Update: I had this post scheduled to go out this morning, but had to come back and make an update after the tragedy in Boston yesterday. I am deeply sadden by everything I am hearing out of Boston and my prayers go out to all those injured or killed. My hearted is buoyed by the sights and reports of runners running back into the chaos to help the victims, donate blood, and simply pull together as a community. It gives me chills to think that if not for 12 seconds last March, we’d probably have been there today. If you have a race shirt, wear it today in support of the victims.
Race 1: Martian Half Marathon
About two weeks ago, I won a free entry to the Martian Invasion of Races from the Refuel With Chocolate Milk group. With a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and marathon available, I ended up deciding on the half marathon. Part of me wanted to do the full, but I knew that there is no way that I would be 100% ready so I decided to play it smart. In the end, it was a really good decision.
My goal for this race was to simply use it as a training run. In the back of my head, I had a plan of shooting for a 7:30min pace for the first 7 miles and then picking it up to 7:00min for the final 6. However, once I got started, that quickly changed. I logged a 7:04 for the first mile and felt great. I tried to reign it in for the 2nd mile, but my split was even faster. So, I decided to just go with it.
I was cruising along and feeling great. I ran with the same couple of guys pretty much the whole race. We traded spots back and forth every so often. It wasn’t until mile 11 that my legs started to feel tired. At that point there was no way I was going to let myself slow down though.
I ended up finishing in 1:31:06 (6:59 average). 57th out of 1953 overall and 8th out of 83 in my age group. This actually goes down as my “official” half marathon PR. My unofficial half marathon PR is the first half of the Woodlands Marathon last year where Jeff and I did 1:29:XX. But this is my fastest stand alone half marathon time thus far.
As for the race itself, I really enjoyed the course this year. They had to make a last minute change to the course due to flooding. Typically, the course is a long out and back. With the change, we instead weaved through some neighborhoods and loop around different areas. It was a much more manageable course and much more spectator friendly in my opinion. The only problem with the changed course is that the full marathon racers started an hour and half or so before the half marathon and did two loops of the course. This meant that as we were starting, the full marathoners were starting their second loop. I felt so bad for them because all of a sudden they had hundreds of people with fresh legs zipping by them. In their shoes, I would have been very demoralized. Overall, it seems like this race has grown a bit too big over the past couple years since I last raced it. With all the events, it just seemed super chaotic at time. Granted, they did their best to keep it organized, but it still seemed like a lot was going on.
Race 2: Fisk Knob Time Trial
The 2nd race of the weekend was the Fisk Knob Time Trial. I raced this last year and was anxious to get back out there and better my results. Unfortunately, the course changed this year and it was only 15 miles instead of 17.5 so no direct comparison. Plus, the weather this year was much less conducive to fast racing than last year – barely above freezing with blowing wind.
After layering up in as many layers I could stand and still be able to move, I started to do a warmup. That is if you can really call it a warmup. I was FREEZING. I spent about 20 minutes riding around to get comfortable. It also gave me a chance to test out my new wheel cover. I was a bit hesitant to break it out for the first time on such a windy day but after 20 minutes, I knew it wasn’t going to be a problem.
Right out of the gate, I started to hammer it. I knew the wind was going to be at my back for the first half of the course so I decided to just go with it. I caught my first rider about 2 miles in and then set my sights on the next person.
Before I knew it, I hit the halfway turn around. I knew that the 2nd half of the course was going to be tougher with the headwind and that it had a lot more uphills to make up for the downhills on the first half. I dug deep and just focused. A few miles later and I was making the final climb to the finish line.
I ended up finishing in 39:10 which earned me a podium spot in the Cat 5 division – 3rd out of 40.
Yes, that is snow. It freaking snowed after I was done.
And on top of that, I won a 6-pack of New Holland Monkey King beer in the raffle! Double win!
Stay tuned for a review of our new bike rack. Short review… I LOVE IT!