Monday, September 5, 2011

Oak Tree Half Marathon-Trekkin’ with Cows

Okey dokey, here we go!  It’s  a rainy kinda Monday out there….got some grocery shopping in (tons of produce meals to come this week-woot!) and a speed sesh on the bike, and now it’s time to relax before the full steam ahead week I’ve got.  So, armed with some hot cocoa (what, it’s only 64 degrees here!) and mellow tunage, I give you the official race report of my impromptu half Marathon yesterday.

DSCF4112The Rationale:  With my Ironman fast approaching (3 weeks!) I wanted a brush up race, but nothing crazy (like the half Ironman I thought to enter and was quickly vetoed by you lovelies.  Thank you!)  As I was perusing my training plan for the week, I saw 13 miles @marathon pace for Sunday and thought.  Cool.  I’ll pay 40 bucks to race, get a shirt, a medal, some cool swag and a chance to ran where I went to college and consumed way too many beers.  So 6 days ago, the hubster and I signed up to race.  (No, he raced to 5k.  Idiocy in our family is usually limited to me Open-mouthed smile).
IMG_1441Race Morning:  Up at 6, out the door by 7 with some pb toast and an apple.  Drank my coffee and tried to deal with some random GI issues (not sure where that came from, I eat the same thing every race morning.  In hindsight, I shoulda popped an Imodium, but I forgot. )  10 minutes out, I realized that wasn’t the only thing I forgot.  My shoes sat on the bed back at home, lazing away in protest of the 13.1 I wanted to run in them.  Da^&it.  The hubster turned the bus around (bless him) and we got my shoes.  Good thing I remembered that soon, or else I woulda tested out the whole barefoot running thing  in a less than ideal way.  Pfft. 
We got to the site, picked up our packets (awesome swag bag with natural nut butter, how cool??) and did the obligatory pit stop.  Met up with Mom P and Dad G who came out to cheer us on (yeah, they must like us or something Smile with tongue out) and soon we were off.
Pre race-dont I look excited?
Miles 1-3:  This was without a doubt the highlight of the course.  Starting out I had set my garmin to reflect my avg pace, and was aiming for about 8:50-9:00 minute miles (my marathon pace is a 9:10, Ironman marathon is about a 10:00-10:30, but half marathon pace is a 8:5-8:20, so I figured this was a good compromise).  This was the best part of the course, hands down.  We ran into town, along Main st and by the pizza shops and bear fountain (thought of my roomies back at Geneseo and our drunken escapades in the fountain, at Mia’s and at the bars, lol) and then wound our way back up to the Elementary school.  Started out way too fast, per usual (hit mile 2 at 15:51…oops).  I looked down at the garmin and tried to sloooooww it down, this was a training run, I reminded myself!  Mile 3 was pretty comfortable, settled into an 8:15 pace, still fast but much better. 

Miles 4-9:  At mile 3.5, we turned off the pavement and headed onto a dirt and pebble path.  This was pretty rough, there were decent sized rocks in the road and it was hard to get any kind of groove on.  Mile 4 was mostly downhill, which rocked until I turned around and saw mile 11, which meant we were gonna need to tackle this beast on the way back.  $hit.  Oh well, enjoy it now!  Legs felt ok, stomach still a bit off, but nothing crazy.  The aid stations were situated every 2 miles and were pretty decent, except the volunteers weren’t great at telling the truth when you asked if they had water or heed Smile with tongue out.  Oops.  I made a few cup exchanges at some of the stations, but no biggie.  Hydration was key, it wasn’t too warm (mid 70s) but the humidity was as thick as fog, and it hurt to breathe.  2 minutes after a water stop, you were sweating like a beast and ready to just take a nap.  But we were all going through it.  Miles 5-7 were the beginning of the end.  The road began to roll, and there was no momentum in those hills.  The rocks got bigger, and there was no worn path.  I leapfrogged with another woman through these miles, and we kept cheering each other on to make it up the hills.  I saw my pace drop to an 8:45 by mile 7 and figured it was nice of the surface and hills to keep me honest!! 
Mile 7 turned us back onto the road for a half mile, and I have never been so glad to see pavement.  I flew through that half mile, but before I knew it, we were back on dirt.  Crap. 

DSCF4158Miles 10-12:  Brutal.  This part was mostly all uphill, hitting an 18% grade at parts.  I was done playing the game.  I decided to just take my time and keep my HR down as much as possible, as I knew the course went back to road at mile 12.  Thank goodness for tunage.  I started running during song versus and walking during every other chorus.  Apparently an abercrombie shirtless dude decided I was playing a game with him, and on one hill looked over at me and said “Hey, why do you try to run past me when I stop to walk…it’s like you don’t want me to be ahead of you?” chicked Smile with tongue out).  Mile 12-back on pavement.  1:50, 9:02 pace.  Cool.  I knew I could do a sub 2, which was perfectly fine with me at this point!!  I enjoyed the last mile, passed abercrombie dude, and headed to the school to finish.  The last 40 yards was on the track, which was sorta neat.  Picked ‘er up, finished in 1:59:07, 13.16 according to garmin, 9:03 pace, bazinga. 
Post Race: Had some fruit and nut butter, a bunch of water, and checked out the results with the hubster. 5th AG 9out of 18, small race), 23rd OA woman (out of 118) and top half overall.  Not too bad!!  With that done, we headed into town for the real reward of the day-Mia’s Pizza.  YUM.  This used to be the hang out post bar in my college days, and I haven’t had it since 2004, when I graduated.  It was just what the doctor ordered.

IMG_1435Thoughts:  While this was nowhere near my half PR (1:50), I had a good time.  I am perfectly fine with my time, as I did a 100 miler just a few days before and didn’t taper in the slightest.  I thought the course was rough….the elevation wasn’t too bad, but the hills were long and some were steep.  The terrain made it even rougher, and I think if I did it again, I would wear shoes with more cushion (I wore my brooks ghosts, which are super light).  Even at my best, I think I could have done a 1:52-1:53, so this would not be a course to PR in….but the race was well run, with good swag (hello nut butter!) good shirts/medals, a pretty course (way out in the boonies) and a good time of year (usually-except for the humid humid day we had).  I would certainly do it again!

Mia's.  Love.

You WILL get in mah belly.

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