I went in to 3M knowing it would be a different kind of race for me this year. Early in January I got a sharp pain in my lower back, Dr. Olson at Performance wellness said, probably caused by too much sitting at a desk (along with some muscular imbalances), seriously? I spent all summer and fall Ironman training and never had more than a couple very minor aches & pains; then I spent December being LAZY and I got injured! Sheesh! Dr. Olson said I could run 3M, but I had to "be smart about it". Ok, I can do that- it's not like I'm Red or something ;)
So 3M goals:
1. be careful and make sure to not aggravate my injury
2. Have Fun!
Kendra picked me up and we got to the start early, which gave me a chance to use the restroom before anyone else and even before a line started (later the lines were insanely long and some people missed the start because they were in line)! Getting there early also gave me a chance to socialize with all my Tri Zones buddies, which was awesome! I've been having withdrawl because I'm not in the training group this winter so I'm not seeing everyone 2 or 3 times a week (I'm telling you, being lazy really isn't that great).
A few minutes before 6:45 we all headed over to the start, Kendra and I lost everyone else and then found Tom. The gun went off at exactly 6:45 this year (no crazy delays like last year!) and we crossed the start just 3 minutes later. Becky found us almost immediately, and Coach Tracy cheered for us just a few feet after the start. It wasn't really cold, but it was drizzly and the roads were wet, I was glad I had decided to wear arm warmers.
The first 6 miles flew by. Becky, Kendra and I stayed mostly together. We saw lots of Tri Zoners spectating along the course. I was taking my planned walking breaks but I kept catching up to Kendra and Becky, sometimes without realizing it until one of them said something. I was feeling great and really happy I had decided to run! Somehow I missed Coach Tracy spectating on Mesa even though she yelled my name "FOUR TIMES" as she told me after the race! Oops! It's really rare that I miss people on the course spectating for me.
Let's see if I can remember everyone I saw out there spectating (sorry if I miss anyone!), there was Coach Tracy, Carolyn, Adrian & Kenneth, Laura, Sarah R., Matt, Drew, Annette, Tom, E-beth & Beth, Leah, Colleen, Jody, and some guy I don't know on a bike who was super excited to cheer on all of us Tri Zoners, at one point he said to me "by now you've already swam, biked and transitioned twice!" Thanks to everyone who came out to spectate- you all make it so much more fun!
Somewhere around mile 6 I felt like maybe my back was getting a little tight, definitely not hurting just maybe a little tight. At that point I wasn't even sure it was real, maybe just a mental thing since I hadn't run more than 6 miles in 3 weeks. Kendra and I got to the relay exchange point at 1:12, I knew if I kept that pace, I could come really close to a PR, but I also knew that would probably be a pretty stupid thing to attempt, being undertrained and slightly injured. By mile 7 my back was definitely feeling a little tight so I slowed down quite a bit. It didn't hurt, so I was still having fun and seeing lots of Tri Zoners out spectating! Linda caught me on Burnet and we ran together for awhile.
I turned onto North Loop and slowed down for the uphill section planning to run the long down hill faster, but when I got to the downhill, running faster didn't feel so good, so instead I took it slower and took the next uphill even slower, yeah that pretty much means walking. I love running down Duval but obviously this year I had to take it slower than I wanted. No big deal. I got to high five more spectators and talk to Jody for a second when I saw her.
A little before mile 12, I was ready to be done. My back wasn't feeling so great and I was starting to worry I was making it worse. Good thing I only had a mile or so to go. Of course, when I got near the finish line I forgot about all that and just had fun! I finished in 2:37:18, definitely not my fastest half, but that wasn't really the goal this time.
I got to congratulate lots of Tri Zoners on their first half marathons and on PRs. Michael from Performance Wellness did a little massage work on my back and made it feel much better, so I wasn't worried about the race making it worse anymore. When I went to Performance Wellness on Monday, Dr. Olson said the muscles felt a lot better. I guess that means I should run a half marathon every weekend!
Pictures coming soon, as soon as Coach Tracy puts them up on the site ;)