Thus, I was scared of this race. The forecast seemed like it could be as bad as 2008 and I was worried. I knew that when I registered for the race that it wasn't going to be anywhere close to my PR, but my coach said that running a half four weeks before a full marathon is good for practicing race strategy, and gauging your fitness. I can't really gauge my fitness from today's race, but I did "rehearse" my race day routine and execution of negative splits.
Race Goals & Strategy
I didn't really have a time goal for this race, more like a prediction. My plan was to go out at a pace of around 8:10 and gradually speed up if I could. I think that if I was dead-set on a particular goal I would have been more motivated to push, so in the future, I will try to actually aim for something. It's just that hot races, especially long ones, are such unknowns to me. So much can go wrong that probably won't go wrong in cooler temperatures.
My mom was tracking me, so I gave her a "guide" on how to interpret my results:
- 1:43 or faster-- Awesome race
- 1:44-1:46-- Good race
- 1:47-1:48-- Okay race
- 1:49-1:51-- Bad race
- 1:52 or slower-- Horrible race
Realistically, I thought I'd be somewhere around 1:45-1:46.
Greg and I drove down on Saturday and got to the expo at around 10:30. The Brooks booth was amazing. As a marketer myself, I was truly in awe of the coolness factor of their booth. It must have cost them a small fortune, but it was obviously very much appreciated by the runners.
|Part of the Brooks "Booth" at the Expo|
I ended up buying both the Adrenaline and the Ravenna because they were 10% off and it would gain me access to the Brooks VIP Porta Potty with running water and supposedly shorter lines. The Rock 'N Roll races are notorious for not having enough porta potties and on numerous occasions I've not been able to use one pre-race because the wait is 30+ minutes.
Greg (who wasn't running the race in objection to the high cost of the entry fee) and I stayed at a hotel about 12 miles away from the start line. My college roommate has a condo just half a mile from the start line so we were able to borrow her parking permit and park in her spot. There was no way I was dealing with the shuttles like I did in 2006 when I was late to the start line. (Yes, this race holds a lot of bad memories for me!)
|Waiting in Corral 3|
I looked up at the sky and realized the sky was overcast. What a pleasant surprise! The forecast was for mostly sunny, which can be detrimental to me. The temperature was about 70 degrees and it was very humid.
I started out at what felt like a very easy pace. I was aiming for 8:10, and I achieved that for the most part. The first mile was downhill so it was faster. After the first mile, I started looking around for porta potties. Or even anywhere I could duck and hide. I really had to go to the bathroom and it was very uncomfortable for me. I couldn't focus on the race at all. My only goal was to find a place to go to the bathroom. Finally, during mile 3, I found a lone porta potty, which thankfully was unoccupied, and quickly did my business. I was back out on the course within a minute. I didn't want to speed up too much after that and get myself going too fast, but I did want to compensate somewhat. I think I struck a decent balance.
Mile 1: 8:04
Mile 2: 8:09
Mile 3: 8:25 (porta potty)
Miles 4 -7
I hit the 5K mark at 25:53, which I knew was on the slower side, but I couldn't help the fact that I needed to make that bathroom stop. These miles were relatively uneventful. My goal was to stay between 8:00 and 8:10. Everything was feeling pretty easy and I was staying relaxed. I had my first honey at mile 3.5 and it went down well. It was very humid and I was sweating a lot, but I was extremely grateful for the overcast sky and I even put my sunglasses on top of my head because I didn't need them.
Mile 4: 8:12
Mile 5: 8:05
Mile 6: 8:02
Mile 7: 8:03
I had been carrying a bottle of G2 the whole time, but at mile 8 I ditched it-- still 1/3 full. I felt plenty hydrated and was tired of carrying it. My next honey came at mile 8.5 and that went down easy. This is my least favorite part of the course. It's just running around a military camp and it's boring and seems to go on forever. At one point, you can see runners about half a mile ahead of you and they seem so far away and it's mentally tough.
During this portion of the race, I stayed strong by remembered how horrible I felt in 2008 and that I was much stronger now. I was thankful that I wasn't bonking and everything felt pretty good. Things were getting a little harder for me at this point, but I didn't really start to feel like it was race effort until mile 10.
Mile 8: 8:02
Mile 9: 8:06
Mile 10: 8:02
Miles 11- Finish
|I am afraid of this race!|
During the 12th mile there was a bridge with a notable hill. I remembered all the CAR hill workouts and could hear George's voice telling me to use my arms and keep of my form. I only slowed slightly on the hill and then I flew down it. Unfortunately the race course was still crowded, so I wasn't able to "fly down" as fast as I would have liked. I saw Greg at mile marker 12 and he got everyone around him (including the cheerleaders) to cheer for me.
The last mile was when I decided to give it my all. I pushed hard and focused on getting to the finish. I ran through some misting stations on the boardwalk, which made my sunscreen get in my eyes. I had trouble seeing at this point, but I just pressed on. I knew where the finish line was so I looked straight ahead and pushed really hard. Now was the time to make up for that porta potty stop!
Mile 11: 8:02
Mile 12: 8:05
Mile 13: 7:44
0.23: 1:37 (a 7:00 pace)
Shortly after crossing the finish line, the editor of Washington Running Report started interviewing me. She saw my Capital Area Runners top and immediately knew I was on George's team. She asked me a bunch of questions, and I wasn't all that coherent, so I hope I answered them well. She also took my photo, so I think I should be in the print magazine or the online site. I'll post a link to this blog post if the article shows up online.
Greg and I reconnected and found a shaded area to relax in. The sun did make an appearance during the last mile, but thankfully no sooner.
I'm very pleased with how this race turned out. It wasn't my "A" race-- rather a tune up. I do think I could have run it a little bit faster and pushed harder earlier, but I'm glad I didn't kill myself because I still want to put in a solid week of training next week. My time is what it is. Nothing spectacular, but I put out a solid effort and executed my strategy as planned.
My official finish time was 1:46:44 with an 8:09 average pace. My Garmin clocked 13.23 miles at an average pace of 8:04.
I placed 51 out of 1097 in my division (top 4.6%)
I placed 230 out of 6385 women (top 3.6 %)
I have another tune up race in just two weeks-- and 8K. If the weather isn't too crazy I'll be going for a PR (sub 36:45) and ideally run a 7:15 pace.
Just four weeks until Milwaukee Lakefront!