Monday, September 27, 2010

You Go Girl Half Marathon

 Race Photos provided by Tony Seabolt

"Roberta" Martin aka Bullseye Bob Martin exiting the Limo in a fashionable pink skirt and long tresses.

Start of the half...I'm on the left, Bullseye Bob (1:35 pacer) and Karen Maples Leahy (Overall Masters Winner) representing the Half-Fanatics

Tried and failed at passing Lululemon girl in last 2 miles.  So close!

You Go Girl! Half Marathon Website

I signed up for this race as soon as registration opened.  Why?

  • First, any event directed by Tony Phillipi, Marathon Maniac #2 and Data Bar Events Head Boss Man (I'm not sure that's his EXACT title but it sounds a little Italian Mafia so I'll go with it) has been successful in the past.  He's a competitor and knows what we runners want in a race. 
  • Second, it's all women!  How cool is that?  I've never participated in a "ladies only" event (unless you call standing in a long line for the restroom an event). 
  • Third, this half marathon falls two weeks before the Portland Marathon and I was hoping to use it as a gauge to test my marathon fitness.  My goal was to get as close to 1:30 as possible.  A 1:30 finish is a good representation of a 3:10 marathon.  1:33 would get me closer to a 3:17-3:20.  These are the facts and don't ask me how I figured this out.
On Friday, September 24th, I arrived at the packet pickup and managed to get my goodie bag which included a duffel bag, hoodie, headband, plus my chip timing and bib number.

You Go Girl!  Goodie Bag

I missed seeing Tony Seabolt as he was hiding behind the curtain helping to put together the finisher's medals.

"Hey Tony P!  You want I should whack any course cutters or bandits?"  Tony Seabolt in action.

I ran 6 miles on Friday nice and easy.  Saturday, my daughter had soccer pictures and then a soccer game.  The pictures and game were 4.25 miles apart and I had one hour between the two so guess what I did...of course, I ran from the pictures to the game to keep my legs loose for Sunday. 

Saturday night I carefully planned my clothing options (okay, carefully may be a bit exaggerated) and was in bed by 10:30 pm.  We hoped to leave Sunday morning around 7:00.  I was fortunate to once again to have the start of the race less than an hour from home.

Race Morning and I am awake minutes before my alarm sounds at 6:00.  I choose to wear my Marathon Maniac tank even though it's a half-marathon.  Someday (maybe soon!) I'll get to sport the blue half-fanatic wear.  I'm not wearing my super-fast red hot racing shoes this time since my last race (Over the Narrows 10 Mile)  my shins were hurting for days.  Stepping outside, the air is mild but the rain is relentless.  Trees are calm so hopefully that is a good indicator that wind won't play a factor today.

Checklist:  Garmin, watch, second watch, bib number, chip on shoe, extra shoes, gloves, light running jacket, hat, aquafor, sweatshirt, sweatpants, towel, long sleeve running shirt, kitchen sink...done!  I am ready.

My husband, Jeff, has volunteered to be a course marshall and will meet Tony Seabolt at the start line by 8:00.  We arrive at 7:45 and I jog to the start about 3 blocks away.  I find an empty porta-potty - Score!   Women are everywhere and men are carrying purses.  I love it!

Jeff and Tony meet up, the bright orange vest hand-off is complete, and we head back to the SUV so I can drop off my coat and Jeff can drive to his volunteer spot near Wright Park around miles 3 and 4.

Arriving back at the starting area, I use the porta-potty one more time - this is the "better safe than sorry" bathroom stop.  I spy a covered area and retreat toward the back and out of the constant rain.  My back is achy today and I'm stretching in every imagineable way to relieve some of the stress. 

Pacers are introduced and Bullseye Bob has given quite a show in his blonde wig, pink skirt, pink trimmed shoes, and bright pink compression shorts with two bullseyes planted on his backside.  After the introductions, Bob quickly changes into his racing clothes as he feels "weird" in his outfit (much to the relief of his wife, Marci, who doesn't want a new chapter in their lives to begin with Bob ENJOYING cross-dressing).


10 minutes to the start and I find my way toward the 7:00 minute pace sign.  Most of the crowd is lingering around the 9:00 pace and further back.  The rain had been off and on during the hour since we arrived.  As the Star-Spangled Banner is sung, the heavens seem to open up.

One minute to the start, the crowd has pushed up to the line and we are drenched!   Temperature is mild today so I actually am enjoying the water running down my face.  Is that weird?

Here we go!  We head down Market Street and turn around after the one mile mark.   Turning back, I'm astounded at the mass of women running and cheering for other runners.  What an amazing group of women!  I'm trying to encourage others but mostly am just trying to breathe and keep my rhythm.

We approach Wright Park at mile 3 after an uphill and I'm greeted by my volunteer husband.  We enter the park and get to run on a gravel and dirt path and exit the same way we entered.  I high five my husband, Jeff and fly down the hill out of the park. 

I nearly miss a turn at mile 5 but do a little airplaine arm maneuver to recover.  Heading down to Dock Street and closing in on mile 6, I hear quick footsteps fast-approaching.  Karen Maples Leahy, who had been running with Bob Martin, made a decisive attempt to get past me.  I kept her even with me for a little while, but I knew my legs were rebelling.  I slowed down and she pulled ahead.  I would not be able to catch her until AFTER the race.   Miles 7 through 12 are flat and my mile splits don't reflect that fact.  My times should be in the low 7s but my leg turnover had slowed and I was running flat-footed.  Ugh.

At some point in the last couple of miles, I finally caught up to a girl who had the cutest outfit.  Should I REALLY be noticing these things when I'm racing?  I kept her even with me (I had to find out what brand clothing she was wearing...duh!  Lululemon, FYI) until that final ascent in the last half mile.  Bob had already caught up to me and passed me and was yelling at Karen and I to push harder and go for it!  As I crested the hill and began the gradual downhill to the finish, Bob slowed and allowed me to pass him in the final turn as we crossed the mat.  What a gentleman!   I saw Karen finish 10 seconds in front of me and the Lululemon outfit girl was about 4 seconds in front of me.

Bob's encouragement helped me to push a little harder at the end than was comfortable, but who says racing is comfortable?

I finished 8th overall out of 675.  The overall winner, Lori Buratto, is a master (40 years and over) and was taken out of the master's division.  Karen Maples Leahy was the first master and I followed her in to second place in the master's division. 

My splits:

1         6:57

2         6:50

3         7:35

4         7:50

5         6:40

6         6:50

7         7:09

8         7:17

9         7:18

10       7:25

11       7:29

12       7:42

13       7:23

.12        :40

I received a beautiful shell necklace for 2nd Master and was 11 seconds too slow to receive $100 in prize money.  Life is good.