Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2013 South Coast Half Marathon Race Report

On Saturday, I finished off my "spring racing season" with the 5th Annual South Coast Half Marathon, part of the 19th Annual Jennifer's Catching Slough Classic.  It was a busy spring, with the Eugene Marathon on 4/28, followed by a quick local 5K on 5/4, Hippie Chick Half on 5/11, the Newport Marathon on 6/1 and this half on 6/15.  Needless to say, I'm ready for a little racing break... for a month or so at least.  :)

I wasn't going to do this race because, well, I figured I'd be tired and also it was the same day as my brother's college graduation.  (It turns out his graduation was super long and hot and extremely boring, seriously, both he and my mom said that it was the worst graduation they had ever been too... which is saying a lot because my mom has had 6 kids graduate from high school (probably even a few from middle school too) and 4 from college, 3 this year alone.)  Anyway, I signed up right before I left to run Newport, which was a good idea, because had I waited until after that race, I probably wouldn't have done it.  It's hard to pass up a local race though, especially one that offers awesome pint glasses instead of shirts or medals.

Something extremely rare for me, the day before the race, I still wasn't sure what I was going to wear to run in.  I decided I needed some outside input, so I did a text based fashion show for my mom and sister.

 Ultimately, it was the back and the bright colors of the orange and blue tank that declared it the winner.  Which meant that I was going to do a huge running faux pas and race in a tank that I had never even run in.  It didn't turn out to have too many issues, although the blue band on the bottom of the tank kept creeping up while I was running.
Lululemon skirt (from Ebay)
Merrell Thelon Tank (from The Clymb, great discount... if you want to join, use this link: http://www.theclymb.com/invite-from/LaurieHiggins1)
Asics arm sleeves, Nike compression socks, Brooks Green silence and a Razzy Roo headband
 quite the brand assortment!
Anyway, the race didn't start until 8, which was awesome because I slept in until 6 and still managed to sneak out of the house a little before 7 while everyone else was still sleeping.  I even had a bit of time to take a couple quick pre race selfies.
 Cookie Monster still lives!!!
I quickly picked up my friend Jessica, who was also running the half, and we headed out to the start.  It took substantially less time to get to the start and get checked in than I thought it would, so we were left with over half an hour to just hang out.  Since it was a bit chilly and misty, we opted to sit in the car until my nerves got the best of me and I needed to go for a little warm up run.  With 5 minutes until start time, I decided that a quick trip to the portapotty would be a good idea, so I waited in line (there was only one and when we arrived, it was on its side), behind 3 guys and waited and waited and waited, 7:59, still waiting... finally my turn, luckily the race wasn't going to start on time.  Luckily, despite the fact that it had been on its side, the pot wasn't too bad either. At around 8:03, they finally called us to the start (a chalk line on the road), where the race director, a nice enough older gentleman, proceeded to talk, a bit about the race, a bit about the scholarship recipients and a bit about... who knows what until almost 8:15, when any warm up I had done was completely irrelevant.  Finally, we were off.

I really didn't have any great expectations for this race.  I figured that my legs were probably a bit too tired to PR, so my real plan was to not worry too much about pace and just run strong.  We took off, their were 2 girls and a group of guys ahead of me.  I felt good, but after a bit I looked down at my watch to see numbers in the mid 6 minute range.  Whoa!!  Better pull back a bit or I was going to be hurting, not just hurting, but dying as in the unable to finish sort of death.   The lead girl and a few guys easily kept running in the 6s but the rest of us backed off a bit.  Before mile 2, I easily caught up to and passed the girl in 2nd (a recent high school grad) and just kept cruising at a fairly uncomfortable but manageable pace.  It was a beautiful and fairly serene course, that ran along Catching Slough and some farmland. (After the race, my girls and I went back to take some pictures... I ran phone free.)

There was plenty of animal life for distraction too, mostly birds and cows and a few horses, but also buffalo!!  Seriously, there were buffalo... I totally didn't see that coming.  During the race, they were standing close to the fence, probably trying to figure out what the crazy people were doing.
The course was on a fairly windy road that was open to traffic.  This made it near impossible to run the tangents.  I did the best I could, but by the first mile, my watch was already fairly far ahead and at the finish, my distance clocked in at 13.3 miles.  (My friend Jessica had 13.4)

Anyway, before too long I was at the turnaround (out and back course) and excited to see what/who was coming up behind me.
At that point, I knew there was no way that I was going to catch the first place girl (she was staying nice and strong and killing everyone, even the guys) but I thought I pretty much had 2nd place wrapped up.  Surprise... when I turned around there were 3 girls not too far behind me.  They were being quiet and sneaky, sneaky.  There was no way I was going to let them reel me in however.  It was just the motivation I needed to pick up my pace a bit, making mile 7 the second fastest mile of my entire race at 7:32.

The return trip was pretty good.  I could feel my calves on the verge of cramping at mile 10, but told them not to and was so grateful that it was only a half marathon.  I kept watching my mile splits, trying to decide if I had a chance at a PR and ultimately decided that it just wasn't going to happen.  Mile 11 was my slowest mile, a 7:48, which reenergized me enough to rally for my fastest mile of 7:31 for mile 12.  From there it was just a matter of finishing strong for the last little mile plus, which I did to the best of my ability.

Here is a look at my stats:
I don't know my official finish time, I believe it was 1:41:17 (not a PR, but not a terrible time) and I'm not sure of my overall placing... I think in the top 15 to 20.  I'm not even sure how many people ran the half (there was also a 12K, a 5K and a 1 mile kids run).  I did end up 2nd overall female though (the winner ran a 1:25 something and was just beat out at the end by the male winner who clocked a 1:24) and won my age group (30-34).  I even managed to set a new age group record (old record was 1:47:07) and was surprised to see that the overall course record and 35-40 record was previously held by my good buddy Raina from Small Town Runner.

My friend Jessica, got a PR by 21 minutes and went 8 minutes faster than she was even hoping to.  She also got 2nd in her age group (same group as me).  I don't know what happened to the picture I had of us, so I'll share the one I stole from her Instagram.
They had fruit, cookies and water at the finish line and a nice little awards ceremony, where age group winners were presented with ribbons and the overall winners received plaques.  It was a super small race and although it started fairly late, I felt that it was pretty well organized.  There where water stops at miles 2 and 4.5, which made it 9 and 12ish on the way back.  They were manned by high school kids who were super energetic and encouraging and even brought water across the road to the runners so that we didn't have to cross on the way back.  I enjoyed it being an out and back course.  There were a few high school grads running that were super energetic and offered up high fives on their way back to the start.  Also, with not a lot of crowd support, it's awesome for the runners to be able to cheer each other on.  Overall, I had a great time and will definitely plan to run it again next year.

Oh, and in case you were worried, Cookie Monster survived another race.  He hung out on this rock

behind the portapotty, with a lovely view of the slough, while I was running and was still there when I finished.  I can't believe no one wants to run away with him.  Ha!

When I got home, I was pleasantly surprised by decorations on my door again.  This time, home made medals.  My girls are so sweet.


Heather said...

Love the fish running shoe logo on your race bib! That could be the appropriate logo for just about every running club in the northwest. Some days I feel like I need to be a fish to run in Oregon! :) Loved both the race outfits, but have to admit I would have gone with the totally cool tank colors and back like you did (though I loved the striped skirt of the other outfit too). Very cute! Awesome race and congrats on the age group victory and overall 2nd place!

Heather said...

Oh, and I was happy to see that Cookie Monster made another race appearance. Long live the Cookie Monster hoodie!

Raina said...

Great job, lady!!! This is one of the prettiest courses I have ever ran. I absolutely love it along the slough. Though they could use a few more porta-johns :)

The older gentleman is a super nice guy who has been around Coos Bay for a long time.

Loved the race outfit you eventually chose, and that you held your pace so well with all the longer races you've been doing.
Maybe next year we will see each other there. :)

egb said...

Congrats on the great race. The homemade medals are too sweet!

Marci said...

Your only daughters are pretty awesome, just like their mom.

pepperland67 said...

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