So, the beauty of racing back to back weekends is....you actually finally get my damn race reports while they are still relevant! And, as an added bonus, no crying into my cherrios over life woes in this post. Double win. How can you go wrong?
So, tomorrow, Greg and I are racing the Finger Lakes Tri as a season tri closer (can I even say that when we've only done two this year? Maybe). It's a lackluster multi sport year, but big things loom in 2018. I'll leave that one right there for you to ponder. More later.
As a last minute decision, I decided to race the Oak Tree Half in Geneseo last Sunday - my alma mater. While I only ran to he keg back in '04 when I graduated, it's pretty cool to run through my college town and get nostalgic, all for a pretty decent price and a nice timing for a tune up for my fall marathon (Northern Ohio, October 1). I last ran this race in 2011 as prep for Ironman Maryland (when it was still unbranded) and recalled it as a challenging, hilly race that was fun, but not fast. So, just for kicks, here is my 2011 report. It's ironic. We will get back to that one. I finished in 1:59 back in 2011, 9 minutes off my PR of 1:50:09, a time that still irks me to this day because who can't find 10 friggin seconds to go under 1:50? This girl.
Race day dawned bright and early at the ungodly hour of 2:30am. No, my alarm didn't wake me. The un shut uppable 2 year old did. Thanks, Biz. While she wasn't grumpy, she was wide awake and ready to go, so I started my pre race ritual of coffee and bathroom....3 hours early. And, to add some fun to the mix, the 95% chance of rain did not disappoint - there was a fine shower starting outside that didn't let up until 11 or so (race time - 8am). The course....8 miles of dirt, rocks and mud. Yesss. Albeit a rocky start, Greg and I set off at 6am, did one potty stop, and managed to grab our gear and line up at 7:55 for the 8am start.
Garmining up, waiting for the RD and ....with no fanfare, a big horn blast...holy crap, we are off!
Miles 1-3 were all raod, with some rollers, and a tour through town (dancing bear still intact!) I maintained a 7:45-7:55 pace, which was way to fricking fast, but about par. I felt pretty damn good. At mile 4, we pulled off the road and the mud slog began. Mile 4 featured a sharp descent, about 3/4 a mile long (which, spoiler alert, was mile 11....coming back up). It wasn't too wet yet but you needed to run a fine line to keep traction and off the rocks.
Miles 5-7 were also rollers, but hard to keep any decent pace since it started to get pretty muddy. I was holding anywhere from a 8:10-8:40 pace, depending on how far I veered and how well I could actually keep from slipping (we got a tough mudder and didn't even pay for it!)
At mile 7 we got a half mile reprieve for pavement, then turned back onto the trail, which was mostly downhill, a nice change, but still hard to find a good path. I teamed up with a guy and we leap frogged back and forth for a bit - also chatted with an awesome woman who told me I had a beautiful stride - always nice to hear! Hit mile 10 in 1:22- I knew for sure I could do a 28:00 5k but....as I said before...mile 11. What goes down, goes back up....
We turned back on the return to town to a few minor rollers and then....up. Of course, at this point it was pouring and climbing this beast was a giant pain in the ass. I stopped to walk for 30 seconds, figuring with the grade (9% I think?) walking was actually more efficient. Mile 11 - 10:15 Yowtch. I picked up the pace, figuring....less than 20 minutes of death - you so can do this, Rae!
Mercifully, we hit pavement again shortly before mile 12. The last mile of the course is of fucking course uphill, but it least it was on a damn road. Mile 12 - 1:41:30. Shit. I'm not gonna make this. Now, I should mention (and had the foresight to mention in 2011) this is NOT a PR course. So I had no business doing the mental math I was doing, but dammit, I oftem do things I have no business doing, so I didn't care. Can I hold a 7:45 pace? Let's give it a shot!
I took off, passing people and thinking...this is it. You can die later. You don't get this back (at least until the next race, but come on. 10 seconds, baby). 1:45.....6 to go.
The course ends on a track, which is cool but cruel at the same time. You are almost there. But you still have 400 meters to go. I hot the track in 1:48:30 and knew, I could not do a 6:30 mile. But I tried. And crested the finish line....in 1:50:03.
Are you damned kidding me. What do I do with that??? 4. freaking. seconds. But stop. I PRed. By...6 seconds. But who gives a shit. I ran the course in the rain, on 3 hours of sleep, beat my last time running it by 9 damn minutes.
And that. I'll take. Along with a sackful of Chinese food and a diet coke. Because....when do I actually do anything that makes sense??
Watch out Oak tree. Next year....I'll find those 4 seconds. Or, you know, pick a course that isn't 3/4 dirt and rocks with 300 feet elevation gain in mile 11 alone. Because....wait, why would I do that??
:-) Run on, friends.