Sorry for the melodramatic intro, but the NewBo Run Half Marathon really gave my true grit a thorough test of its authenticity.
Let me set the scene....prior to race day (Sunday, September 2nd), the weather was looking most dreadful. We're talking not just rain, but thunderstorms...and lightning...and flooding. I try to not stalk the weather because, ultimately, the race day weather is gonna happen without any influence (or worry) from me. Friday showed extremely wet race day conditions. Saturday afternoon showed some improvement. Saturday evening looked even better. Sunday morning showed no more thunderstorms and only a 15% chance of rain the entire morning...and (get this) sunshine at the race start!
|Saturday afternoon (left), Saturday evening (center), Sunday morning (right)|
|Ready to go!|
Anyways, after the National Anthem, we were off and running. Barb and I started just ahead of the 2:00 pacers with the hope that we'd be able to stay with them for the race.
Right out of the gate, my hamstrings and glutes were feeling tight. Granted, I had not done a very thorough warm-up (and I had had a pretty intense speedwork session a few days prior), but I also was not planning on "racing" this race in true "race" fashion. I did hope to run it strong, but was not hoping to spank a new 13.1 PR, so I wasn't too concerned with those early aches and pains because I figured they'd loosen up within the first few miles.
Yeah. Hold that thought.
The course starts out on a paved road, headed out of town, towards the Prairie Park Fishery. Even though my glutes and hamstrings were feeling ornery, my pace felt comfortable. Near the 3-mile mark, we hit our first hill....a rather short hill but a pretty steep one. Ouch. The next couple miles had a few rolling hills as well.
It was around the 4-mile mark when the two 2:00 pacers passed me. Not a problem, since I was hoping to finish around the 2-hour time frame, so I decided to try to hang with them to the finish line. My glutes and hammies were still giving me grief, so not having to think about my pace would (hopefully) work in my favor.
Only, I could feel the pacers inching away from me within the next couple miles.
Just before the halfway mark, the route veered off the road and into the woodland along the Sac & Fox Trail. This treated us to a lot of shade (did I mention the temps were feeling warm and rather balmy?) and intermittent spots of crushed limestone and soft dirt. Given all the recent rainfall, the trails weren't too mushy, but there were a few occasional puddles to dodge.
|It was a warm morning...with 85% humidity at the time we finished|
Just after the 10-mile mark, the course lead us out of the woodland and back onto the paved trail, back through Prairie Park. Since the trail had been twisting and winding through the brush, I had totally lost track of the 2:00 pacers. They were nowhere in sight, and I had pretty much given up hope on finishing near the 2:00 mark. I knew I couldn't keep up with them, at that point anyways, and I had to run my own race...achy glutes an all.
It wasn't until I passed the 11-mile sign that I realized my glutes weren't feeling as angry as before. What? After 11 miles of gritting my teeth, it was such a relief to (finally) have a little more freedom of movement. That said, it was still disheartening that I'd had to work so hard to stay in the game.
When I reached the 12-mile mark, I finally relented and decided to allow myself to walk briefly in the final mile. I had walked through the water stations, but had been running otherwise. Upon accepting that my (hopeful) goal of a 2-hour finish was not happening, I no longer cared. I knew I'd still have a decent finish time, but it wouldn't be the finish time I'd hoped for. I was flat-out exhausted from the battle of getting there, so I walked for a couple minutes.
That final mile did have a slight hill to climb (which I didn't recall running down in the first mile LOL). I did get a little bit of a kick of energy in the final stretch to the finish line, so there's that. I'd given up on looking at my watch, so I was surprised to see 2:07 on the timer as I crossed the finish line....I was expecting my finish to be a few minutes longer. It certainly felt like it had taken me a lot longer, especially with the walk break I'd taken.
My watch showed 2:07:12, but my official time showed 2:07:09. And I was ever so glad to be done. It took me a few minutes to cool down and revive myself because I was so exhausted. I was a sweaty mess, dripping everywhere. And, having seen my shadow on the pavement, I knew just how bad my ponytails looked (total #ponytailfail in the humidity LOL)
|Desperately trying to smile in the midst of total exhaustion|
Mile 1 - 8:39 Mile 8 - 10:43
2 - 8:57 9 - 10:18
3 - 9:09 10 - 10:25
4 - 9:04 11 - 10:28
5 - 9:19 12 - 9:37
6 - 9:37 13 - 10:52
7 - 9:54 -->2:07:09
|Ryan, myself, Kristin and Nick|
|kolaches for the win (I may or may not have eaten two of them)|
Although this was a frustrating race, I am grateful for the experience. It's never fun to have to fight to the finish, but it is rewarding to cross that finish line. My stats showed I placed 10th (out of 30) in my age group, 185th (out of 345) of the females, and 275th (out of 627) for the half marathon finishers. Not bad. Every finish line is a victory, after all. Without some struggles, there wouldn't be very many lessons to be learned...right?
|Yes, I did find my smile back (after refueling)|
So, that's a wrap on (another) tough race, but a great experience none the less.
Have you run a tough race recently, despite being well-trained for it? Have you ever tried to stay with a pacer? What's the warmest/toughest race day conditions you have endured?
**I'm linking up with Marcia and Patty and Erika for Tuesdays on the Run.
Sorry this was a tough race for you, but you still did great! You just never know what you're gonna get on race day. I hope the glutes have been feeling better!ReplyDelete
Yes, the race day can be a fickle dragon to slay LOLDelete
Way to hang in there in a very tough race. The heat and humidity have more of an effect than I would like to admit. I always feel like I should finish at my projected time, no matter what the conditions are. You should feel good about gritting it out. Hope the glutes are feeling better by now!ReplyDelete
Oh, I do feel good (now) about my gritting-it-out abilities...but it was another story while running on Sunday LOLDelete
You bested your RnR finish time, and that sounds like a win to me!ReplyDelete
This actually was my fasted 13.1 finish since May of last year, so it was respectable...just a frustrating day with angry body parts. Onward!Delete
Nice job! I hate it when my body decides to throw some extra obstacles into a race - like it's not hard enough to run a half marathon. Way to push through it.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Erika ;-) We never quite know what the race day will bring us, do we? And sometimes, our body parts show up with attitude LOLDelete
Great Job on a tough run for ya! I think it was a tough one for many people even though there was a course record set. My back and hips were killing me the entire race. I didn’t set a PR but was satisfied with my time since I had very little training and thought the race was going to be the following Sunday. �� I also stopped and walked with a lady that looked like she was not doing well...she couldn’t even articulate words. I stayed by her until help (ambulance)was on its way. I’m glad I don’t mind running in the heat and humidity for the most part although fall running is my favorite right now.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Brenda!! It was a tough morning with those hot temps and HEAVY humidity, but the glutes were what threw me off kilter (quite literally). That was very honorable of you to stay with a fellow runner on the course ;-) #high5Delete
So weird when the muscles settle in, 11 miles later.ReplyDelete
Is that a buff or wide headband? I love it. Trying to find options now that my hair is shorter
Way to push through the weather & aches - and don't you love it when official is better than watch?
Typically, by the third or fourth mile, I'm all loosened up...but not this time. It's just a basic headband I'm wearing...I think it stayed in place because of my sweaty braids (instead of sliding off my sweaty head) LOLDelete
Bay to Breakers was quite tough. I tried to train for it, and the big hill before mile 3 trashed my calves. In my experience, once my calves are exhausted, my ITBS comes out. I still pushed through, and was very happy when I finished.ReplyDelete
it's frustrating to have odd body parts aching...I sometimes have stiff hamstrings and/or glutes, but they ((usually)) are fine after a few miles. Not this time...ha!Delete
Looks like you went out fast in tough conditions and paid for it later. I'm more than ready for this humidity let up. Congrats on soldiering through!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Marcia!! Ironically, it didn't feel fast at the start, and I was trying to hold back some (because of the stiff glutes)...but they just refused to loosen up until much later. Oh well....I'm not getting paid for finishing faster than usual, so it's all good ;-)Delete
It sounds like a really tough race but way to go pushing through the problem with the hamstrings! I'm glad they loosened up at the end and I hope they continued to feel ok afterward :)ReplyDelete
They are feeling better, but are still a bit strained. I'm probably gonna take a pass on speedwork this week to give them a little TLC.Delete
I rarely stay with pacers because I can never keep up with them. :-) The toughest race condition was in RnR Nashville. It rained throughout the whole race. I was miserable. I chafed and didn't realize it till I took a shower.ReplyDelete
I have hung with pacers on occasion, but I have never been able to stick with them for an entire race. Maybe I just have not had a good "fit" with the ones I've experienced.Delete
Ugh that humidity sounds awful! Great job getting through a very tough race.ReplyDelete
The humidity was killer LOL Thankfully, I can handle that...even with grumpy glutes ;-)Delete
Sorry to hear about your hammies. Hope it is nothing serious.ReplyDelete
Heat and humidity is so tough. You gritted it out and I would be super happy with that time. You have a good attitude about racing.
I hope the weather cooperates with my next half. I want to race one without any rain!!
Overall, I'm alright with my finish time (it actually was my fastest 13.1 since May of last year), it's just frustrating to know I had it in me to do better had my glutes not been so achy. Oh well...onward!Delete
That does sound like a tough fought race! It is so incredibly frustrating when your body just does not cooperate with your plan. Way to finish strong though! Nice jobReplyDelete
You said it perfectly...the body just did not want to cooperate with my plan LOLDelete
Congratulations! I wonder why the glutes were so unhappy? For me, it's frustrating keeping up with pacers because I've found that they are often running way too fast! You still did a great job, and the trail section sounds really nice. And what a unique medal!ReplyDelete
The more I reflect about it, I think my speedwork (three days prior) may have been a factor...kind of a delayed DOMS thing (?). Oh well, it was frustrating but not debilitating, right?Delete
So sorry about your angry glutes, but way to go for pushing through a tough race. I have no doubt that sub-2 is going to happen!ReplyDelete
Well, I have had some sub-2's, but it's been awhile LOL....I'd really like to snag another one this fall ;-)Delete
Despite the frustrations you persevered! Way to go! I really hope that glute gets better quick! I have been dealing with my own glute issue lately and it really is a pain. Your the Little Engine that could! Bravo!ReplyDelete
ha ha ha...my Little Engine certainly got a run for its money ;-)Delete
So sorry about your achy glutes and hamstrings. that is no fun! And wow, that pastry looked great! Congrats on your finish!ReplyDelete
Ugh. It's awful when our bodies just don't cooperate! I wish I could say that feeling gets easier, but I don't know that it does.ReplyDelete
Congratulations on a great finish in spite of the odds and the forces against you!
Congrats on finishing what wound up being a tough race for you. Summer racing is never easy, let alone summer running itself. Kudos to you for pushing through and not giving up.ReplyDelete
Congrats on finishing even though it was a tough race and your body was not cooperating with you! My last half was like this, I was fully trained and ready to PR and then I had a massive leg cramp at mile 3 that never resolved. Hobbling the last 10 miles was brutal, and it got super HOT since my time was SOOOO long!ReplyDelete
This is a very late comment, but I appreciate reading blogs, reviews, and feedback about the race. I appreciate the kind words, as well as you taking the time to write out a review of the race, and recap your day of overcoming physical struggles. Great job on a tough day, and I hope you will consider returning to the NewBo Run in the future. Thanks!ReplyDelete