This was my second half marathon in the past eight days, and this one was also run with a wonky foot...but under much different conditions (weather and otherwise).
|Shirts from previous Grinnell Games events
|It isn't every race where I get the bib with the distance number!
We had some hot, humid weather late in the week, and it was forecasted to remain throughout the weekend. Initially, I wasn't pleased to hear about the weather, but I quickly remembered I had run in those (almost) exact conditions in my two previous Grinnell Games 13.1's (2014 RECAP) , so it would be familiar territory (in more ways than one).
Imagine my surprise to wake up around 4:00AM Saturday morning to some major thunder, lightning, and heavy rain. Say WHAT????
|A lot can happen in six hours. The shot on the left was from Friday afternoon (and had not changed prior to 11:00PM when I went to bed), the other is from early Saturday morning.
It was still dark and cloudy, with some intermittent rain, when I got out of bed. I had my ritual oatmeal and chai latte' and did a few things on the computer...and kept checking the weather tracker. The race began downtown, which is just under a mile from my house. I had planned to walk, but had my husband drop me off since I wasn't sure about the weather.
|Pre-race...about to line up at the starting line
Although my heel was feeling good (NOTgreat, but indeed better), I could feel it for most of the first few miles. That's pretty typical for me...it almost always takes me a few miles to loosen up and get into a groove...so I tried to stay calm and not let the "heel wonkiness" get in my head.
The course is actually a 6.5-mile loop around town (and we run it twice). I have mixed feelings about such courses, no matter the distance. It's kind of nice to run the first lap and see what's out there so the second lap doesn't present any surprises. The downside? You've already seen the rolling hills...and know which ones are more of a challenge, you felt where the SW wind was the strongest, and you remember where the long stretches of boredom happened.
There's a stretch just after the 2-mile mark (approximate 8.5-mile mark on the second loop) where the route turns, heading south...straight into the wind. We don't get a lot of wind out of the south in Iowa, but when we do it's usually a really hot, heavy wind. The wind we had on Saturday was pretty strong, but it was a cool wind. It actually felt refreshing, but it was a bear to run against. It also was more of a SW wind, so it felt like it was in my face for several miles at a time.
So, anyways, it wasn't until about the 5th mile where I actually noticed the heel had changed from wonkiness (with each step) to more of a dull ache (which I could probably handle for the mere eight remaining miles). Glass-half-full, I pressed onward. Relentless. Forward. Motion.
The new road added to the route made its appearance near the 4.5 mile mark (and 11 mile mark). It was almost an entire mile (headed east), with rolling hills through a residential area. Hills can be challenge, no doubt. The steep hills have that tough incline, but are over and done pretty quickly. But the rolling hills have their own breed of tough...they tend to be longer and there's not much of a break in between them. That said, I actually don't mind hills (much). Fighting gravity is not usually easy, but it does help your body become stronger. It also gives some muscle groups a break as you change from incline to decline (or transition back to a flat surface).
I need to do some playing and adjusting with my watch, because (again) the display only showed my pacing info (and not the current "running" time). Based on my mile splits, I made it around the first loop in about 1:03. I knew I wasn't going my fastest, but given the humid conditions and the state of my foot, I was doing alright. It also occurred to me, even though I wasn't trying for it, a PR would be a mute point because the route was different (again, glass-half-full).
As I approached our driveway on the second loop (which was approximately the 7.5-mile mark), my daughter had a gel packet waiting for me (that's actually a nice perk when your house is on the route...I didn't need to carry anything!). I have been avoiding gels for fuel, but I had used one at Dam to Dam (a week prior), and it had worked alright for the race itself (although my tummy wasn't too happy a few hours later).
A short ways later, my husband was set up on the street corner, with music. He'd been there on the first lap, too. I paused briefly to high-5 him and he got my picture.
Next was the long stretch with a couple hills (on a county road, headed east, with a side wind). Then that turn (near the 8.5-mile mark), headed due south...into the wind). I could tell my pace had really slowed down, but I felt fine. Relentless. Forward. Motion.
No matter how tough of a race I'm having, or how miserable I may be feeling (due to weather, discomfort, fatigue, etc.), I always try to make light of the situation. Being uptight and ticked-off does not get me to the finish line any faster and only makes the experience more difficult. Every time I approached a water stand, or saw spectators along the road, I said, "The highest bidder gets to take my spot and finish the race for me!" Most people laughed, so I then told them that I hadn't had any takers yet. Yes, I do what I gotta do.
What really surprised me (and I didn't realize this until after I had finished) is that I never had the urge to walk. Of course, I walked through the water stations (and a few steps after), but that was it. I could feel my calves getting a little strained in the last 3-4 miles, so I just tried to step with caution. I'm pretty sure my gait was still somewhat altered (due to the heel stuff), so I knew I had to just keep as steady of a pace as possible to not confuse my muscles. Relentless. Forward. Motion.
It was about halfway through the final mile when I heard my watch beep. I looked down at it, and it said, "Save? Resume? Delete?" What the WHAT??? I hit resume, and it beeped (again) signaling that it had resumed (or so I thought). I made it through that last mile with (what I felt was) a decent pace, and was pleasantly surprised to see my husband had brought the golf cart down (with the music) and was there right before the finish line.
|What a difference five miles makes (at 7.5 miles and then at mile 13) #stillsmiling
Mile 1--8:41 Mile 7--10:16
Mile 2--9:14 Mile 8--11:48 (stopped for gel, water, etc.)
Mile 3--9:53 Mile 9--10:41
Mile 4--9:48 Mile 10--11:09
Mile 5--10:00 Mile 11--11:04
Mile 6--10:11 Mile 12--10:33
|That's a wrap! Another half marathon in the books!
|Another race done with my friend, Barb
In keeping with my #nevermissaMonday, I pedaled my bike to the lake and did an easy (slow) mile on the trail. I may have also done some planking and declined push-ups with the picnic table...
|Yikes! That was hot!
I'm linking with the wonder women Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap...head over and checkout all the great reads!!