It only took me three attempts, but I FINALLY ran this d@mn race...
and earned a shiny new PR, and medal in the process!
Third times a charm!
Pre-Race: Saturday was spent hitting up the expo and tailgating as responsibly as possible, which sucked because there were so many delicious things I wanted to eat and drink! Afterwards we relaxed the rest of the evening, I slept well enough, and woke up race morning feeling mostly indifferent... until we arrived at the start. Then I got nervous and spent the better part of pre-race in the bathroom. Soon enough it was time to get a kiss from my biggest cheerleader Spike, hug my paparazzi on wheels, Jen B., and swap good luck squeals with Nichole.
|Our awesome spectators|
|Ready to Carpe the crap out of this Diem!!!|
Start Corral: I lined up with the 8 min pace group so I wouldn't blow out my first mile as I've tended to do lately. The start was set up, as always, running straight at the 5k'ers heading the opposite direction on the other side of the street. I love this! I especially loved being on the half marathon side this year, oh yeah, and not walking! I easily spotted Spike with a sign that read: "Rule #1: Cardio" Awesome.
Miles 1 - 5: Running the first mile with the pacers was great, we hit the first mile just under; I thanked them for their services and went off on my own, feeling great. Saw Jen B. around Mile 2 and gave her lots of smiles and waves. We next ran through campus, which didn't look so pretty the morning after a night game. Yikes! I had needed to pee the whole time thus far, so I hopped into a porta-potty around Mile 3.5. When I came out there was the 8 min pace group, I easily pulled away again. At this point we were on the River Trail, a place that always makes me so happy, and I thoroughly enjoyed the "Luau" at the Mile 4ish aid station.
Miles 5 - 10: Just after Mile 6, Jen B. hollered as we crossed over Mt. Hope, it made me think of when we had spectated her hubs at that very spot in 2010. Once in Scott Woods, just after Tim spotted me, I heard someone yelling in the distance and instinctively knew it must be Spike. It was. He's so freaking loud, but pretty much the best spectator ever because of it. I spotted him jumping around with a sign that read: "Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but let's run a half, together maybe." I hate that effing song, so of course he puts it in my head. That's how we motivate each other. Heh. (Remember my HTFU "motivational" shirt for his 50 miler last weekend? LOL!) Rounding Hawk Island I realized the pace was starting to tire me out, but I kept telling myself "you can do it!" It helped to spot friends running towards the island on the other side of the trail. Coming out of Scott Woods my ITB started screaming at me. Dang it. I saw Jen B. again and gave her the "I hate my life" look. Arrived at Mile 10 at 1:19, the same time I PR'd the Solstice Run 10 Miler, still running an overall sub 8 pace.
The last 5k: And then... the wheels came off. My ITB's were seizing up, causing me to have to stop and stretch them out, I was really hot, and just plain tired. By the time we rounded Mile 11 at the Potter Park Zoo, the 8 min pace group caught and passed me. I felt pretty defeated. The remaining mileage was a death march, with the only highlight being the woman who saw me struggling and said "come on let's do this" and kept me going. Finally I spotted Spike & Jen at the turn before the finish chute, screaming their heads off for me. I love them.
Official Chip Time: 1:47:54 - 12+ min PR!!!
A Goal: Sub-1:45 (Sub-8's)
B Goal: Sub-1:50
C Goal: Sub-2 or bust.
B Goal: Sub-1:50
Post-Race: After huffing it in to the finish with all I had left, I went straight for the table of water and pounded three glasses. So thirsty. Some girls stopped to congratulate me and explained they had cheered with Spike out at Hawk Island and how hilarious he was. I cracked up. (This happened a few more times throughout the rest of the morning. Y'all are really missing out not having Spike spectate you.) After that I spotted him and Jen B. and went for hugs. We headed back to the turn to cheer in other runners and friends, and I finally got to meet Jen C. For some reason during this time I kept fighting off bouts of feeling like puking, but was otherwise none the worse for the wear. Soon enough we spotted Nikki, finishing her first half marathon strong! So proud of her! After we collected her we headed over to Jen's where she had a whole spread of delicious brunch made for everyone! Did I mention she's the best?
Post-Race Thoughts: First and foremost I'm so thankful to Spike and Jen for being the best spectators!!! Second, I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am that I FINALLY got to not only run this darn race, but to get that freaking sub-2 hr monkey off my back. Eff you monkey! In hindsight I wish I had just kept with the 8 min pace group, maybe then I could've conserved enough energy to finish with them?! Honestly, probably not, I had gotten too warm with the sun and when my ITB's started screaming it wasn't really a surprise because they had done that during every training run over 10 miles, plus the last two weeks have been really stressful with family drama so I've been feeling pretty worn out in general. Even though it wasn't exactly the race I had hoped for, I still scored a sizeable PR and ran a time I always knew I had in me. I will definitely be back to do this race again because the course is awesome, scenic and relatively flat; the volunteers are great, and local races always rock because you get to run in to, with, and cheer for, so many friends.