Oct 04

Race Report: Brooksie Way Half Marathon

Day Before

On Saturday, we headed across the state for our stay with Jennifer’s family.  We hit up the expo on the way and then grabbed lunch at Red Knapp’s in Rochester Hills.  It is a fun old fashioned diner (think black and white checkerboard tiles, red vinyl stools) that has fabulous burgers, fries, and milkshakes.  It was a late lunch, so we were starving and the food disappeared rather quickly.

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After lunch, it was time for some Saturday college football.  I was able to catch the tail end of the UofM – MSU game.  MSU somehow pulled out an upset in the final minutes which led to some colorful language.  After that, it was time for the big game of the day; Notre Dame of course.  I was able to watch the first half live before we headed out for B’s soccer game.  Thankfully, I was able to watch most of the 2nd half on my trusty iPhone.  As with their past 3 games, it came down to the wire with ND pulling ahead in the first OT.  YAY!

After the soccer game, we headed to Buddy’s Pizza (one of the top 5 pizza places by the Food Network in 2003).  I probably shouldn’t have had the third helping of antipasto salad.  Or that 4 slice of pizza.  But I did.  And I was stuffed.  Possibly not the best pre-race food, but I never turn down pizza of any kind.

Pre Race

We woke up at 6:00 AM and we were out the door by 6:30 AM.  It is much less stressful to do a running race than a triathlon.  No transition area to setup and a lot less gear.  Despite less stress, my stomach was bothering me from the moment I got up.  Let’s just say that between waking up and the race start, I visited 4 different bathrooms.


Traffic was a little backed up when we arrived at Oakland University, but we got there at about 7:00 AM, so we weren’t in a big hurry.  They had plenty of parking on a grassy field, but this led to walking through the wet grass and getting soggy feet before the race even started.


The weather was a typical fall Michigan day.  Temperatures were in the mid 50’s and it was overcast.  We had a bit of rain on the car ride, but we didn’t get any rain during the race.  It remained fairly cool the entire race, but there really wasn’t any wind or anything so once I got moving, it was comfortable.

IMG_4534 Trying to stay warm before the race start.

Miles 1-5

I was really worried at the start of the race that I would have stomach issues and have to walk.  So, I decided to just go out fairly easy and play it by ear.  As soon as the race started, I immediately started to feel better.  My stomach still felt a little funny, but not to the point where I felt like I needed to find a bathroom.

About a half mile in and already starting to find a groove.

A “video” of the photos Jennifer took of my as I approached the half mile mark.

Within the first mile, I settled in to a decent pace.  I found a couple running together who were holding a consistent pace and I fell in behind them.  I had hoped to avoid looking at my splits during the race, but it seemed like every time I passed a mile mark, I would hear someone around me calling off their splits.  Thankfully, the times I was hearing were in the 7:30’s/7:40’s which is ahead of what I was shooting for.

I skipped the first aid station and then started grabbing water or Gatorade at every other station.  I probably didn’t get as much water as I should have because I had a headache after the finish, but I was worried about too much fluid upsetting my stomach.

Miles 6-10

Miles 6 to 10 were tough.  It was almost completely uphill.  Long, steady hills.  I was still feeling good, so I pushed forward and paced up the group I had been pacing off of.  These miles were obviously my slowest miles pace-wise, but I feel like I gained a lot of ground and passed quite a few runners during this time.  I ran with a couple of different groups over the 4 miles but didn’t want to settle in with anyone for too long.


Miles 11-Finish

I was feeling absolutely amazing at this point.  The majority of the hills were behind me.  There were a couple of small inclines, but it was mostly downhill.  I ran miles 11 and 12 with a guy from the area.  He helped me push a 7:12 pace for the two miles.  Once I hit mile 12, I took off for the last mile.  I gave it my all and knocked out a 6:48 13th mile; my fastest mile!  Overall time: 1:37:33 for a 13 minute PR!  I couldn’t be happier.

Despite how this picture looks, I really was sprinting (and not prancing) towards the finish.

Post Race Thoughts

I really feel like I ran a great race.  I managed a 2:47 negative split despite the 2nd half of the course being hillier than the first half.  I am almost wondering if I should have gone out a bit faster, but I am glad I took it easy in case I had stomach problems.


I realized that I forgot my race number belt on race morning.  I love the number belt and having the number pinned to my shirt just felt weird at first.  I’ll have to make sure it gets on the packing list for next time.

Course Review

Overall, this was a great course; even with the hills.  The hills definitely made it a challenge, but there was just as much downhill as there was uphill.  The course include both roads and dirt trails.  The dirt trails were firmly packed and well groomed.  I actually felt faster on the dirt than on the road which usually isn’t the case.  The course was well patrolled and closed to all traffic.  They had plenty of aid stations (roughly every mile or so) and some on-course entertainment.

Goodies & Expo

We hit the expo up on Saturday.  We didn’t spend much time there, all I really wanted to do was pick up my packet.  Unfortunately, the expo was set up like the line to a bank teller, and the only way to get to packet pickup was to weave our way through the crowded aisles.  I am sure this was on purpose so that the vendors got lots of traffic, but I just wanted to get in and out.

The goodies themselves were well worth it.  This race actually paid for itself with the coupons in the packet.  There was a coupon to the Hansons Running store for $25 off a new pair of Brooks shoes plus free Brooks HVAC gloves ($36 MSRP).  I was in need of a new pair of my Brooks DYADs anyway.  Goodies also include a great Brooks tech shirt and a cool  finisher’s medal.


As for post race refreshments, they could have better managed the food to ensure that enough was left for the half marathoners.  There was a 5k run prior to the half marathon, and Jennifer saw lots of runners walking off with boxes of donuts, bunches of bananas, and handfuls of vitamin water bottles.  By the time the half marathoners started to finish, they had been cleaned out – very unfortunately.

IMG_4607 IMG_4611

Other Notables

The men’s winner was former Olympian Brian Sell with a time of 1:06:27.  Brian is part of the Hansons Brooks Distance Project which is located in Rochester Hills, MI and aims to train runners to get the US competitive in the Olympics and International races.

There was also this guy (below) who dribbled 3 basketballs the entire course.  He ended up finishing in about 2:15.  Not sure what possesses someone to do this, but more power to him I guess.  Not everyone can say they have run a half marathon and even fewer can say they did it while dribbling 3 basketballs.


Final Results    

Total Time: 1:37:33
Overall Place: 158/2463
Gender Place: 144/1201
Age Group Place: 14/83
Split: 50:10 (47:23 N/S)!
Pace: 7:26

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2009/10/04/race-report-brooksie-way-half-marathon

2 pings

  1. Ironman By Thirty » Blog Archive » October In the Books

    […] The two highlights from October are the two running races I had.  The first was the Brooksie Way Half Marathon were I PR-ed with a 1:37:33.  The second was the Grand Rapids Marathon which was also a PR of […]

  2. Ironman By Thirty » Blog Archive » Race Report: Brooksie Way Half Marathon

    […] Well, I was lined up for the start when my stomach grumbled.  Oh no.  Not again.  Last year was a GI disaster before the race.  I toyed with the idea of running to the port-a-potty for one last quick visit, but with only […]

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