Well, I’m just sitting here resting the legs because once again, the road is beckoning me. Yes, it’s time for my fourth half marathon of the season and more importantly, the third since August 20th. If you recall, the last post from me chronicled that endeavor. If you happen to be good at math, you are probably thinking thumb 13.Wine, 2 ummm and index finger tomorrow’s run. One thumb + one finger equals … wait a minute… wait a minute… use some new core math techniques and carry the pinky .. HEY, THAT’S ONLY TWO races and he just said it was THREE. First off, congratulations on your STEM training. You are correct, I am a race behind – shall we remedy that … of course.
Hit the jump to read about the race recap.
Last Sunday I ran the IVS Half Marathon at Springdale Cemetery in Peoria, IL. Correct, only 6 days before my Half tomorrow. The way I see it, if you are planning to run 13 miles anyway, you might as well get a medal for it ha! Wish me luck in getting through that tomorrow – last year didn’t go so well, so time for some redemption (link here). Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves and get back to the focus of today’s post. This was a solo race for me. No fan club since Linda was at a dog show and my running friends were not ready for the Half distance and actually not even the Quarter so they opted out. Clearly a lot more fun when you can share the moment with others. Just me and the pavement… err more like the rocks and dirt seeing as how the course traverses on some badly torn up pavement. I heard one new entrant asking a friend if this was a trail run less than a mile into the course.
Truth be told, I do have an advantage on this course. It is a hilly nightmare for the unprepared, but this happens to the same course my friends and I try to run every Sunday for our training runs. I know every damn inch of that course, every incline and every decline regardless of how slight it is. More importantly I do not have to trouble myself getting lost because that course can get extremely confusing. Remember the first time I ran it thinking there was no way I was going to be able to get through it. Not having to worry about that, allows me to relax and focus on strategy. My approach to this race is consistency – keep a steady pace regardless even through the 6 nasty hills (three major hills on each of the two loops) and set your sights on the next person in front of you. I would bring myself up right behind the next runner, hang there for a bit to catch my breath and then push on past. A special boost always comes when someone breaks on the hills – yes, all that training pays off again. That is how the race pretty much went until somewhere between mile 10 and 11. That part contains the last two major hills in the race. Got an extra boost having pulled up to a much younger guy and gal on the second to last hill. The guy broke 30 feet up the first hill opting to almost stop. The gal backed down to a walk, but kept moving. That left me pretty much alone as far as seeing anyone ahead of me. I hit the last major hill and tried to keep the legs churning as best I could. They were definitely getting tired now, but after that there was only a much smaller incline before taking relief on a very long downhill. After that hill was conquered started feeling pretty good – then I spotted a pony tail swinging back and forth some distance ahead. Interesting, a new goal.
Started pushing the legs to start chewing up the ground. Push, push some more, push some more – What the Hell!?! To my surprise I was not gaining any ground on her even on the downhills I wasn’t making headway. There was a long straight part that allowed me to get a better look at my target. I distinctly remember saying to myself “Is she even sweating?” Can’t believe I have ever witnessed someone so late in a long race still looking like it was effortless. That damn pony tail just went back and forth taunting me. Okay, there was a little over a mile left, I can push it even more. Still no luck eating any ground between us. And that is exactly how we finished – me bathed in sweat and she looking like it was a pleasant walk in the park. I know when I’ve been beaten and I was beaten – hats off to her.
This late race competition ended up working out well for me. Came in 13th overall for the half marathoners. You can see Kate ahead of me.
Better yet, turns out that I actually placed in my age group 45-54.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t a nice stone tile award like there was in the 13.Wine race. Nope, just a basic ribbon reflecting my position. Note, the first place finishers did get a nice trophy. Oh well, I know what it took to earn it and that is all that matters.
Once again I gave my sweat to the running gods. Another year and another six hills under the belt. Let’s hope things turn out equally well tomorrow night!
Take it easy everyone, time to get some pre-race sleep – probably be back soon with a recap of #3