I woke up at 4:45am, got ready, slammed down some oatmeal and OJ, and sipped on some Gatorade while I watched an old episode of the Office. Rach and I also jammed out to AWOLNATION's "Sail," which has to be my new favorite "pump up" tune. We took off for the race around 5:35am, and I devoured a banana and some coffee in the car. We left a bit early, but we got some advice from a friend that their might be some traffic along the way. We ended up arriving and parking around 6:00am, which is a bit earlier than I wanted since it was 46 degrees outside, but it's better to be a bit early then late.
Rach and I hit up some bathrooms in a hotel (nice), dropped off our gear bags, ran into Jon, and later said my goodbyes to Rach. I chose to wait in the portajohn line one more time before the race. I was there for 20+ minutes, but luckily got to the front and did my bizzness.
|Da Johns. A can't miss stop race day!|
|The place was hoppin' right before the race!|
The gun went off, and I started moving about 20 seconds later... about 15 more seconds after I crossed the start line. 'Start' on the Garmin. Let's do this.
We started exactly at 7:05am, and I began working my way up behind the 1:45 pacers. There were tons of people, and it was difficult getting up to speed. My first 3-4 miles KILLED my time. To make up for the slower start, I averaged well under 8:00/mile the rest of the race, despite some massive and LONG hills.
The first major hill came at mile 3. It wasn't too bad, but our pace slowed quite a bit. After the hill, I took my first gel. Once I got the gel down, we began to hammer on some of the downhills, with our pace reaching close to 7:00/mile some of the time. This was fine by me, as I was feeling good and wanted to make up some time. I got in the zone, and the miles started to tick by. This continued till mile 8.
Around mile 7, I decided to take my second gel because I didn't want to take it while going uphill from miles 8-10. This may have been a mistake. I planned on taking it at 8.5 miles, which I thought would give me enough energy to reach the finish without hitting the wall (and more importantly, I practiced in my long runs). The last long hill began around mile 8, and ended around mile 10. It was a solid incline the entire 2 mile distance.
Once we got to the top, I ask my pacers if the rest of the course was downhill. They said yes, I thanked them for their help, and began to HAMMER! I was feeling really great. I mean, my legs were hurting, but I have never felt that solid after 10+ miles in my training.
Around mile 12, the wheels came off. I hit the wall, bonked, whatever. It was probably the hardest mile I have ran in my life. With each step, all I could think about was how tight and sore my hips and calves had become. My pace dipped a bit, I got passed by a few peeps, but I really was giving it everything I had, so I had no problems with it. I was doing everything I could to prevent it, but hey, it happens. As I rounded the final corner, I saw the finish. About half a mile away, and up a slight incline... Damn....
|The LONG final stretch!|
Time: 1:43:27 (7:54 pace)
Overall: 301/1981 (Men)
Immediately after crossing the finish, I thought I was going to die. Okay, that's dramatic. Let's just say I felt like I had just ran 13.1 miles. I started to taste something that resembled 'blood', and began to tighten up A LOT. The blood taste subsided, which was nice because I am not a vampire, and I stopped and chatted with Reece from BT for a bit. He beat me by a few minutes, and could now formulate sentences. I, however, was still sucking air and was incapable of communicating with words (sorry for the poor convo, Reece). I grabbed some food, and met up with Rach's sister to watch her finish.
Soon enough, Rach came barreling around the corner, and also noticed the oddly long and debilitating run to the finish. She ran hard, and got it done!
Simple enough, finish in 1 hour and 45 minutes. I was really happy to beat my goal, one that seemed unlikely a month ago. BUT I really think I could have been close to 1:40-1:42 if my start had been better. But whatevs.... Still a PR.
|My favorite race day booth! Kidding, totally kidding...|
Get it? kidding? (2 jokes, 1 photo, damn I'm good)
It was a great race. Really. This will be a race I remember for awhile, as it was my first half, but the experience itself made all the difference. It was evident that there was tons of planning involved, and everything seemed to unfold as planned. I will absolutely be back in the future, either running the half or full marathon.
While I was happy with my finish, I was even prouder of Rach. She has had a hectic last few weeks, and her training had slipped a bit. Regardless, she still gutted out the 13.1 miles, something that I don't truly think I would be able to do, considering her schedule. I was very proud to see her cross the finish, and was so happy to experience my first half with her! (This paragraph is VERY true and factual, but I'm also hoping to earn some brownie points....)
|Post race photo!|