Monday, January 23, 2012

Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon Race Report

"I believe I can fly!"

SOOOO, do these tights make me look cold?  Hell, yeah!  Wow, you want to talk about some cold weather, I woke up on race morning and saw that it was only 8 degrees out!  Ouch, this race was so much a better idea last month!  But undaunted, I jumped in the shower and headed out to Topeka for my first ever Half Marathon!  Yup, I joined the 13.1 (+) club!  More on that a bit later!

Well, I headed out to Topeka to pick up my packet, so I got there in about an hour and it had warmed up (!) to 16!  Awesome!  Well, since I was at the start line, I had to drive and park at the finish line, the town of Auburn and then ride a bus back to the start line.  Oh well, at least when I got there, I didn't get blocked in or anything.

After hoping off the bus I naturally went inside (it was still cold, go figure) and stretched and went to pee about 4 times.  Guess I was hydrated for the run!  As I was warming up, I heard a little bit about the course, hills up front for the first half, then not too bad after "Urish" Hill, named for the street.  They briefed us that the photos were going to be at the top of this hella hill (and I used to run the heck out of hills in high school too), so I was somewhat forewarned for it.  Well the best part was for this race was that I was going to PR in it!  That is almost like saying that I am the best writer in the history of this blog, a very small sample size to chose from!

Well all 500+ of us lined up (this was the largest running of this race in it's 30 years), we counted it off and off we went.  I ran for a bit with another Soldier from Ft Riley, Ricky, which was funny since we were standing next to each other at the start line, all 5'4" of me and all 6'6" or so of him, love the contrast!  Well even with a generally downhill first mile, I managed to crank a 6:46 for the first mile.  Uhhhh, I wonder if I remembered that I still have 12 more to go!  I pulled it back the next mile, for a 7:16 and that is when the hills started, a little at first and then as we hit a few subdivisions, steeper and longer.  Ugg, mile 3 came and went in 7:42, as my body was getting the hint that this WAS NOT a 5K!  More hills and the first water point was at the 3.8 mile point and of course I selected the girl who just gave away her last cup of whatever just before I got there, so no soup for me!  Glad I was carrying my fuel belt with some HEED/Water/Mio mix, so I would endure.

"Hang loose, brah!"

The next few miles were up and down, both figuratively and literally with the real fun capped at the Urish Hill, a long, steady climb to one plateau and then a slight break then more hill to the "half way" mark and the photog!  He even wrote “smile” on the side of the hill so you remembered, but as you can see from my picture, I just was able to throw a Shaka and keep going.  The good part was the hills got less pronounced, but I still had 6 and some change miles left.  But after those major hills, the miles seemed to click off and despite running without headphones, I had a single song stuck on “repeat” in my head, so that was fun and all.  At the 8 mile mark, we went “off road” onto the dirt road part of the course.  The dirt road wasn’t too bad, not much loose gravel, just some nice rollers.  Which is at about the 9 mile area, I stopped and walked for about 30 seconds, and once I got running again, I really picked up the pace.  It was like my legs were replaced and fresh ones put on, because my pace per mile dropped back into the low 8:00 mile pace with a few around 7:45!  Nice, might have to do that more often, not!  I felt bummed that I stopped running, but it helped me overall, so it wasn’t so bad to walk and get my mind and body refreshed! 

At around the 12 mile mark, I notice that I might just hit my goal of 1:45 for the half, so I really started to run hard.  I knew I wasn’t going to podium and I was praying just to be in the top 150 runners, so I was really racing the clock now.  I started to power up the hills and glide down them, and after I round the final turn, I found that I still had a ways to go, like almost a half a mile!  Well that last .4 miles really was not fun, because I was starting to feel the rumbling in my tummy, and we all know what that means, so I had to balance on that thin line between red-lining and blowing chunks and slowing down too much, but keeping my lunch.

Well, I kept my lunch and ran fast, finishing in 1:46:33, just a little off my goal, despite having run .3 farther than regulation.  But I guess the finish line was moved because it used to finish in front of a church, but the church had a function, so it was best to move the finish line.  But overall I finished 15th in my age group (tough crowd, 2nd overall was in my AG!) and 123rd overall.  So, not bad.  I realized that I was not passed by any one person the entire race, it was always a group who were working together, so I guess from now on, I will try to latch on to a group and roll with them.

So overall, I loved the run, minus the cold, cold weather (started the run at 20 degrees and barely got above 31 all day!) and the hills, which I will watch out for next time, I really enjoyed my first half-marathon!  The next logical step is the full 26.2 miles-o-pain!  But that will come next year, after I get back from deployment!

Talk to you guys later!

1 comment:

Ken Matthews said...

Awesome run. Sounds like a tough course. I am sure your next half will be another PR so no worries. Also you haven't been able to really train.

But best of all you were able to keep your lunch down. Hoorah.