about 3 miles.  This whole portion of the race sucked.  It was boring, and I was irritated to be running on 234.  My pace was somewhere in the 9:15-9:30 range through this section of the course because I really wanted to get out of the big pack of runners and get on the trail.  We finally made a left into Prince William Forest Park and got on some trail.  The hills were rolling in this section, but we weren't on trail for long.  At about mile 4.5, we were back on a very flat and at sometimes downhill road section.  One of my friends caught up with us, and we started running and chatting.  As we were talking, I started to hear a bell.  In the back of my mind, I was thinking that there was no way it could possibly be Bear Bell.  The bell was growing louder and louder, and my friend joked that it was him.  Then Bear Bell passed us!  My friend recognized him from the photo.  He was wearing the same outfit and running along with that bell.  I couldn't believe that I was at my third race with this guy. The first two were part of a series so I expect to see him for the additional series races, but it was just hysterical that he showed up at this race.  He continued along at a quicker pace than us because we were just taking it easy and cruising along.  So the score currently stands at Heather:2; Bear Bell:  1.  I'll get him back at Laurel Hill.

Our moms group was working the #3 aid station around mile 7.5 so we were really excited to get to that spot on the course.  We rolled through and high fived got water and got lots of moms are awesome cheers.
Coming through the Aid Station (courtesy of Suzanne Santos)

Miles 8.5-11 were more rolling hills.  We just kept pushing along even though my legs were pretty tired.  They were definitely still feeling the 26.2 because I wasn't working that hard for my legs to feel that tired.  I just kept thinking "stay motivated" as I ran.  Finally we could see the 11 mile marker and raced in smiling to finis in 1:50:46 which put us right at 10 minute miles for the 17.75K.
Bad Ass Mother Runners
Course Map and Elevation Profile
 My final place was 415/1077 women and 1113/2176 overall which was fine given that I was just doing a recovery run and getting my ticket.  We had to hike up this huge hill to get to the post race area.

It was a bit disorganized this year.  JD and I just grabbed our tickets and finisher's chips and hit the bus.

The bus driver was a complete and utter nightmare.

We made it home in time for the Oil Creek 100K Server Meltdown Party (otherwise known as freaking out and trying to register JD for the OC100K before it filled up in 15 minutes).

I actually had to rush off to work for a few hours after that.  When I got home, I registered for MCM again (not sure if I'll run or defer).  We also signed up for Drake Well Marathon.  I can hardly believe that this time last year I was just contemplating my first marathon.  Now I've run two and am signed up for 2 more marathons and a 50K.

Next race is April 6 Red Shoe 5K benefitting Ronald McDonald House and then April 7 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.  I am going to try to just bike and do yoga for one more week before starting back to running workouts.  I think my body needs this after two back to back marathon training cycles.

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