Hello, friends! Look at this-I’ve been back to school two weeks, and already I am so thankful that Fridays exist that I did a little jig when I walked out the door this morning. This working thing is rough (<—–sarcasm warning). I actually have to make a trip to Tulsa tomorrow so I’m really looking forward to having a low-key day on Sunday. Those have become very precious of late!
So, in an effort to not fall too far behind, today I’m going to document our most recent half-marathon from a week and a half ago. #8 in our 12 in 12 in 12 was the Rio Grande Lovelace Half-Marathon held in the high desert town of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Dad and I met just outside of Oklahoma City on Friday morning, condensed our stuff into one car, and headed west. Dad was a little unwilling to let summer end so we wanted to make this a mini-trip instead of just traveling for a race. We stopped in Santa Rosa, New Mexico for the night, and checked out a few of the sites around town before collapsing into bed fairly early.
The next morning we got an early start to make the hour drive to Albuquerque. We were excited to to try one of the many Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives places in town for breakfast, and we chose Cecilia’s for a Mexican-style breakfast.
Post-food we drove over to get pick up our packets, and, I gotta tell ya, I think this race wins for best shirts. I love the color, the fit, everything, and I have a feeling we’ll be wearing this one for at least the next few races.
We spent the rest of the day poking around Albuquerque and trying to hold on to that summer vacation feel as long as possible. We called it a day around 7, and I think I was asleep by 9:30. I wanted to be well-rested!
The race was a 6:30 start on Sunday morning which I loved. It was on the small side so we had no trouble parking and finding the staging area for runners at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. After a few minutes and our usual pre-race selfie, we headed with the crowd to the top of a nearby overpass for the start.
The first five miles took us down the overpass and around a large square before leading us back to the cultural center. My legs felt pretty good through the first five miles, but I could tell pretty quickly that the altitude was going to be a problem in this race just like in our July one. I was a little bummed because I knew that meant a slower finish than I would’ve liked, but there wasn’t much to be done at that point.
Around mile three, my knee start griping at me so I took my normal ibprofuen and fully expected for that to solve the issue (like it has every other time). Spoiler alert: It didn’t. My knee nagged at me for the rest of the race.
At mile five, we turned onto a paved bike path that ran parallel to the cultural center for an out and back. The path was 100% flat so we settled in for 8 miles of steady running. Unfortunately, it was hard to keep a consistent pace because my knee continued to aggravate, and it eventually spread to the muscles above my ankles and all the way up my glutes. That, of course, meant a lot of stopping to walk it out.
I need to pause and mention a few things about the race itself. First of all, we have never ran a friendlier race. Since it was an out and back course, we passed a lot of runners coming and going. Almost none of them failed to give an encouraging word or a high five. The difference was palpabale and very cool. Unfortunately, that’s where the positives end. The course wasn’t difficult, but it was boring. There wasn’t much to look at, and, although hills will never be my favorite, I’m come to the conclusion that completely flat races are mentally much tougher. Sometimes you need a hill just to be doing something different! The biggest negative of this race so far were the aid stations. Or maybe I should say, the lack thereof. The ones that were present were well-stocked with Gatorade, water, and awesome volunteers, but there were so few of them! I think there may have been a total of four on the entire course, and I know we went over three miles during one stretch without one. In my humble opinion, that is just not enough, and the lack of water definitely contributed to my lackluster performance.
We crossed the finish line at 2:15:37 which is the third worst time I’ve ever put up. Yes, I had some pain. Yes, there was altitude to contend with. Yes, there was a definite lack of hydration. However, the bottom line is I wasn’t well-trained for this race, and I need to put in some serious work before the next one. The last few races have been on the slower side, and I’m ready to get back to some better numbers. Luckily, we have a good stretch before the September race, and I’ve been nailing training the last few weeks.
One side note before I end: I almost certain the reason I was experiencing pain is because it’s time for new shoes. I have absolutely loved my Saucony Rides, and I plan on ordering another pair next week. Of course, I’m going to shake things up with a different color!
So race #8 is in the books, and we’re headed to Omaha in September. We’re getting so close to #12!