Monday, March 17, 2014

Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon Race Report

 Happy Monday Everyone!

It seems like the whole world raced a half marathon yesterday. I wasn't so sure I had it in me. But I ended up doing Wrightsville. I love the race. I love the people, the town. It's always a great race, even on days like yesterday when I totally tanked it. Tank as in worse than a training run. UGH!

I wish I could say: I failed because of X. But I can't because it's not so simple, at least to me. But after much thought I think it was a combo of:

*My 10th (or around there) 95 mile week. Actually, I taper down to 91 by skipping a double. I really thought it would make a difference.
*Running my easy runs slightly sub 7 in the week prior.
*Being too cocky and thinking I could do it all.
*Giving up at mile 1 because it wasn't what I wanted.

In all fairness, I have been able to kill my tempo workouts all winter. I show up, put my fast shoes on and my legs move. So, I figured I would put the damn flats on and I would go.  Wrong-o!

Let me rewind, because the set up for this race is so excellent that is makes the fail almost delicious!
Legendary Olympian Frank Shorter

I pretty much decided last minute to commit to this race. So I had to hurry to the expo and get my stuff. I knew Frank Shorter was going to be there so I was excited to meet such a legend. He was really cool though. I stood in line and waited. It was almost my turn and I realized I had no idea what I was going to say! Awkward!! I ended up shaking his hand like 3x and gushing over his glory, reciting his races. To which he was like, tell me about you. I'm thinking, who gives a shit! Let's talk more about you!

So he gave me advice on Boston. He actually said trying to PR in WB was a bad idea. That I should save it for Boston. Ugh, not what I expected. But overall, a great experience and cool guy.

While in line I met another runner. We talked for a while. He then said he was the local sports writer for the Sun Newspaper. He asked if he could use me in his Frank Shorter Article. I said yes, after reflecting on all the dorky things I just said. But so cool to be in an article with a legend and my local friend

Dawn also hustled to make it to the expo and just barely caught Frank on his way out the door. Afterwards Dawn and I gushed over meeting Frank. Shortly after, the Sports Writer for The Sun, Dan found us and asked us some more questions for his article. Very cool! Raleigh represents!!
click here for full article

 So I left the expo and I see that Frank changed into shorts and headed out for a run. I had to get all stalkerish and get his pic. I saw him later and told him he was a beast. He chuckled.

Fast Forward to race morning. I had a 4 am wake up to make it to the buses by 6am for a 6:45am start. Not too bad. That went very smoothly. Then I hung out at the starting area for about 30 minutes pre-race and saw some old friends, chit chatted with Frank again and met Melissa. A super cool blog follower who recognized me. We chit chatted. Then someone asked me if I was "the elite" doing the half. They were referring to Laurie Knowles I believe but it was such an awesome question to receive! My ego thanks you repeatedly!

Next the gun goes off. It was a slow start. My first mile was 6:20ish. I was horrified. My first mile in this race is always 6:10ish. My second mile was even slower. I was beside myself. I thought I would click of 6:18's in my sleep. Then suddenly, I coped an attitude and said screw this. I ran the remainder of the race at marathon pace. It wasn't hard. It required zero thought. I figured if I feel like it, I would negative split it. That time came and I was still clicking off 6:35's. My legs wouldn't go. They didn't die.  They just never had it. And in the back of my mind I hear Frank Shorter saying, "don't kill WB, save it for Boston!" My final time was 1:27:23. But honestly, it didn't matter. Meh.

One of my favorite parts of this race is seeing the runners who started at 6:15am working so hard at their slower pace. I love cheering them. I see their fight and tenacity and it inspires me.

So, I finished. I saw the rolling results. I noticed I was first Master. 8th female. 44th overall. 1800 finishers in the half. Quite possibly my worst effort ever. Initially, I was pissed at myself. But later on I took solace in the fact that I ran marathon pace, or slightly faster, for a half. I feel I could have done that for a full.  If this was a regular Sunday I would have been happy.

Afterwards I saw Dawn. She ran nearly 8 minutes faster than expected for the full while looking like she just finished shooting for French Vogue. Go Dawn!! All my friends did well. I left and finished to get 20 miles for the day. Marathon training must push on!

So with that I shrug it off and move on. 5 weeks until Boston! The show must go on!

Thanks for reading!!


  1. That was a good read Laura. Thanks for sharing. Frank looks like he keeps in pretty good shape. I like watching the runners behind me finish also. If I focus on someone and feel their drive and determination it makes me want to cry sometimes.

    One time in a duathlon I couldn't believe this one girl who was very overweight finished the whole thing. I saw her come in after the bike. She was taking her time in the transition. I was next to her watching and wondering if she was going to continue. She had to go out and run two more miles. I kept hanging around to see. When she came back in from the two miles I was astounded. Now I cry when I think about it. Seeing her pausing in the transition after the bike I don't know where she found the strength to go on.

  2. 10 week of 95 mile!!! your legs are tied and need a rest, there was no ways you could race a half... and dropping to 91 isn't a cut back week, 50 or less miles is!!!

    Boston will go well if you remember this as we get closer to the big day.

    Now you are right in looking at that half as a training run for Boston, as you said it was at marathon pace... If you can run half on tied legs as marathon pace, way not the whole way on fresh legs!!!

    Smile you did good.

  3. If you are racing at 6:43 pace and your "easy days" are at "sub-7" then something is wrong. You have been told this before, and for this marathon it is too late, but you have to stop training on a fairly "HARD-hard-HARD" pattern.

    If your PR marathon is 2:55 you can't keep training at 6:50 pace when you are supposedly going "easy". But, like I said, you have been told this before and you feel "you will be OK".

    Your 1:27 indicates a 3:10 marathon, if you run faster than that, that is great I will cheer for you, but you have to rein in your tendency to race every training run. Getting rid of your Garmin would be a good first step.

    But, like I said, you have been told this before and you thought you knew everything.

    1. Hey Michael, thanks for taking the time to respond. I respectfully disagree. Some are those numbers are off though. I was running sub 7 the week prior to the race. Not everyday. It was a bad day for me. End of story. A few days later, I ran a 6:09 paced tempo for 10k. If you roll that into a predictor you get 2:54 marathon shape. And I also did the same tempo a few weeks prior. I don't really care though. I believe in my training. I LOVE what I do every single day. If someone told me the key to a low 2:50 was to run 9 pace for 80 miles a week and then 15 miles fast, I'd say no thank you. I would not enjoy that! Eeeks! I run 7:20 pace very easily in the am and 8 pace at night. I tempo and long run once a week. I feel like I am in amazing shape. I am super happy.
      I know you're trying to give constructive criticism. But shitting on my training a month before Boston just seems mean. Thanks for your concern regardless.

    2. ok laura seems to get her feather s a tad bit ruffled a little easily. for the record laura is bye no means running 6 40 pace on a daily bases or 6 50 pace for that matter.
      laura pretty much has been running 7 20 pace on her daily training run s and at times does a double seccion and second run is at 8 min pace.

      laura also does her tempo workout s at 5k tempo pace which is usually at 6 10 6 15 pace but lately has been at 6 08 pace

      before writesville beach half she was told to go super low mileage do a peak out foe half so to speak. but sometimes you have to let people you coach find things out themselves the hard way and that she did.

      but no way is she in 3 10 shape she will show that at boston she will be ready

      I just think everybody just needs to chill and take a breath.

  4. Thirty + years of marathon running has taught me that it is an experiment of 1. You gotta do what works for you. Keep it up Laura!