Brooksie Way kicked my butt. However... I took 3 PRs in exchange!!!
I woke up at 5:30AM, hopped out of bed and got ready. Made a breakfast of oatmeal and got on the road.
Once at the race site, I spent all of my pre-race time standing in line for the porta-potty. I ended up peeing in the woods ala Trixie.
This was a PR race for me. My goal was to finish in 2:45 or less - I finished 10 minutes fast! 2:35:20 is nearly a 5 minute PR, and is an HOUR faster than I ran PF Chang's RNR AZ Half in 2008.
I set 3 PRs this course. :)
1 10:39 I felt good and strong and was pretty reserved out of the gate. I wanted to find a pace that I was confident that I could maintain. This seemed good.
2 10:37 Apparently it was good as I hit the same pace nearly to the second on mile 2. I still felt really strong.
3 10:06 I sped up a bit to see if I could push myself and sustain a faster pace. I could!
4 10:05 My test proved successful! At mile 4 I was smiling, happy, loping along without a care in the world! I am building such a buffer that I can slip into the 12's and still hit my goal. Then I get to thinking - oh wait... I can hit 2:35 if I really try. So for the entire mile 4 and 5 I just chanted inside my head "2:35, 2:35, 2:35")
5 10:38 (PR @ 52:06) I checked my watch at the 5 mile mark and sure enough - PR! I decided that the hills were increasing and I knew that soon the real hills would show up - up until this point it was all rolling hills, very gentle, nothing crazy - I liked them a lot in fact. They told us at the start line that the last half is all up hill. I was getting close to wishing I had listened better.
6 11:32 Jodi W. and her friend Jennifer found me on the trail, so I ran with them until I got sucked down into the abyss I shall call Hill Hell. I gave it all she had cap'n, and my knees quickly informed me that I did not train on sufficient enough hills. As I crested, the guy at the top told us that this was the worst hill - the rest were easy. He was wrong.
SPLIT - 1:10:44!!! I saw this wand thought to myself - holy cow I am on target for a sub 2:30 Half... but I knew that my sub 11-minute miles were gone. I was right.
7 11:46 (starting hillage) I am feeling strong at this point, but I am starting to weaken. Walking sounds sooo good to me. So I do at the water stop. Just a little.
8 12:15 Walking sounds better to me this mile... sooooo... I do.
9 14:24 This is my worst mile on this race. I kissed sub 2:30 goodbye and prayed for 2:35. I can do this! I am struggling, but I know the lay of the land, and when I get off the last mile - it should be all downhill with a slight uphill at Meadowbrook Music Festival. I walk knowing that I need it and then I just stop and start stretching. I was wishing for my new Stick(tm) to work out the knots that had formed in my calves, and the pain in my legs due to using foreign muscles. No luck. So I got back to it.
10 13:07 (PR @ 1:55:11) I saw that I was in the 10th mile and wondered how much I had slowed down. So I took a peek at the screen on my Garmin that shows elapsed time... and I was on target for a 10 mile PR! Wow - I started walking and was still kicking butt. This was a needed boost in confidence. A quick run of the numbers and I knew that if I maintained a 13 minute mile or faster I would come in at 2:35 or less. I had it in the bag!
11 12:30 The motivation from mile 10 really helped keep me on track.
12 13:05 Then... then I faltered again. Just a little massage on my knees to get them to stop hurting so badly.
13 11:18 I am going to bring it home! I can hit 2:35! Holy cow I am doing it! The legs came back, the pain went away and the terrain flattened out. I was back in running happiness and I felt STRONG.
0.1 2:34 I hear my name being called - I check the clock and it has me at 2:34:41... SUB 2:35! I verify my time back at home, and the Dtag clocked me at 2:35:20. Oh well - I still kicked butt and beat my expected finish time by 10 minutes!!!
TOTAL - 2:35:20 (PR!)
All in all - this was a FABULOUS race. A must do in Michigan.
What would you do differently?:
Run more long 4% hills - as that is what a lot of the course was. HILLS, and not your garden variety. I really thought that training at Kennsington would suffice. Not even close. My legs and hips are telling me that I am using muscles that I have not used so long.
They were out of water at the finish line. WTF? I walked the half mile to my car and tried not to pass out. I was tired, so very sore, and still had a day of randomness a head of me!
What limited your ability to perform faster:
My knees. If I didn't walk so much I would have come in at sub 2:30!
What a great race! It is a must-do for sure! I will be back in 2009 - I am going for a sub 2:20!