Run for the Zoo Half Marathon
Part Two of our double race weekend was the Run for the Zoo Half Marathon in Albuquerque. It was a beautiful morning for a race! The course started and ended at the zoo, and looped around on the Bosque trail along the river. I heard a runner behind me say, "Just seeing water gives me energy. If it can keep flowing, then I can keep flowing." (Love it!) The trees provided a lot of shade and the course was entirely flat. For someone who loves hills (me), the flat course was boring at times but I was able to maintain a strong pace and never felt short of breath. I stayed under a 10 minute/mile pace for the first half of the race, then got a second wind at mile 7, which I have NEVER felt in a race before. (Usually my only second wind is the sprint to the beer tent after a 5K...) I was a little nervous about picking up the pace with 6 miles left to go, but I went with what felt good and was able to increase my speed and pass a few people. There were very few spectators until the last couple miles, and then it was pretty chaotic and energetic at the end with the 10K in progress at that point too! I finished strong and set a new PR at 2:08:59, blowing my goal of 2:15 out of the water!
This was my third half marathon in the past year, and I've been focusing a lot on the right food and hydration for long races, as well as core strengthening and cross training for injury prevention. I had a good training season. I took all of January off from running to focus on Bootcamp, and I recently started a TRX resistance training class. I did a lot of cross training with spinning and biking, incorporated speed and tempo runs into each week, and dedicated myself to long Sunday runs. It definitely wasn't always easy to fit in workouts (yes, I didn't skip any!) between buying a house, packing, moving, and projects, but for me it's a matter of making exercise a priority, not a choice.
"Workouts are like brushing my teeth; I don't think about them, I just do them. The decision has already been made." Patti Sue Plumer
After the race I struggled with my normal issues with stomach cramps and sickness for several hours, so I still have a few things to figure out in terms of hydration, fuel, and cooling down more effectively after long runs, but I was really ecstatic about having ZERO knee pain AND beating my goal time! And now that my big race is over, I look forward to having a few weekends free for farmers-marketing, brunch-ing, and sleeping in!