|When I first looked at this shirt, I thought it said "O C". I knew Orange County|
has/had a marathon recently so was a bit confused. Did I make a wrong turn and end up
in Cali? Took a few minutes for me tosee the "C M". Ha. See it?
Seems that it was half marathon race weekend in blogland. I was no exception ... but I have a "race" almost every weekend in May and June so the fact that I was racing this weekend wasn't big news.
BTW, the reason I am signed up for so many races this spring/summer is because:
1) I'm on a racing team for one of the local running stores and we are required to run x-number of races.
2) I really lack the ability to tempo run on my own well so I wanted to use a variety of race distances as a little speed work.
3) I keep hoping they'll get me into some sort of shape.
So far, that's not really happening (#3), but I do feel I'm getting a wee-bit stronger.
This race was the Colorado Half Marathon (there was a full option, also) in Ft. Collins. Ft. Collins is about an hour and 45 minutes north of where I live, so I opted to spend the night there since the race started at 7a.m. and it was mandatory you take the buses, which left between 5:00 and 5:30a.m., to the start line. Call me crazy but I didn't relish the thought of getting up at 2:30a.m. to leave my house.
I don't think I've ever traveled to spend the night out of town to run a half before - aside from the three times I ran the Atlanta ING Half (this course is actually my current 1/2 PR of 1:44). But the main reason behind the Atlanta race was for a little quality girlfriend time since I once used to live in Alabama and have a very dear friend there. Fly down to see her, run a little race, and PR along the way - score! Atlanta also happened to fit perfectly into the equation when I was training for Boston and I LOVE to use half marathons as training for a full. So spending the night in Ft. Collins for a half marathon seemed really odd to me, and it sort of gave me the typical pre-race jitters that marathons do....since I've always traveled to all marathons I've done. I almost felt like I was going to run the full marathon and I had to really talk myself down from the wig-session I was starting to have.
I've never run this race before, but I did pace the last 7 miles of this race in 2010 for my friend and fellow blogger, Tara, on her first marathon.
|Tara, all smiles after finishing her first marathon - 2010|
I like fast.
When I signed up for this crazy race in January - because it fills up fast and you have to jump on registration when it opens - I had hoped I'd have my training and weight under control and could race the thing hard. But we all know about best laid plans sometimes. I went into this race nowhere near where I had hoped in January so my expectations were simply enjoy the amazing scenery down the Poudre Canyon and enjoy the experience. Nothing more. Also, my inner ankle was really wonky after the 5-mile race and I wasn't sure how it was going to hold up so my plan was to have no plan. My daughter was coming with me and I just was happy to be spending time with her, and getting in a little long speed work in. Simple.
It was really cold when I stood in line at 5a.m. for the bus. The air temp was about 38 degrees and the winds were wicked, which wasn't helping. Driving to the start line and watching the "new mood" disappear over the mountains, though, was incredible, and took my mind momentarily off my panic of what to wear when the race started.
That calmness was short-lived when we arrived with an hour and 10 minutes until the start line....and it was freaking freezing. The wind was so bad and my legs were so cold. It never even crossed my mind to bring long pants to wear while we waited; it's been a long time since I've had to sit at the race start in the mountains for a long time beforehand. I quickly found myself clustered in the middle of one small tent along with 1317 of my closest friends.
|This is said tent, picture taken later in the day when I went back and drove the course. 1317 people|
jammed in that thing. But at least I was warm :)
We all started down the road about a quarter mile from where the tent was to the start line. I never heard anything officially starting the race, all of a sudden we were just running.
Miles 1-3: I didn't wear my iPod, I just took in the sounds around me and really tried to look at the gorgeous sights. The suckiest thing about this section was the constant slant of the road, which caused you to run with a slant. My ankles were not too thrilled.
Mile 4: I was feeling really good - and strong - and my pace was a bit faster than I anticipated. This can be a bad thing, especially for taking-off-too-fast me, but I just thought that instead of pulling back to the 9 min/mile pace, where I secretly hoped I'd be able to maintain, I'd just keep up with the 8:40 pace I was running. I knew there was a high possibility of crashing and burning but really I didn't care that much and I thought it was better to see where this would happen then to pull way back and coast in. So I made up my mind here that I'd see what I had in the tank with my quicker-than-hoped pace.
Miles 5 - 8: I had been hovering around yellow-socks guy for awhile and letting him hold the pace. I'm a leech like that. At mile 7 we hit the biggest of the hills and he was telling a girl beside him that we had to conserve on this hill so he pulled back some and I did the same. I was shocked when I found I hit this mile in 8:39. We were out of the canyon now and the views changed considerably. At mile 8, the course ventured off the road and onto the bike trail for the last 5 miles.
|Stolen off of Beth's blog. Thanks, Beth.|
1:53:31 official time (8:39 pace. 8:37 pace if you take use the 13.18 miles)
296 / 1317 finishers
15 / 100 in my age group
I was pretty happy. That's a 4 minute and 23 second improvement over the Platte Half I did 3 weeks ago (sorry, I wrote 2 weeks on FB...got the date wrong). Yes, it was a bit faster course, but the thing I am most happy about is that I just plain and simply felt much, much stronger than I did at the Platte and I didn't slow to a crawl like I did there. I really thought I was going to be death marching again, but I didn't, not really, and that makes me smile.
I didn't stick around after the race long; I really just wanted to get back to the hotel, shower, and get Abbey to go wander around town before heading home. Abbey and I drove back up the course and it was still pretty windy so we didn't linger too long, but we did have some fun....
|We howled at this picture. Abbey looks terrified and I'm just typical dorky looking. And yes, her hair is |
now reddish and short, for all those that knew her blonde and long.
|Glad I wasn't in this porta-potty when it had a little mishap|
A bit of shopping downtown, the site of the race finish...
And then headed home in the late afternoon.
Every once in a great "new moon" does a race weekend unfold so nicely for me. I am still a very long way from where my racing paces were pre-heel fiasco, but I've accepted that and as long as I feel I'm making small dents in my fitness, then I'm going to be just fine with wherever this comeback lands me.
Until next time....