September 15, 2011

Tunnel to Towers 5K

Ok. Before I get into the meat & potatoes of this post, I just want everyone to know that I really do love America. Just like all other Americans, my life was impacted by 9/11 and that day is one that I will never forget. It definitely made me appreciate my freedoms and the valuable things (loved ones) in my life. I am also appreciative of our military and grateful for the sacrifices they made and continue to make for our country. And now begins the race report. This is one of those races that I would typically stamp as *FAIL*, but because of its patriotic nature, I will rate is a tad higher and will likely be back if they do this race again.

The course was to run from the USS Mobile/Battleship Pkwy, through the Bankhead Tunnel, and wind around downtown to finish. They were to close the tunnel three hours prior to the race to let it "air out." This tunnel is never opened to pedestrians. The battleship was keeping its regular opening time, and parking was limited, so they shuttled people from the finish to the start. *FAIL #1*

Despite arriving more than an hour and a half before the race, we waited an HOUR for a shuttle. They had 2 school buses for over 1500 people, plus spectators. Then because of porta lines (same problem), I did not get to warm up AT ALL *FAIL #2* Insult to injury was that I was in the midst of a 95 mpw. A warm up was not just wanted, but NECESSARY!

They announced that there were delays and we would be starting late. It really started to heat up. Then all of a sudden- "Read, Set, Go!" Neither of my pacing guys were on the line; they missed the start. That meant I was on my own. Because of the messed up start, etc my Garmin didn't start and didn't even have satellite. So, no knowledge of pace or even overall time. *FAIL #3*

I fall in behind a group of about 6 marines that seem to be running about my pace. My legs are like, "What the heck are you doing?" I've already run 83 miles for the week and I'm trying to blast off low 6s with no warm up. OUCH! I stay with them and we enter the tunnel. I was prepared for the steepness of this thing, but not the air quality. It was like getting a plastic sack put over my head while trying to run. SOOOOOO humid. I was gasping for air. Coming out of the tunnel, however was the highlight of the race. I had been briefed on the course, and knew this was about 1.6- 1.8 into the race, but didn't know for sure. There were no mile markers and no clocks. I got to the top of the tunnel and felt a cool blast of air. This was actually 80 degree and humid air, but felt awesome compared to what was inside there. A huge American flag was hanging from fire trucks and people were going berserk. They were waving flags and screaming like I was a rock star. Apparently, I was first female. The marines had broken up a bit, and I passed 4 of them on the tunnel exit. I heard so many, "Go girls!" here that it made me smile and I finally felt like my legs loosen up a bit. I started to pick it up, and still had no knowledge of where I was on the course distance or pace wise. I was hoping low 19s, but had no idea. I passed so many people on the last portion of the course. I ended up passing TP and another guy from our club. Even when I finished, the clock was so low that it was hidden by bushes. I had run 19:44 for Overall Female.

Very crappy time, but considering the race circumstances, and my own conditions with mileage, no warm up, etc, I will just take the overall win and be happy. We waited and waited and waited afterwards for the awards. My friend went and asked and they said there was only ONE award and that was for the first overall finisher, like the male. I knew the team competition was big (which my team won, btw), but I did think that was slightly unfair to only award the first PERSON. Then again, I have beaten men in the past. So... I had mixed feelings. We just left. I told a few people from the club about this, and they encouraged me to email the RD to be sure b/c the flier said overall male AND female awards. Before I could do that, though, one of the club guys had texted her and she said that they DID in fact have something for me. They were just taking a very long time doing the results and we left too early.

So.... in other running news, things are okay, but not dandy. I had a really BAD workout last night. 12 miles w/ 11 at 6:52 on the treadmill. I did it all, but I just felt completely miserable the whole time. I kept thinking that there was no way I could hold that for 26.2. It was very discouraging. In regards to mileage, I am doing an 18 week, 3 week cycle of training. For example, week 1 is 65 miles with lots of speed, week 2 is 85 miles with less speed, and week 3 is 95ish miles with little to no speed. Then repeat 6 times.

Run Happy, Friends!


  1. Ugh what a race! I hate it when stuff like that happens. Racing is hard enough...I shouldn't have to deal with bad shuttles, no mile markers etc. That said, you did awesome (especially considering all the external factors).

    What 3 week cycle are you in? That seems like a lot of race-specific training early on. I'm reading Run Faster and it seems like my big training problem has been doing too much race-specific work too soon. Obviously, you know way more about this than I do, but I just wanted to bring your attention to it.

    Hang in there!! When's the next goal race?

  2. Congrats on the win! Sorry it wasn't the best in terms of organization. The races that started at 8:46 on Sunday morning gave me the chills....

    Don't let that treadmill doubt yourself. My treadmill pace is way slower than my land pace-- your legs tire more easily because of the constant repetition. You know this! :-)

  3. Anonymous9/15/2011

    well at least you won? ;)

    sounds like a big FAIL race but you made do with what you had to work with.

    interesting about your weeks with the training. i know i've been a terrible blogger this summer so forgive me if i missed it (i don't think i did though) but do you mind posting a little more detail on your 6 X 3 week training cycle?

  4. This made me laugh, what suckage! But you made sure to preface it with your patriotism, lol. Dang, not a great race situation but you won, babe! Not that I'm surprised but I can't imagine running that fast without any warmup and no Garmin, no nothing. You're such a rockstar.

    Love the workout schedule! That sounds like a real fun way to do it, get everything in there but have a lot of variety at the same time and keep you from getting burnt out on any one thing.

    Lastly, don't be worrying about that TM workout, it was a TM workout, that's gonna suck by nature. And you know how these things go, next one will be so much better.

  5. Hmmm...sounds like they had their hearts in the right place as far as causes are concerned, but lacking in the race management dept. Ugh! I imagine they can just work out the kinks from here.

    Regardless, yay for snagging another 'W' in your stout training cycle.

    I'm can't wait for the next few weeks to pass...:)