Monday, November 22, 2010

EWEB Run to Stay Warm Half Marathon Race Report (Super Wordy Birthday Edition)

(If you want the super short version, scroll to the bottom...this is really long.)

I really had a hard time getting excited for this race.  I had been dreading it for weeks and probably wouldn't have signed up it if hadn't been for Kim coming down from Albany to race it too.  I'm really glad I did though because it turned out to be a really good race with almost perfect racing weather and I had the opportunity to meet a couple other NW bloggers.  Here's how it all went down:

I woke up bright and early (that's not entirely true, I actually slept past 6am and could have slept longer if it weren't for the need to take care of the littlest one before I left him for the morning), happy to be one year older and further away from my 20's... (really who wants to be in their 20's when you can be a year past 30 and well on your way to 40?)  I still hadn't decided what I wanted to race in, it was supposed to be really cold and pretty rainy and I couldn't decide between capri tights and a running skirt.  When I looked outside to see precipitation free skies, I opted for the skirt, paired with compression calf sleeves and a long sleeve top, which turned out to be a good choice.  Because of the pretty cold weather (and the fact that there isn't anything much less exciting then watching a 13+ mile race) I convinced Dan and the kids to stay home when Kim graciously offered to pick me up on the way to the race.  She got to my house a little before 7:30 and we posed for a couple pre race photos before heading off on our grand racing adventure: 

Kim (trying to be short) and Me (trying to be taller)

Despite the fact that I had (mostly) kept my birthday a secret, Kim had used Facebook some magical power to discover my secret and brought me a goodie bag filled with all manner of fueling goodness.  Not only did she volunteer to shuttle me to and from the race (in my hometown) she brought me a gift... talk about awesome person!!  (Thanks Kim!  You rock!!)

Anyway, after saying goodbye to my kids a million times (once is never enough) we finally got out the door and in less than 5 minutes were at the race. We got a great parking spot (right between the port-a-potties and the start line and fairly close to the finish), walked around a bit, met up with Kim's personal paparazzi, Ken, then hung out in the car with the heater blasting and snacked a bit on gummy bears.

As soon as we got word that ERG & Little Fruit Fly had arrived, we were out of the car for a bloggy meet up and a photo shoot.

Me, Kim, ERG 
I think we were trying to be tough... hmm, maybe we can laugh the competition away.
Me, Little Fruit Fly, Kim, ERG... there were 3 cameras, hence the varied head directions

After a little bit more waiting in the car where it was warm, and a few trips to the port-a-potties (because you can never seem to go enough) it was time to shed some layers and head to the start.  I lined up with ERG, even though I knew I wouldn't be able to hang with her and her projected 7:15's and I think we both should have been a little closer to the front as it was kind of slow go at first.  Once things opened up though, it was pretty smooth sailing.  My first mile (the only split I know for sure) was 7:29, which was kind of speedy since my main goal was to not go out too fast but I felt great so I just went with it.

I ended up running next to some tall guy for most of the first half of the race... we'll call him Darth (as in Darth Vader because from the get go, he sounded like he was dying... he was breathing so loudly!)  Darth and I kind of went back and forth, I was trying to get away from his loud breathing and he was trying to stay with me so we kept each other going.  The first 4 miles passed pretty quickly and effortlessly.  I stayed pretty consistent with my pace except for the couple of times that we merged in with the 5 & 10K runners, it was hard not to speed up with them.  I had a vanilla Gu a little after mile 4 followed by my first real attempt at a water stop (I used my handheld in my last half marathon) and it went pretty well, although I did manage to get water up my nose... guess I need to work on that whole drinking water out of a full plastic cup while running...  I thought I lost Darth for a bit, but then I heard him coming up behind me and sure enough we were back to being running buddies again.  I had written splits on my hand for a 1:45 finish and by mile 5 I was almost 2 minutes ahead of schedule, which I was pretty pleased with.  

Around mile 6, Darth faded off into the distance for good and I picked up my kids' school music teacher instead.  Ol' Teach and I jockeyed back and forth for pretty much the remainder of the race.  I think she was determined to stay with me and I was determined not to lose to my kids' music teacher.  There was a little out and back section between miles 8 and 9 where I had another Gu (chocolate outrage this time).  The water stop at mile 9 was pretty congested because there were runners coming at it from both directions and I slowed almost to a walk which was a bad idea because my quads instantly tightened up, so I ditched the water and got back to running.  Ol' Teach however, did stop to drink so I thought I lost her but it didn't take her long to be back at my side.  

Between 9 and 10 I could feel myself slowing so I began chanting (in my head) "there is no wall, there is no wall, there is no wall" until it became the rhythm of my breathing and my feet (maybe I should have done it out loud, Ol' Teach might have been proud of my musical prowess).  I really think it helped because I was able to pick my pace back up and by 11 had banked almost 3 minutes off my 1:45 pace!  That's when I channelled Emz and switched my talking voices from "there is no wall" to "You've freaking got this" and I did.  In what seemed like no time,  I came to the 12 mile marker and knew it was barely over a mile to the finish, there was no way I was going to let myself fade with only a mile to go and there was also no way I was going to lose to Ol' Teach, so I picked it up a bit and gave it all I had left to the finish.  By the time I saw the 13 mile marker I was all out sprinting (or as much of a sprint as I could muster at the end of 13 miles) and the last little bit to the finish line was a blur.  (It's probably a good thing I left my paparazzi at home because I was going so fast they wouldn't have been able to catch a finish photo of me anyway...)

I happily accepted my finisher's mug (nope, no medal) and finally checked my watch to see 1:42:50... which was just shy of a 4 minute PR for me.  Hooray!  Super speedy ERG found me and we waited to cheer in Kim who was able to run the whole race despite the knee trouble she has been having.  Then the three of us got together with Little Fruit Fly (who PR'd in the 5k... hooray!) for another picture.
Yeah, I was freezing.

Super Short Version:

Despite my whining about the weather, it ended up being near perfect.  I got a PR with a clock time of 1:42:58 (my chip didn't work for some reason, my watch said 1:42:50, so it was close anyway).

I placed:
100th over all out of 463 half marathoners
8th out of 48 in my age group

There wasn't much fan support around the course, although I did enjoy the sounds of 1 cow bell, 1 ghetto blaster,1 flock of Canada geese and 1 lonely bagpiper all positioned strategically enough around the course that it wasn't completely lonely.

I had a great time meeting up with a few other NW bloggers, who also had great races.  All in all, it was the perfect start to what turned out to be a great birthday!  Thanks for all the great birthday and racing wishes!


BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Congrats on your PR! Besides the lack of spectator support I'm glad you had a great race!

Anonymous said...

Awesome job! I hope the rest of your birthday was just as great!

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

Great race report! Congrats again on your PR. Looking forward to watching you finish in May, if not sooner!

P said...

Had to laugh at you running with Darth Vader! I ran next to a guy like that at a 5K - every time I came up on his shoulder, he sprinted ahead so I couldn't pass him, but he was wheezing and groaning sooooo bad. I ended up beating him by over a minute in the end. Yes, I looked him up in the results later. :)
Great, great job on your half - you are such a speedy girl!!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Nice job on the PR and chanelling Em, I'll have to try that.

Jenn said...

Ghetto!! Great race report and congrats on a 4 minute PR. That is huge in a half! Hope you're rewarding yourself!

misszippy said...

Way to go! Really happy for you.

ERG said...

Your RR is hilarious! I can imagine what I woudl do if my kid's music teacher unexpetedly showed up in a race at my pace. Too funny!!

Also, it might be a good thing I am not a tall man, or i might also have been someone's Darth Vader :)

You did SO great!! Glad I met you. :) I am really impressed with how you are doing in running with an 8 month old. So inspiring!

giraffy said...

Congrats on the PR!!

FruitFly said...

Funny - I was 100 out of 213 5K racers, and 7 in my division. So I will pretend I was just as fast as you. HA!

Congrats on your PR! It really was an awesome day for a race. It seemed like the atmosphere all over was very positive and everyone seemed to be extra speedy. Glad you had a great Birthday!!

XLMIC said...

Awesome! Congrats! And happy birthday to you!