Monday, November 11, 2013
I've slacked on these race recaps, but I want to get caught up so I can write about this weekend's Madison Marathon.
Park to Park Half Marathon - September 7 - 1:59:00 (New PR!)
Just a few weeks after the Pigman triathlon, I wanted to try again to break two hours in the half marathon. My PR was 2:00:47 from October 2011. I'd tried to break two hours in Green Bay, WI in May 2012, but it was a very warm morning (the marathon was shut down about 2.5 hours in) and I finished in a decent 2:06. I knew I wasn't going to break two hours at Pigman, but I knew I had a decent shot with Park to Park since September is a good month for running in Iowa. The week of the race, however, the temperatures started to climb and the humidity crept up. On the morning of the race it wasn't awful, but it wasn't going to be the cool dry morning everyone was hoping for.
My mom came up for the race, also hoping to break two hours. We biked the three miles from my house to the start of the race, and while we waited for the start it actually rained a bit. The was supposed to start at 7:30, but there was a traffic jam getting into the park (there's only one road in) so the start was delayed about 20 minutes, a first for the race, and much to the chagrin of the race director. When the gun finally went off we started off at a good pace, right around 9:00/mile, just ahead of our goal (9:10/mile for a 1:59:59 finish). Around mile four my mom slowed down a little bit but I wanted to keep going in case I had to slow down later in the race. The course was pretty shaded and there was a little bit of wind, which helped me stay comfortable, and more rain spat down toward the middle of the race. During the last four miles I knew it was going to be close so I started yelling at myself in my head like a drill sergeant to keep the pace. I'd started my watch when the gun went off and I knew it took us about 30 seconds to cross the starting line. As I approached the finish line the clock was still under 2 hours, so I knew I'd made my goal. Officially I finished in 1:59:00, finally getting that 2:00 monkey off my back! My mom didn't make her 2:00 goal, but it was fun to do a race together and we enjoyed the post-race party before biking home.
Tutor Trot 5K - September 28 - 23:50 (New PR & female winner!)
This was a small 5K that a friend of my invited me to run. It was for the Job Foundation, which teaches metro area students financial literacy. Since it was for a good cause and there was a chance I could place in my age group, I decided to do it. I was in the middle of marathon training so I wasn't sure how fast I would go, but I thought I might be able to shave a few seconds off my PR. Clouds were looming on race morning but we hoped they'd hold off until the afternoon.
Once the race started two females darted ahead of me - a woman around my age and a middle/high school age girl. I passed the woman pretty quickly and let the girl pace me for the first half mile or so, then I was able to get past her. I was 6th when I hit the turnaround (I was surprised there wasn't a volunteer there - but then again, this was a very low key race), and soon after I turned around it started to downpour. It was raining almost sideways, which wasn't fun, but the it was warm enough that the rain was refreshing, so that was nice. I passed the runner ahead of me with a few yards left and ended up in fifth place overall and the first female finisher. I also PR'd by almost two minutes, from 25:37 to 23:50, which I was not expecting at all! My first mile was around 7:20 and my last was 8:00, so I need to work on keeping my pace steady, but it was a very very good day, even with the rain!
Running Village 10 mile(ish) - October 12 - 1:34:31 (New PR!)
The running community in Cedar Falls is pretty awesome, and last year the guy who runs one of the running stores downtown organized a 25K/50K trail race. This year they changed the route and offered three distances - 10 miles, 20 miles, and 50K. I was scheduled to run 14 miles that week (in between my 20 mile weeks), so I decided 10 miles on the trails would be a decent equivalent to 14 miles on the bike path. I planned to take it easy and enjoy the change in pace since I'm not a trail runner, but my body preferred to go at a 9:00/mile pace. I trust my legs over my watch, so I stayed with what felt good, and ended up finishing in a little over 90 minutes (the course ended up being almost 10.5 miles). The best part of the race was getting a pint glass rather than a finisher's medal. The post-race party was held at a brewery down the street from the store, and the first beer in the glass was free! At the party I chatted with a few people who have completed Ironman races (this was the day of the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii), so that was inspiring as I thought ahead to the Madison Marathon and farther ahead to my Ironman goal for 2015.