Friday, September 30, 2011

You Go Girl Half Marathon

You Go Girl Half Marathon
September 18, 2011
You Go Girl Website

How awesome is this?  I had a Chocolate Covered Runner's team for this race!  Forming a team for this race grew out of the incentive to save a little money and have the possibility of earning a free Captain's warmup jacket.  The word was spread to my Facebook friends and after some cajoling, I soon had more than 18 women signed up on the team, guaranteeing me my jacket.  We contemplated team names, shirts, etc. and I decided we should provide our own chocolate-themed shirts to save money.  The women seemed okay with the team name and finding chocolate ideas isn't too difficult.

Race morning arrived and I was wearing a Hershey's cotton t-shirt from Walmart with "Chocolate Covered Runners" in puffy paint on the back.  Our team agreed to meet at 8:00 for a team picture before the 8:45 start.  Tony Seabolt was there to capture the moment.

The weather was mild but had some light rain.  I worried about my t-shirt and prayed I wouldn't chafe anywhere.  We lined up for the start and next to me were Mary Hannah and Judy Fisher, and then Kristi Houke stepped in next to me.  Here I am, surrounded by local running heroes.  I told Kristi, who probably doesn't know ME but I know her, that she should line up at the front.  She said, yeah, if it was a 10k, and I said something like, no, you could win this!

My goal marathon was the next weekend and my pacing was a little up in the air.  Of course I wanted to run fast but I also didn't want to chance any injury or minor ailment a week before the big one.  I told Mary Hannah that if I could maintain a 7:30 pace, I would be happy.  We took advantage of the slight decline in the first mile and had a mile split of 6:47.  Mary had been running next to me and chided me about my predicted 7:30 goal.  Mile 2 was 6:50.  We have some great out and back sections where you can see all the runners.  During mile 2 as we faced the onslaught of runners behind us, I was overwhelmed by how many people were cheering me on by name.  I think it annoyed the women I was running with and to be honest, I didn't know so many people knew me.  Some must have just heard my name and joined the crowd.

I'd forgotten about mile 3, THE long hill.  I remembered the hill going up to Wright Park, but not the mile long ascent leading up to it.  Mary was just in front of me as we entered the park.  Miles 3 and 4 would be the slowest of the race at 7:31 each.

The rest of the course is fairly flat and ironically this can actually feel worse than moderately rolling hills.  My legs begin to feel the monotony of the road and that treadmill feeling sets in.  Just after mile 7 and the gel/aid station, the course goes up to the right and then back down a long, flat stretch along Ruston Way.  Unfortunately for Mary, another woman, and myself, we continued straight and added a little distance before realizing we'd gone off course.  I was behind them so when I saw them turn around, I headed back, putting me in front of them, temporarily.  They both hit high gear and soon overtook me once again.  I told Mary later that I would have felt guilty if I had beat her because of that mistake.  We both agreed, though, that if I had, that's just the way racing goes.  It's not perfect.  Stuff happens.

I remember last year my legs were toast by mile 10.  I had finished in 1:35 and it hurt!  I knew I was feeling better than that and kept my pace fairly even.  The last mile includes a little uphill before turning left towards the finish line.  I powered up the hill and once I hit the downhill to the finish, I felt like I was flying!  I wasn't but it felt good.  The clock read 1:35:57 and my Garmin had 13.43.  If I hadn't gone off course, and assuming I had the same pace, I would have finished around 1:33::30, a very good time for me.

After getting my breathing back to normal, I grabbed some goodies and headed back to get my dry clothes.  I finished 6th overall, 2nd master.