Sunday, December 14, 2014

Santa Hustle Half-Marathon Cedar Point race report

My foot was feeling 100% back to normal yesterday, and for that, I was so grateful! I still ended up having a really lazy restful day--I worked on my new puzzle, and even got it finished before I went to bed. I decided to stop posting my food logs, even though I'd planned to do it for the whole month. It was causing me too much anxiety--and that was on my "good" days! Christmastime is stressful enough, so there was no point in adding to that stress. (I'm not going to quit tracking--just posting my log).

Anyway, my younger brother, Nathan, drove over to my house this morning so we could head down to Sandusky, Ohio for the Santa Hustle Half-Marathon. Sandusky is about 90 minutes away, and the race was being held at Cedar Point, a huge amusement park (which is closed for the season). The weather was supposed to be great for running--43 degrees and overcast. I wasn't really sure what to wear, though. The race requested that we wear the shirts they give us for registration, which is a Dri-Fit hoodie. We hadn't picked up our packets, so I wasn't sure if the hoodie would be too warm or not. I just ended up bringing a smorgasbord of options to change into if needed.

The drive was uneventful. When we got there, we parked and then went to pick up our packets. I love the shirts we got! Lately, I've been requesting a men's small shirt, because I like the fit of them better than women's shirts (I have no boobs to speak of, and an undefined waist). I'm really glad I did that, because I was told that the women's shirts ran two sizes too small this year, and there were a lot of upset women about it. The men's shirt was a little big, but I like sweatshirts to fit loosely. Nathan and I changed into our "uniform" for the race, and ended up deciding to wear the race shirts, even though we'd probably get too hot.


As much as I wanted to be festive, I just couldn't get on board with wearing the hat and beard during the race. The hat was really tight and the beard was uncomfortable, so I just stuck with the shirt.

After we changed, we headed over to the porta potties. There weren't any lines, so we were in and out really quickly. We were going to head back to the car, when a blog reader recognized me! (I wasn't wearing the beard at that time, haha). Her name is Sarah, and she was going to be running the 5K. We stopped and chatted for a few minutes, and then Nathan and I went back to the car to wait. (Hi Sarah! I meant to ask you to email me the picture of us, if you could? It was great to meet you!) The race started at 9:00, and it was only around 8:00, so we had a long time to wait. Finally, at 8:35, we went to use the porta potties one more time, and found that the lines were crazy long.

We figured 20 minutes would be enough time, but when we finally got to the front of the line, my watch said 8:59:32. Cutting it close! When I got out of the porta potty, I didn't see Nathan, and wasn't sure if he went to the starting line or was still in the porta potty. I called his cell, and there was no answer. The announcer was counting down to the start of the race, so I just booked it over to the starting line, and as soon as I moved my way into the corral, the race started. As I got closer to the line, I noticed the big start/finish line balloon was falling down, and it cut us off from crossing the line. We were told to stop and wait until they fixed it.

Nathan called me then, and I didn't see him, but he said he was in the back, and he'd try to catch up with me once we got moving. About three minutes after the official start of the race, they let us go through. I started running, and my foot felt totally fine--no issues at all! I decided to try and run a 9:30 pace, but if I had problems with my foot, I'd just run very easy.

I kept hoping to hear Nathan, but it wasn't until nearly a mile in that I saw him pass me. I called out to him, and he said he didn't recognize me, because everyone looks alike with the same shirts on. I ran with him for a couple of minutes, and then told him he should try to place in his age group. He was feeling good, and wanted to try for sub-1:40, so I told him I'd buy him a beer if he placed ;) He ran ahead, and then I just tried to enjoy the sights.

The first three miles was through the inside of the park, and it was awesome to see all the roller coasters as I ran. I tried to get some pictures, but the pictures don't really do it justice (also, I was running, so they're a little blurry):



That yellow roller coaster in the background is the Top Thrill Dragster.
I'm almost as scared of that as I am of the thought of skydiving.
It goes from 0 to 120 mph in just 4 seconds!


Once we got out of the park, we ran to Soak City, which is Cedar Point's water park. We also ran around a campground. I liked this part of the race, because it was almost like a big maze--there were so many turns that everyone was going different directions, so I spent most of the time looking for Nathan, who I knew was ahead of me. You can see my path in red below:


My pace was great--average pace of 9:30 as I hit the 10K mark. However, I noticed that the mile markers were showing the course as really short. When I would reach a mile marker, my Garmin would read consistently 0.10-0.15 less than that mile. That's happened before at races, but it usually evens it self out at the end, so I wasn't worried about it.

When I hit mile 6.5, I started to feel a little pressure on the side of my foot. Ordinarily, I would've just ignored it, but I was worried about it, so that's all I could focus on. I decided the race wasn't worth pushing myself through injury, so I slowed my pace way down. When I got to mile 7, it was a long, straight, out-and-back until mile 12.


Running along the side of the road made me feel a little more pressure on my foot. The road was terrible, with a big slope and a lot of potholes. It was the sloped asphalt that was making me feel uncomfortable. I still wasn't in pain, but I knew that something was going on with my foot.

The out-and-back part felt like forever! I saw the first place person run past, and then I started watching for Nathan, which was a nice distraction. I was even counting people, to see how far back he was--he was number 102 to run past me. When I saw him, I thought, "Oh, please let the turnaround be just ahead!" but I kept running and running, and it felt like it was never going to end. I saw a sign that looked like it was pretty much made for my eyes to see:


Finally, I turned around at about mile 9.5, and then started running back. The change in direction was nice, because I wasn't on the very edge of the road anymore, and I had a tailwind. When I reached mile 11.5, it was like a switch just turned on the pain in my foot. And not only my foot, but the side of my leg and even my IT band. I wasn't sure what to do--I was a mile and a half from the finish, but the only way back was to actually finish (there weren't any shortcuts).

I took a short walk break, which helped a little, but then as I ran, it kept building up. Ironically, I saw this sign as I was taking a walk break--hahaha!


I reached the park at mile 12, and took a quick picture of the roller coaster skyline.


As I ran/walked/hobbled through the parking lot, I realized that there was no possible way that the course would be 13.1 miles. When I reached the finisher's chute, my Garmin was reading nearly a half-mile short. My official finish time is 2:07:59, but my Garmin read 12.77 miles, so I don't even really count that as my time. But at that point, I didn't care at all about my time! I was regretting running a half so soon after my foot issue.



When I got my medal, it was just the medal--no neck-ribbon attached. I was told that they ran out of the medals with ribbons.


It's a really nice medal, and I emailed the race to see if they'll send me a ribbon for it. Nathan's had a ribbon--he finished in 1:39:59! That was his goal time; but like me, he doesn't really count it, because the course was short. (He finished 71 overall, so he passed a bunch of people after I saw him at place 102).

My foot was absolutely killing me by that point, so we walked (slowly) to the car for the long drive home. We took a different route, which was about two hours, but a nicer drive. When Nathan left, and I thanked him for going with me, he said, "Yeah, that was fun!... ish". Hahaha! That's exactly what races are: fun...ish ;)

When I got home, I decided that I really need to take a break from running and let my foot heal properly. I'm going to take the rest of the year off, even if I'm feeling better. I'll start slowly again in January, but if my foot feels at all sore or tender, I'll give it some more time. Now that I'm home, and I've been resting it all day, it's not bothering me very much; but I would rather just play it safe and make sure it gets better. I think it's a good idea to take a week or two completely off every year anyways; usually, I've done it after my marathons, but since I didn't run a marathon this year, I haven't really taken a break. I think it'll be good for me (although mentally, I may go a little crazy...) ;)


Don't forget, tomorrow is Motivational Monday! If you have a photo of a health/fitness accomplishment that you're proud of this week, you can email it to me at Katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com, subject "Motivational Monday", along with a short description, and I may include it on tomorrow's MM post.

27 comments:

  1. I had two episodes peroneal tendonitis, the first being very painful - I thought I had sprained my ankle because of the pain. Anyway, my primary care doctor referred me to a podiatrist and I ended up needing orthotics for my running shoes. Not the hard ones but these are softer and since then, I've not had any episodes. I do need to get new ones though every so many years.

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    1. I'm glad you found something that worked for you! If I continue having the issue, I'll go to a podiatrist. But I think I just tried to do too much too soon.

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  2. Hiya Katie,
    Just want to throw this out there: I write about athletic shoes for a living (for a worldwide retailer), and expert upon expert (including doctors) have told me that minimalist shoes like your new ones are dangerous and can cause injuries. They also aren't as durable and won't last as long as your Brooks. Just something to consider! Those new ones might have been good at first, but they might now be the cause of your foot pain, or possibly the reason your old injury is coming back. Anyway, no judgement, just wanted to throw it out there :)

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    1. Thanks Raye Lee! I'm not sure if you're familiar with the Altra Paradigms, but they're actually not minimalist shoes. They are just as cushioned as the Adrenalines I was wearing before, but they allow my feet to be in a more natural position. I'm going to be doing a post about Altra soon, but I really don't think it was the shoes that caused the problem. I think it was my poor judgement in adding four miles to my long run over a one week period. I'm going to be much more careful when I get back to running! ;)

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  3. Tit is the season...food logs be damned! My manta: Eat more...run more. I have my ipod, I have my Garmin. I may not be like Ms Zippy, or the Pavement Runner, But it is oh so cold out here and I'm lacing up and huffin' it. So there.

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  4. GREAT job!! What a fun race! Love the beards haha!

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    1. The shirts, hats, and beards were awesome! Several people wore the beard during the race, which I couldn't imagine doing.

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  5. Looks like a fun course minus the foot hurting!

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    1. It was definitely fun! I loved running around the amusement park.

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  6. Tthe rest of the year off of running is a smart decision! I would mad about getting a medal with no ribbon and the course being short. I think I would ask for a partial refund.

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    1. They're going to send me the ribbon in the mail. The short course was a big disappointment to a lot of people--if I had been going for a PR or something, I would have been bummed! But hopefully they'll fix it for next year.

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  7. You so inspire me! I ran (mostly walked) my first 5K in December 2013. This past April, I signed up for the Color Run for October and started seriously "training" in August. I am thankful to say that since August I have lost 20 lbs and ran the entire Color Run in October!! It was a huge accomplishment, but then had a set back with what I think was a shin splint....it was so disappointing not to be able to run/exercise at all while it healed. I went ahead and signed up for the Reindeer 5K for this past Saturday and thrilled to have been able to run the entire thing...slow, but thankfully running and finished in 37:33 with little running beforehand. I LOVE your blog and so thankful I found it!! Great job on the Half Marathon, and hope to one day run one myself!!

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    1. Great job on the Reindeer 5K!! Injuries are terrible, because they are so hard to deal with mentally as well as physically. I'm glad you are doing better :)

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  8. That medal looks like it would be a great Christmas tree ornament!

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    1. The picture doesn't really show how huge it is--it would probably tip over my Christmas tree! ;)

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  9. Katie

    PLEASE take care of your foot ! If you do that...then you'll able to run for years to come : ) Trust me, healing is the far more important !

    Totally understand and support you 100 % on the MIA food logs ... I would of never of been brave enough to publish one of mine ! NEVER !!!

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    1. I want to go into 2015 without injury, so I'm going to nurse it the best I can. It's already feeling much better, but I'm taking at least two weeks off.

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  10. Love the signs during your race, looks like a fun one! I saw cookie butter ice cream at trader joes the other day and thought of you! I bought a jar of cookie butter one time after seeing it on your blog but then it had to leave the house because I got out of control, I think thats a good item for a food safe!

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    1. Cookie Butter ice cream sounds SO amazing--I guess it's a good thing that I don't have a Trader Joes anywhere near me ;)

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  11. Thx for shirt ordering tip for races. I'm doing the Santa Hustle in TX this weekend. Hope to send a motivational Monday blip and pic. Hope my hoodie will fit. I ordered a Womens so will see

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    1. Hopefully you won't have an issue with the hoodie--there were a lot of complaints, but the race said they would let you exchange it in the mail after the race, which is awesome!

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  12. I'm disappointed about the food logs - you don't owe us anything, of course, but what's the point of setting a goal if you don't stick to it? And it would be really great to see how you handle the holidays.

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    1. I really hoped I could tough it out, but it was hard being judged for everything I ate. (The reason for posting the logs was for accountability rather than criticism.) That was on my "good" days, so the thought of posting a bad day was causing me too much anxiety. It just wasn't worth it. Instead, I am exchanging food logs with a friend--I know that she won't criticize me for anything, even if I have the worst of all bad days. That way, I'm still getting the accountability I wanted :)

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    2. Understood! :) I saw some of the comments and they were really judgmental, so I get not wanting to subject yourself to that. Good luck over the holidays! They're such a hard time for me that I've pretty much given up till the new year.

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  13. Just a thought, maybe you can try riding your bike while you give the running a rest (until it snows at least). Or is there somewhere you can swim? A local YMCA?

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    1. My membership to our local recreation center JUST ended, so I may renew it (but I really don't use it much, so I'm not sure yet). I like the idea of taking a couple of weeks off, but if I get too stir-crazy, I may end up taking my bike out ;)

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)