Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mission: Mercury

Running Half Marathons as many as there were in Western WA was a matter of using them as training runs. Then I learned in December 2011 that I missed mooning-up to get to Mars in the Half Fanatics world by one weekend. Calculations came and went, and I realized I could get there by March 2012 but I had to do a couple of back-to-back. I confess I was nervous to do this, but with good advice, iced bath after each, and good nutrition immediately after the race and rest, I should be fine. So I went and did Birch Bay and First Call President Day and indeed I was fine. I got 26 in 365 days. Once in Mars, I knew that within 4 more weeks I could get to Earth with 31 in 365 (also needed a back-to-back). I did Double Rally Until A Cure (Yelm and Orting), and completed the 31 by my cut-off date April 15. And, of course once in Earth, with one more the following week I would get to Venus. This was risky as I had a marathon in another week, and I've never run a Half the week before, but I ran it with a lower effort to avoid putting any strain in my legs.

And I was planning on stopping right there, in Venus, but… if I do 15 in the next 13 weeks I could get to Mercury by August. As I will be absent for 3 weeks (and no Half Marathons possibility), I only have 11 weeks to do 15. That requires 5 back-to-back Half Marathons. And of course, the thought is: I would stop there…

But if I do 14 more from August to February (6 months) then I get 52, and I will reach the Sun, the end of our Half Fanatics universe, absolutely doable. Then my Hubby will say: Darn it Half Fanatics…I am glad it’s over…

This weekend, six days after relentless and windy Big Sur I started the back-to-back quest. Nervous again. How will my legs be after such a hard Marathon? Cinco de Mayo, Snoqualmie, was the first one on Saturday. As I only run by effort I thought I would be OK, legs could run at their own desire. And in a fantastic day, my legs felt surprisingly good, and led me to a PR by 3 min 17 seconds for a 1:53:41. That was quite bizarre, considering the circumstances (26.2 hard miles against nature 6 days ago), but I attributed the PR, to the fast course we ran. I won the division, and it felt nice when they called “Champion 55-59” while handling me a very nice trophy.

Had my protein shake, got home all excited, took an iced bath, ate 3 scrambled eggs, 2 slices of bread, half avocado, and took a 45 min nap. I rested for the remainder of the day.

Sunday: the turn to get up at 4 am to drive to Tacoma to run one of the finest races in the PNW, and one of my favorites.  Tacoma City Marathon and Half Marathon. Oh boy, I was a little bit sore. Actually, I felt destroyed. I thought I would definitely had to stroll this race.

Just to be surrounded by the amazing Marathon Maniac and Half Fanatic community gets you excited. This race was MM/HF Central, so all MM/HF would receive special medals. There was a girl that flew from Dallas to be at this race. I thought that was marvelous. I felt really happy for her and for what this community has done for the marathon and half marathon races in the US. And Washingtonians take some pride because MM/HF “originated right here in thePuget Sound region by “Prez” Steve, Chris and Tony Phillipi (aka the MainManiacs #1, #2, and #3).

Group pictures were done and we were set to go.  I was feeling well, but there were 13.1 miles ahead of me. I also have run this course a couple of times and I know it has some important hills.

My command was: Heart rate, just tell me what to do. And there I went with a lower heart rate the first couple of miles; though the second split let me think somebody misplaced the 2-mile marker. I felt so good, and ran with so much power, that I thought I was under enchantment. I slowed down during the up-hills, and slammed the flats and the down-hills. At mile 10 I was 3 minutes faster than previous day. A PR was possible but I needed to be smart because I knew that mile 11 was not easy, and that I could lose some of those 3 minutes. 

And I pressed. And I finished. And I PRd 1:53:07. And I can't attribute it to a fast, flat course, because ain't flat. It's mine. And I won the division. And both days. And I am happy. And all for the glory of Mission: Mercury.

Splits and HR% - Cinco de Mayo, Sat 5/5
1-     8:51 – 81%
2-     8:50 – 81%
3-     8:43 – 85%
4-     8:50 – 90%
5-     9:09 – 87%
6-     8:32 – 91%
7-     8:20 – 93%
8-     9:04 – 91%
9-     8:48 – 93%
10- 9:20 – 93%
11- 8:47 – 95%
12- 8:10 – 95%
13- 7:25– 98%
     13.1 – 0:40 – 98% (And I puked)
plits and HR% - Tacoma City, Sun 5/6
1-     9:18 – 83%
2-     7:12 – 84%
3-     9:24 – 86%
4-     8:52 – 85%
5-     8:06 – 86%
6-     8:14 – 88%
7-     8:32 – 88%
8-     8:57 – 87%
9-     7:59 – 86%
10- 8:54 – 87%
11- 9:12 – 92%
12- 9:39 – 93%
13- 7:54 – 96%
      13.1 – 0:49 – 96%

Those that run by pace would say these paces are very inconsistent, but I can say:
1)   On Saturday I had more power as I could climb to 90%+ (Zone 3) for most of the race. 
2) On Sunday my effort was constant and lower (zone 2). This is a reflect that I was more tired today. In the other hand, I felt so good on Sunday because I didn’t exert more effort than I could. Pace variation is due to the terrain.  I have concluded that when chasing a pace no matter the terrain it’s easier to lose ground throughout the race, while keeping the effort according to the strategy and how the body feels, it will make you run a good race. And good race doesn’t mean to PR or win, it means that you feel good, and the race doesn’t become a burden. If there is a PR or a win, welcome, but feeling fantastic is more key to me. 
3) I insist somebody misplaced the 2-mile marker. There is no way that I can run 7:12 at 84%. There is no way I can run 7:12, period.

Cinco de Mayo, Snoqualmie - Got a PR and the division
With Eric Hanson
With good friend Benny Benefiel
Tacoma City Half Marathon - Got a PR and the division
Half Fanatics Crew
With Prez MM#1 & HF#1 and Sharon "THE" Bad Ass
With beautiful Kristen and her baby!
With mi amigo El Grande Pedro Infante. Marathon time 3:18
With great friend Ginger Gruber. Marathon time 3:22 - 2nd Overall Masters, 5th Overall, and a role model !!!
One of the best runners in the PNW - Miguel Galeana

With friend Susan from the other side of the mountains
Celebrating at the beer garden with the fantastic Butler Crew


Sharon Sha-Run Butler said...

I ♥ you!

Ginger said...

"And good race doesn’t mean to PR or win, it means that you feel good, and the race doesn’t become a burden."
Amen, sister! 2012 is the year of victories for you <3 ngleighl oe

Backofpack said...

And you didn't mention this today on our run? You can do it - shoot for the sun!

Petraruns said...

YOu are amazing. AMAZING Lizzie Lee - you just get faster and stronger and better. Amazing. Inspiring. Thank you - thank you also for your email re nutrition - I will respond.

Girl girl girl. The only thing I will say is that you CAN do a 7:12. Maybe not for an entire race but you of all people should know that anything is possible....