I won’t keep you in suspense. I freakin’ nailed it. 2:15:28. An almost-6-minute PR.
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’ll start at the beginning.
I’ve been excited about this race all week long. After last weekend’s shitshow (Thanks, Adam, for the new addition to my vocabulary!), I had to redeem myself. I’ve been stalking the weather like a crazy person all week long and knew the conditions were going to be prime.
Yesterday afternoon when I got off work, I did a quick drive-by to pick up D and we drove to Murray for the expo. It was small, which was to be expected. This ain’t no RnR. But it was definitely worth going to just for the sole fact that I scored some good information on the Murray Farmer’s Market and a farm that sells natural grass-fed beef. I might have missed my opportunity with the CSA, but this is a cool option that I didn’t know about.
Oh, and the shirt! Best race shirt I’ve ever gotten!
So we picked up a map of the course and drove it before we headed home. The course made me even more excited. I know what kind of terrain and elevation I like to run on, and this was it. It was the perfect combination of uphill, downhill, and flat. Lots of rolling hills to charge up and coast back down.
I came home, made the best eggplant marinara you could ask for, and I was in bed by 9:30.
Next thing I know, after only waking up 14,001 times during the night to pee and once to kick D and tell him to quit snoring, the alarm was going off at 5:00. I hit snooze and lay there trying to doze back off and I thought, “What is that noise????” Took me a second to realize it was the wind howling. Maaaaaaan, I really wasn’t wanting to run in the wind today. I cut the alarm off and got up to check weather.com one more time:
I may or may not have uttered a string of obscenities as long as my leg. Are you freaking kidding me with the 28MPH??? UGH!
But I put it in my head that it wasn’t going to psyche me out! It was cloudy! It was cool! And the wind would HAVE to be at my back at some point! It was gonna be a good day!
I had my regular race-day breakfast of a Clif bar, grabbed a stick of Clif Shot Bloks, and we were pulling out of the driveway by 6:00. I mentioned to D as soon as we got in the car that I hadn’t slept well last night and he suggested a 5-Hour Energy Drink. I’ve never tried one of those, and I was hesitant about trying it for the first time on race day, but I thought, “What the hell?” So he stopped in the convenience store and got one for me. I only drank probably 1/4 of it at first just to make sure it wasn’t going to have any crazy effects on me. It didn’t, so I drank about 1/4 more of it. After a few minutes I still didn’t really feel anything so I drank the rest of it. Within 20 minutes I felt great. Wide awake but not nervous. Must remember these things in the future!
Before we got to Murray, I told D he was gonna have to stop somewhere. He was all, “But the race starts in 20 minutes!” It didn’t matter. I had some kids that were BEGGING to be dropped off at the pool.
Ahhhh, much better.
We found a great parking place and I got to the start line with a whole five minutes to spare. But, just like last week, in that five minutes I had to pee again. Good grief, what is it with me and my race-day bladder?! But there were no portojohns at the start. To get to them, I would have had to have gone over a block or so to the building where the expo was. I didn’t want to take any chances. I knew from driving the course last night that there be portajohns on the course and plenty of tree-lined areas that I could use. I did a little stretching and then it was go time.
They started us off in three waves, but even so the beginning was pretty congested. But in my case, this probably turned out to be a good thing. I felt like I was creeping along, but Garmin says 10:05. The congestion probably kept me from starting out too fast.
As I’ve said before, I totally suck at remembering specifics of a race. This is what I remember:
- The volunteers were AMAZING. The race had set up water stations every three miles, but there were random churches, sororities, etc., that had set up stations of their own along the course. Nobody was going to go thirsty on this course. I didn’t bring my fuel belt with me this week because I knew with the cooler temps I would be able to make do with the provided water stations. Turns out I didn’t even stop at any of those either.
- At mile 4.5 I ate 3 Shot Bloks. I almost choked on the first one.
- There was one single portajohn at mile 5 and it had a wait. I passed it by.
- At mile 6ish there was a water station and they were giving away Clif Shot energy gels. I grabbed one on the run but never used it.
- At mile 8 I found myself still holding a great pace, and I actually had a couple of minutes in the bank toward my 2:17 goal. I considered slowing down for fear of bonking. I quickly decided against it.
- Somewhere I think between 8 and 9 there was one more portajohn, again with a wait. Again I kept going. I contemplated ducking behind a tree, but I was afraid if I stopped I wouldn’t be able to regain my pace.
- At mile 9 I ate the other three Shot Bloks. No choking this time.
- At mile 10.5 I realized I was now on my longest no-walk-break run. The farthest I’ve run without walking before was in the Clarksville Half last October. I made it to 10.3-something then. At this point it became my goal to not stop and to run the entire thing.
- Not long after making that new goal I began to question it. Mile 11 was my slowest at 10:45. Luckily the closer we got to the finish, the more cheering and support there was.
- I was giddy when my Garmin beeped mile 12 at me. I knew I only had 1.15 to go (yes, the course description on the web site listed the course distance as 13.15), and I knew that unless I tripped and fell face-first into the pavement (which, let’s face it, is always a possibility where I’m concerned), I had it in the bag.
- I crossed the line beating my goal by a minute and a half.
As I approached the finish line I was combing the crowd for D. I didn’t see him. I crossed the line still not seeing him. I thought I had just missed him in the crowd. I looked around for a couple of minutes and still didn’t find him. I started walking back to the finisher’s tent and spotted him walking toward the finish line from the truck. He went back to sleep in the truck while I ran and didn’t set his alarm to wake him up soon enough. Alas, no finish line photos. I did make him take this picture of me afterwards with my medal though.
|Check out that hair. Told you it was windy!|
By this time, I had to pee like Seabiscuit. I found a locker room inside the gym where we had gone for refreshments and was ecstatic that there was no wait.
There was nothing to hang around for, so I grabbed a bottle of chocolate milk and we started walking back to the truck when I was nearly crippled by a massive killer leg cramp. Right in the shin! Holy crap it hurt! It was almost funny because it was cramped up so tight that it was pulling my foot up into dorsiflexion. I walked it out and since I’ve gotten some fluids in me and stretched some more it’s perfectly fine.
Isn’t it crazy how much difference one week can make? 30 degrees and 15.5 minutes. Let’s compare, shall we?
Temperature at start: 73
Temperature at finish: 83
Liquids consumed over course: 32 oz from Fuel Belt plus numerous stops at water stations.
Walk breaks: Too many to count. First at mile 2 through water stop.
Mile 1: 9:30
Mile 2: 10:16
Mile 3: 10:10
Mile 4: 10:18
Mile 5: 10:27
Mile 6: 11:05
Mile 7: 11:19
Mile 8: 12:01
Mile 9: 13:16
Mile 10: 12:22
Mile 11: 12:48
Mile 12: 12:35
Mile 13: 13:37
Mile 13.1: 1:17
Overall pace: 11:32
Temperature at start: 48
Temperature at finish: 50
Liquids consumed over course: None.
Walk breaks: None.
Mile 1: 10:05
Mile 2: 9:56
Mile 3: 10:12
Mile 4: 10:05
Mile 5: 10:06
Mile 6: 10:31
Mile 7: 10:29
Mile 8: 10:19
Mile 9: 10:09
Mile 10: 10:28
Mile 11: 10:45
Mile 12: 10:35
Mile 13: 10:27
Mile 13.15: 1:30
Overall pace: 10:21
So all in all, I consider today a raging success. I still find it amazing that I’ve taken over 2 min/mile off of my first half marathon time from a year and a half ago. (I’ve gone from 2:42:33 in November of ’09 to 2:15:28 today.) It really makes me wonder what I’ll be doing in another year and a half…