Well, I ended doing a half marathon this morning. As of my last post, I was still on the fence about whether or not to sign up. In the end, I (we) decided to do the race because we could combine it with a visit to the in-laws. I did this race last year so I knew what to expect – a hard, hilly course. In other words, this would be good prep for my upcoming marathon.
We left on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, we got stuck in traffic immediately after getting on the highway and sat, not moving, for nearly an hour. This ruined our lunch plans and we ended up having to stop at Subway for a quick bite after traffic finally started moving.
We stopped at the expo for packet pickup on the way to the in-laws. At the expo, Jennie ended up signing up for the 5k – she too was on the fence. We quickly learned that we both need to do better advance planning so that we don’t keep paying
procrastination late registration fees. Oh well!
Jennie also found a new shirt to buy at the expo. Now that the weather has started to cool off, she has realized that she has very little cold weather running gear. You won’t hear her complaining about having to go shopping! I found a couple things I liked but ended up just getting a couple Mint Chocolate Gu’s. Haven’t tried them yet, but I have heard good things.
We finally made it to the in-laws for an afternoon of college football and a pizza dinner. I love me some pre-race pizza! On top of that, Notre Dame finally won their second game of the season – it was getting scary there for a minute.
Cold. Cold. Cold. That sums up race morning. It was weird having Jennie run her own race because she couldn’t be my pack mule. So, I had to leave my long pants in the car rather than staying warm and stripping them off at the starting line. I ended up running in a pair of shorts with a layered short sleeve and long sleeve shirt combo. I thought I would be too warm with the long sleeve shirt, but it ended being perfect for the weather.
Now, my one major complaint about this race. All of the race information stated that the race started at 8:00AM. No problem there. 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 10 minutes, I knew that I wouldn’t make it through the line and back by 8:00. So, I stood, and shivered at the starting line. 8:00 rolls around and apparently, the 8:00 “start time” meant that is when they would start doing the National Anthem and all the other pre-race speeches. So, the half marathon didn’t actually start until 8:15AM. Ugh.
On a happy note, marathon legend Frank Shorter helped start off the race. He was doing the 5k after going in for his “160,000 mile maintenance” (aka a hip replacement). This was everyone’s chance to beat Frank Shorter he said.
The gun (and by gun, I mean guy yelling “Runners set. Runners go.”) finally went off at 8:15. I started off a pretty good clip. I was determined to run by feel and not look at my watch at all. However, at the first mile I heard someone say they passed at 7:10. Not a bad start. I figured I would have to slow down a bit though.
The first 5 miles of the course is downhill with some of it on a crushed gravel path. After that, the course turns upward with some killer hills in the next five miles (Known as the “Hills of Tienken”). The final three miles is a net downhill, but there are a couple of up hills thrown in for good measure.
I felt awesome through the first 6 miles and pretty good through mile 9. After that, I started to deteriorate mentally. The hills really wore me out and I just wanted to be done. Mile 10 is a hard mile because it is on a dirt road that looks flat, but is really rutted and pitted with potholes and is a real trip hazard. At mile 11, my stomach, which had been doing fairly well all run flipped upside down on me. I slowed down a bit out of fear of needing a bathroom. Thankfully, the GI issues passed without incident and I was able to finish strong.
I ended up crossing the finish line in 1:34:58 (7:15 pace) for a new half marathon PR earning me 10th out of 107 in my age group! My previous PR of 1:37:33 was set at this course last year.
Jennie had a great race herself. Another PR! I only wish I could have seen her run.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for a belated Saturday Survey and a wrap-up from last week’s survey.
|Age Group Place:||10/107|
|Run Pace:||7:15 min/mile|