Monday, September 2, 2019

NewBo Run Half Marathon Recap


Don't ya just love the draw of a fairly new (to you) race? Throw in a great organizational team, a timely race date (I'm looking at your, MCM training) and a small thirst for redemption and I'm there.

Such was the case for the 2019 NewBo Run.

One of several races under the umbrella of Corridor Running, the NewBo Run offers both a 10K and a half marathon. I ran the half marathon last year, but had struggled with angry hammies for most of the race and, as a result, was not particularly ecstatic with my finish time. To say I was seeking a better race experience (and a faster finish time) would be an understatement.

With a race time of 7:30 (and a good 80-minute drive to the race site), Barb and I (and another running friend, Jim) departed town just before 5:30. Barb and I (both doing the 13.1) needed time to get our race packets, and Jim was registering onsite (10K).

We arrived on the scene with plenty of available parking and had our stuff a few minutes later.
ready for the start line!

The temps were near perfect (low 60F's), with only a tiny bit of sunshine poking through. The air was a bit humid, but with the minimal sunshine (and cool temps) it was quite bearable. No complaints!

As we were lining up, I couldn't help but feel excited. My training had been going well and nothing felt off (which seems to be rare on race day).

Barb and I lined up just behind the 2-hour pacer. Although I have never kept with a pacer, sometimes I try to line up near one to help get me off to a good start (in other words...not too slow NOR too fast).

The first mile was quite crowded (nothing new there). As we approached the start of the second mile, this time I noticed the long, gradual decline. I had not remembered it a year ago, and that final stretch to last year's finish line (ahem...going  back UP said decline) was a little mentally defeating.
from NewBo Run site
It was about halfway through the third mile where the 10K and half marathon routes split. A very short ways later, the half marathon route climbed the Cole Street hill. Not a long hill, mind you, but a very steep one. From there, for the next three miles or so, the route had several rolling hills.

There was a final gradual hill as we reached the 6-mile mark. At this point, I was still feeling great and my pace was keeping pretty steady.

Right around the halfway point, the route merged onto the Sac and Fox Trail. This part of the course was probably the most scenic, as it took us on a winding path through woodland. For myself, though, the crushed limestone underfoot proved to be the most challenging part of the morning. The ground was packed very hard, and there were numerous grooves from bike tracks. My knees felt like they were constantly twisting and contorting, to keep me vertical, on the unsteady rocks.

Speaking of rocks, I could tell a few little ones had found their way into my shoes. I was able to scoop out all but one, but it was wedged so far under my heel, I just couldn't reach it. I didn't want to lose any time by untying my (double-knotted) shoe, so I forged on, hoping the rock would work its way to the side or front of my shoe from the impact. This went on for about four miles.

After what seemed like forever, I made my way out (about the 10.5-mile mark) and was on the connector trail, heading back to Prairie Park. Whew!

I had been checking my Garmin, and noticed my splits had tanked a little while running on the trails through the woodland. I had paused for a couple of quick water breaks and had attempted to dislodge that annoying rock a second time My left knee was feeling a little wonky from the uneven terrain. Also, I knew there was a long hill coming up soon. And, I still had that &%$# rock wedged under my heel in my shoe.

What's a runner to do? Forge onward!

I should mention that I still was feeling pretty strong, though, but I didn't know if I could muster up enough mojo to finish out the final 2+ miles fast enough to claim that potential sub-2:00 finish time. I knew I'd at least be PR'ing the course (barring any freak stumbles or tumbles), so that gave me some peace of mind.

Just before the 11-mile mark, there was another water station. I grabbed a cup and walked briefly while I drank a couple sips.

Back on the hill, I let my legs just go. I wasn't trying to sprint (ha! my long legs have a tough time sprinting on a flat surface, add some incline to the equation and it's quite comical). But, my long legs are very adept at taking long strides... and all of a sudden, I  just felt the urge to see what they could do.

I train on hills frequently, but racing on them is a different ball game. I have to just keep my head down, and focus on the street immediately in front of me rather than looking towards the top of the hill, off in the distance.

The 12th mile went well. I could hear the roar of the crowd, and the announcer calling out names of runners as they approached the finish line. The road leveled off as I approached the final turn that would lead me to the finish line. By this time, I knew I wasn't going to make it through the chute in time for a sub-2 finish, but I didn't feel like conceding a strong finish...so I kept going.

I heard my name announced over the speakers, and a few seconds later I was done. A group of people called my name, and I saw that it was Barb (who had finished just ahead of me) and Jim (who had long finished the 10K), as well as a few other friends (who were part of the crew who'd run the  Cannonball Marathon, in North Carolina, with us a year ago).

Not the sought-after sub-2:00, but damn close...2:01:11 via the Garmin (2:01:10 official). Given the fact my finish time from last year was 2:07:09, this was a substantial victory (sub-2:00 be damned LOL).

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Over all, I'm very happy with how the race went. I never felt fatigued, but my splits indicate a few miles (during the challenging stretch through the woodland) where things definitely slowed down. Apparently, I saved just enough energy for the final stretch, though, since my last two miles were my fastest.

Mile 1 - 9:01     Mile 5 - 9:06     Mile 9 - 9:31
         2 - 9:05             6 - 9:25            10 - 9:08
         3 - 8:56             7 - 9:25            11 - 10:04
         4 - 9:22             8 - 9:39            12 - 8:55
                                                           13 - 8:30   (final .14 - :14)

After crossing the finish line, we were handed a cup with water, and instructed to keep the cup for the after party. Let me just say, the after-party was top-notch. Plenty of food, drinks, craft beer and (my personal favorite) hard cider.
pic from Jim
This is my fourth time doing an event by Corridor Running, and I have not been disappointed. As mentioned, I ran the NewBo Run Half Marathon last year, but also ran the FreezeFest 5K (in February) and the Fifth Season Health Solutions 8K (in July). There were water stands (some had Gatorade as well) every 1.5-2 miles, as well as Gu gels just after the half way point (as we were making our way through the woods).

This race is also very reasonably priced. I didn't get in on the early bird special, but still only paid $35 (it would have been $40 had I opted for a shirt)...you can't beat that for a half marathon! A unique feature are the medals, which are ceramic creations from a local place.
     
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Oh, remember that pesky rock that wedged itself in my shoe? When I finally got my shoe off, I had to do a double take at the actual size of it! Amazingly, I didn't get a blister from it.



A few final thoughts...
As mentioned, that elusive sub-2:00 eluded me again. I have had three sub-2:00 half marathons, so I do know how sweet they are, but they are not my all-in-all reason for racing (or even for running in general). Of the 45ish half marathons I've done, this was my second closest attempt at getting under that 2:00 benchmark (I ran a 2:00:47 in September 2012). So, any disappointment in not finishing faster was very short-lived. I'm quite thankful for a strong race, with pretty even splits, and finishing with a smile. Honestly, I really couldn't wish for more.

Have you had the opportunity to return to a race and "redeem" yourself with a better performance? Ever gotten a nasty rock stuck in your shoe mid-race? If so, would you stop and try to remove it, or grit it out to the finish line?

I'm linking this with Kim and Zenaida for the Tuesday Topics Link-Up

**I'm also linking this with Debbie and Marc  for the Running Coaches' Corner

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32 comments:

  1. What's hard cider? I had to get a stone out of my shoe ONE MILE into my ultra - and it was tiny! That's a great effort and a brilliant PB for the course, and you had all that strength! The rutted limestone certainly robbed you of your sub-2 - it's really tricky running on that kind of surface, and you don't normally do that, either. Love the medal, how unusual.

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    1. Usually the annoying pebbles are much smaller than they feel...but not this one LOL Hard cider is like beer, but has an apple taste to it. Kind of like a "heavy" apple cider with a kick ;-)

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  2. Wow! So close — but really only a runner would worry over the difference— you did great. I can’t believe you ran with that rock in your shoe! $35 for a half is amazing— especially with such a great after-party.

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    1. After trying to fish the rock out twice, I gave up. I knew I'd have to take the entire shoe off, and that would be a process with my sweaty fingers, etc. I'd really like to claim another sub-2...not a deal breaker with my running, but UGH. At least I keep getting closer and closer ;-)

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  3. Amazing job Kim! Sounds like it was a really great race for you, and so happy that you had nice weather. also what a great confidence boosting training run.

    I am shocked that you not only ran with the pebble inside your sneaker, but that you didn't get a blister and almost ran sub-2 hours!

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    1. Thanks, Kim ;-) The rock was an annoyance, and it was wedged in there pretty solid LOL At least was outside of my sock, so that was a good thing, right?

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  4. Congrats on a great race in spite of the rocks. There's a short gravel path that's part of my long runs and it's so uncomfortable, I can't imagine racing across it for any length of time.

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    1. This gravel part of the race wasn't as bad last year because there had been a lot of rain in the days prior, so the ground was pretty soft (and muddy). This year, though, it was dry and pretty rough. Oh well, everyone else had to run over it, not just me LOL

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  5. A very good job, congrats.
    The sub 2:00:00 is under the corner. No rocks inside the shoes and the training in a cooler season will help you to reach the goal.

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    1. Well, the sub-2 has happened before (as recent as May 2016), so I'd like to think I can do it again, That said, I have not been training for a sub-2...I'm doing all things marathon-distance now. Maybe if I specifically trained for the sub-2, it might be a bit more reachable LOL

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  6. Oh no on the rock! I HATE when that happens. Knock on wood, I don't remember it happening in a race, but I've definitely had it happen while running (no, I never stop to take it out, but I'll bang my foot on the ground to try to get it up by my toes, where it actually doesn't bother me so much).

    I say you ran a damn good, fast race! No doubt I'd have to take like 5 steps to your one. :)

    Ruts are always really hard to run on. :(

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    1. This may be the first time for me in a race, too (the rock, that is). It wasn't a crisis, but a definite distraction at times. Thanks, Judy ;-) I am pretty happy with how this race played out. It's not every day that all things (or most things, at least) come together and work in sync.

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  7. That is a pretty substantial PR! congrats. A great confidence builder for MCM

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  8. Great race lady!! I know you didn't get sub 2 hours but you had an awesome run even with a rock in your shoe- haha!

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    1. ha ha...yes, it goes to show that anything is possible LOL

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  9. Sorry my comment got cut off above, haha. I'm impressed. Hope you can get some rest this week!

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    1. I'm not good at getting "non-motion" rest. I do take recovery days, but I usually am either walking or bike-riding or something to stay (somewhat) in motion...

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  10. Great job on the race! And I'm impressed that the rock did not do any major damage!

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    1. The rock was a strange thing to deal with! So often, a tiny pebble feels a lot bigger than it actually is, but this was a good-sized piece of geological work ;-)

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  11. Great run, and a wonderful write up! Thank you for coming back to run NewBo!

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    1. Thank you for putting on such a great event! I hope to make this an annual endeavor ;-)

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  12. I love it when races are low priced and also provide great food! I will always remember the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon because there was so much great food. Great job on your race and your PR. I've never had a sub 2 half marathon and I am sure I will cry when I finally get it.

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    1. This race had a lot to offer despite the low registration price. The spread of post-race food was awesome!

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  13. Wow, that’s quire a rock! It’s probably what kept you from your sub-2! You’ve been running great this year though so it won’t surprise when you do hit that target

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    1. Thanks, Debbie ;-) I might have a better chance of hitting that sub-2 if I was actually training for it LOL (darn marathons...)

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  14. What a wonderful recap! You must have been flying high when you crossed that finish line! I am so proud of you for all that you have accomplished, especially with your comeback from Voldemort and all that. You are on fire this year!

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    1. Thanks, Jenn ;-) I'm always amazed at how much energy I can summon in the final mile. ;-)

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  15. I love that medal, it's so cool! Congrats on another great race. You should be proud of that 2:01 even if it's not the sub-2 you were looking for.

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    1. Oh, rest assured, I'm quite proud. When I looked up some of my older 13.1 finish times, and saw this was my 5th fastest, I almost fell over. Each race is getting me closer to another sub-2 dance ;-)

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  16. Great job on the course PR! And hard cider after a solid effort sounds delicious! And how annoying about the rock...I've gotten rocks in my shoes on training runs, but I don't think ever in a race! At the end of the month I have a redemption race coming up, Paris-Versaille (16k), it kicked my butt when I ran it 2 years ago!

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  17. You ran a great race! Congrats on such a big course PR! And, I cannot believe you ran with that rock in your shoe :0 You've been on such a roll that I have not doubt that your sub-2 is going to happen.

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