September 24, 2013

Shake and Bake at Talladega Half Marathon

Stolen and revised from Susan in Talladega Nights:
It's because it's what you love, Rebecca. It is who you were born to be. And here you sit, thinking. Well, Rebecca is not a thinker. Rebecca is a runner. She is a doer. And that's what you need to do. You don't need to think. You need to run. You need speed. You need to go out there, and you need to rev your engine. You need to fire it up. You need to grab a hold of that line between speed and chaos, and you need to wrestle it to the ground like a demon cobra! And then, when the fear rises up in your belly, you use it. And you know that fear is powerful, because it has been there for billions of years. And it is good. And you use it. And you ride it; you ride it like a skeleton horse through the gates of hell, and then you win, Rebecca. You WIN! And you don't win for anybody else. You win for you, you know why? Because a woman takes what she wants. She takes it all. And you're a woman, aren't you? Aren't you?

Remember in my last post how I talked about managing everything and being so tired? Well, it kind of came crashing in on me and coach took away my LR last weekend. This left me feeling mad at myself for being such a pansy crybaby, frustrated that I couldn't find another gear of energy and worried that I would crash in burn in yesterday's race. (You know, because one training run is the only indicator of a race performance...) It also left me feeling... wait for it... more rested. Shocking, I know. Hind sight- I hate missing training runs, but sometimes Coach really DOES know best...(Kind of like Mom, but don't tell her that.)

We didn't have a XC meet on Saturday because some of the team had to take the ACT. We did have practice, and I got in an easy 4 beforehand. I spent Saturday running errands and cleaning house. Keith had a fishing tournament; so we didn't get to leave town until 5 that evening. And the drive was much longer than I thought. We didn't get to the hotel until 10:30, and we both crashed hard within an hour. I am usually popping out of bed before my alarm on race morning, but yesterday I had to peel my eyes open and stagger around until I got my bearings. I then did two things that I rarely do on race morning. 1) I took an Allegra D. This is a stimulant, and I think it makes my heart rate a little higher while running. I didn't really have a choice. I've been battling this little sinus thing (nothing major, just some thick green snot, not doctor worthy), and I could hardly breath through my nose! 2) I drank a little coffee. I did have a choice on this, but I was SO tired. I just wanted to feel awake.

And then there was a miracle. IT GOT COLD OUTSIDE!!!! Imagine my surprise when every run I've done in months has been above 75* when I stepped outside to feel 62*!!!!!! It was marvelous!!! I was even kind of cold. Ha. I wore my screen printed Brooks D'lite tank, gray Versatile shorts, pink Pure Flows, and white/black Brooks visor. I also drank my UCan 40 minutes before.

*I knew the course was going to stink, but I chose the race anyway. People told me the course stank, and the course map confirmed this notion. There are just no half marathons around here this time of year, and I wanted to do one. Coach and I didn't really have this marked as a "goal race", but I did want to race and run well. I wasn't really sure of my fitness, the weather, or the course, but I did hope to hit the podium. (Based on last year's times, I felt this was a reasonable goal.)

I started off about 2 rows back from the line. I usually stalk the girls in the front and try to judge how fast they might run. (Haha, don't judge; you know you do this, too.) This time, I just stayed relaxed and thought about what Victor tells me at the start of every race we do together. Ease into it.

The first mile was on the inside lane of the track, and I could immediately feel the slight incline. Nothing major, but I knew it might bother me at the finish when we did 5K on the track.

Mile 1) 6:46
We ran up a steep incline ramp to leave the track.
Mile 2) 6:56 and I'm in 4th place at this point. I'm just trying to stay relaxed and save energy.
So when you say psychosomatic, you mean like he could start a fire with his thoughts?
Mile 3) 6:44
I pass a girl and a guy near me starts walking. We leave the speedway and run up a small, but steep hill.
Mile 4) 6:47
I pass another girl, putting me into 3rd place and the course leads onto a packed gravel trail. The gravel was great, though. It wasn't slippery or too rough. We hit a few rollers and I can hear them calling out the names of the 5K participants. I try to listen for Keith's name, but then do the math and realize he's already finished by that point.
 I'm gonna come at you like a spider monkey!
Mile 5) 6:51
We hit the main road and it is WINDY. I pass 2nd place and 1st is very close. I get on her tail. I make sure I don't run right behind her because I don't want her to think I'm drafting. Haha. I pull up beside her and tell her good job. She immediately slows down, which is pretty confusing. Usually the opposite happens. She lets me gain some ground on her. I try and fail THREE times to get water at this stop. LOL, I'm a newbie!
Mile 6) 6:48
I'm headed back into the speedway now. I head up a VERY steep ramp to run UNDER THE STINKING GRANDSTAND! Yeah, this part really, really, really stank. My Garmin is going berserk, showing me like 11 min pace. I get scared and speed up to a guy in front of me. He immediately asks me if my watch has our pace. I tell him no and we run together for awhile, mostly talking about how this is the dumbest place we've ever run and who in the crap thought this was a good idea? We run down a STEEP incline, only to run immediately up to the upper loop of the speedway, where we can see the track below us.
Mile 7) 7:24
There are two guys in front of us, and the guy I'm running with speeds up. I can tell he wants to catch them. I'm feeling pretty good, and decide what the heck? I'll go. So, we speed up and catch them.
Mile 8) 6:39
Down below a man in a skirt is manning a keg. He screams at me, "First woman! Fast chicks are hot! Can I buy you a drink afterwards?" The guys get a big kick out of that and one guy asks me if I've ever won a race before and where I'm from. We leave the upper track and head down a ramp. The guy in the orange shirt speeds ahead, and Shirtless Guy drops back. I stay with Red Shirt Guy. We run under ANOTHER GRANDSTAND, but this time the Garmin doesn't freak out. We then go down a STEEP TUNNEL and have to run back up the tunnel to the infield track.
Mile 9) 6:57
We catch back up to Orange Shirt and he tells us he's hurting. He compliments me, says I look strong and the three of us decide to try to work together to the finish. The markers are not matching up, and the clocks are off by at least 4 minutes. So basically, I have no idea what time I'm really running because I know mine is probably messed up from running under the grandstands.
We're American, because you're in America, okay? Greatest country on the planet.
Mile 10) 6:41
Red Shirt ditches us, and I can tell Orange Shirt is wanting to slow down. I see Keith as we are about to enter the track for the final miles. Keith is taking pictures and smiling, telling me I'm doing great. I try to ask him about his 5K, but couldn't hear his response. Oh, and then they played Sweet Home Alabama for the ENTIRE FINISH. Um, yeah...
If you ain't first, you're last. You know, you know what I'm talking about? That there is trademarked, not to be used without written permission of Ricky Bobby, Inc.
Mile 11) 6:43
Holy hip pain. The incline is really kicking my butt here. I can definitely feel it, especially on the turn. I try to look back for 2nd female, but don't see her anywhere. (I ended up winning by 4+ min.)  I leave Orange Shirt and have my eye on some other guy in a white shirt that must've really crashed and burned. (I don't catch him, but almost.)
With all due respect, I didn't realize you'd gotten experimental surgery to get your balls removed.
Mile 12) 7:03 Ouch ouch, why oh why are we running on this?!?
Help me Jesus! Help me Jewish God! Help me Allah! AAAAAHHH! Help me Tom Cruise! Tom Cruise, use your witchcraft on me to get the fire off me!
Mile 13) 6:55
Just finishing. They call out my name on the loud speaker which I have to think really hard about because it's my new married name! Haha! Still getting used to that.
Hakuna Matata, Bitches!

And DONE! 1:30:24

I am really proud of how I handled myself mentally out there. The old me would've cashed it in when the course got super sucky. I feel like I stayed relaxed and didn't stress too much about my pace fluctuations. I think this saved my race in the end. I didn't waste energy on things I couldn't control. I used positive self talk, even when I had negative thoughts. It's not BS, guys, it really worked! I also didn't get TOO complacent about my time. I had first female by 4+ min, but I still tried to run a strong race and not get too lazy.

For once, I feel like I might be nearing PR shape. If I can fine tune some things with my nutrition and sleep, find the right course with good weather, I might just be there! It feels good to be running well again. And it feels good to finally have some control over the demons in my head that have been plaguing me since Houston 2012. Things are finally coming together. In the words of Ricky Bobby, "I'm going fast again!" Now let me get out of here and knock on some wood! Haha.

Run Happy, friends!

We'd like to thank you for joining us for NBC's coverage of NASCAR. Coming up next, it's Ice Dancing to the hits of Motown.


  1. Ooowww, my ears are burning!! LOL

    Seriously- this is huge for you!! I am so proud you for connecting with the positive self-talk and you are on the way to seeing the badass that you are!

    It really is crazy how much a difference it makes if you just insert good stuff and kick out the bad.

    Even more so, you rested!! To rehash the movie quotes You are a woman, Rebecca! Yes you are :)

  2. Bwahaha this whole post cracked me up! Help me Tom Cruise! I am going to have to watch Talladega Nights before my next race.

    And AWESOME AWESOME job on getting into a positive mental place. Seriously, that is the biggest step you could take in teh right direction. Your fitness is incredible. Once your mental game gets on par, you will be unstoppable!

  3. Great stuff young lady...I purposely stayed out of the way on this one, not making a big deal of the fatigue, not over burdening you with a race plan, not even texting you to see how you were feeling, not even texting to see how you did. I wanted YOU to figure this one out by seeing that it's a simple process, you lace 'em up, you race, you compete, you fight, you have fun, and, "will you look at that" win!

  4. Nice Race Report! I love it. You did great out there. Way to crush the competition!

  5. You rock my friend! The comment of the guy flirting with you during a race made me laugh.

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  7. Ok, so this is one of my guilty pleasure movies - so quotable! I love the, "If you ain't first, you're last" quote. Meaningless yet true...
    Congrats on a killer half in tough conditions!

  8. Nice run through your race and while I don't know mile times, I know the end time, so I had no idea as to how fast you were running... Then I see you just missed a sub 90. (had to go back and work through your splits) I also have a half coming up and it will be time to race, lets hope I can run well, like you!!!

    Great run, it's alway nice to run people down.

  9. Congrats on a great race and taming the inner voices, that's huge! I'm bad with blogs these days so I'm catching up on your whole life. Love the wedding photos and everything else going on in your wonderful life. Hugs!

  10. Congrats, I almost ran this (glad I didn't, my hip would die). Very entertaining. What is Ucan?

  11. Congrats to you on an awesome, intense race!!
    And congrats on the name change...I've been meaning to tell you ♥♥♥

  12. Awesome!! Congrats and the inserts had me laughing :) Sorry about the hip, really hope it wasn't aggravated too badly. Super proud of you for a great race!

  13. Absolutely loved your race report!! Great job :-)