Saturday, June 23, 2012

Charlevoix Half Marathon Race Report

The race report you've all been waiting for... and with my usual long windedness because yes I like hearing myself talk.


Coming into this race I had a lot on my mind. I've had a failure with school and I haven't had a PR since September. That's the one thing that sucks about getting faster. You have to work harder for those PRs. I won't lie, I was fighting off anxiety coming into this race and I just couldn't handle coming home with anything less than a PR. I needed to run this. I wanted to face my fears head on. Fear of failure has held me back in the past in life and I was running this with all I had. No matter what happened I knew I'd be a winner. Going forward with racing I am not expecting a PR with every race. I realize I am going to have to get over that and I know I'm going to have to work my butt off to get them. Oh forgot to add my race mantras... Every race now I have a routine. I make a playlist for my race and give it my race mantra name. I usually come up with one during training for the full marathon's but shorter ones I make them up whenever. This playlist named "Get Some". I actually wound up using several mantras during this race.

On to the race

Got to the race and look for a few friends that I knew were supposed to be running it. Said hi, and then figured I'd go find a bathroom. That's my usual prerace routine. Find a potty 10 minutes prior to start. Last time I ran this there was a ton of port-o-potties at this location, but I get down there and there were THREE. There was a line too. When there was 5 minutes left I debated on saying the heck with it and getting to line up, but a couple people ahead of me said don't. They reminded me the race was chip timed and it would start when I crossed the pad. That it was better for me to go now if I needed to than lose time on the course. So I did just that. I started the race then about 5 minutes late. I felt kind of goofy, but it was okay. It actually kept me from starting out too fast or messing up my pacing too much.

Mile 1 I get to running and realize my Garmin satellites didn't connect a couple minutes into the race. I hit the button for training again and thankfully it connects to satellite. I didn't really want to run this one without my Garmin and I was thinking gees this is my luck. (I've had my Garmin not cooperate on race day before.) Garmin connects, but because it was messed up and I had my watch set for lap pace I had no idea what my pace was on the first mile. I figured no biggie. It's just the first mile. (Note to self - fix watch settings so I can flip to actual pace.)

Mile 2 - I knew from running this course before that the first couple miles were fast. I don't usually go out too fast so this race throws me off a little on that and I don't usually worry about it. I knew my watch was saying 17 something at the course marker for mile 2. I start thinking maybe sub 2 could happen.

Mile 3 - I get to a steady pace and somewhere around here my new mantra starts kicking in. I start repeating to myself and sorry excuse my language on this one, but "don't F this up". I kept reminding myself to keep my pace steady and don't go too fast. I didn't want to screw things up and lose my PR chasing sub 2. I made a goal at that point to not run any mile slower than 9:45. I knew as long as I could run every mile at 9:45 or faster I had a guaranteed PR.

Mile 4-5 - You might get a laugh on this one. I put my key to my car in my spi belt with my chews and cell phone(music). Well, I decide to go early for fuel at mile 4. I don't know. I wanted to nail this race and thought why not. Well, dropped my darn car key on the ground, not once, but twice trying to get it out of my spi belt. (Another note to self - Don't put your key in your spi belt. Research better place to put it. Usually hubby drives me so never had this problem before.) Running wise though I kept my pace okay in spite of having to stop and pick up key off the ground twice.

Mile 6 - This was an out an back course. I start feeling good and pick up the pace. From looking at the elevation chart though in my Garmin Connect I realize that there was a slight downhill here which is why I was a little speedier there and yes, I felt the slight uphill on the way back.

Mile 7 - On my way back home. I knew I had PR in the bag now for sure. I knew I could hold this pace for sure for 6 more miles. I've gotten pretty good at knowing what pace I can hold. I have more difficulty telling how fast can I really go.

Mile 8 - All of a sudden I was feeling it. The slight uphill for mile 6s downhill. If I hadn't ran this course 2 times before this mile would have shaken my confidence. I knew though that there was a tough mile I just couldn't remember if it was mile 8 or 9. I looked at my watch at some point and it was saying 10:10 for my pace and I was getting irritated because I wanted to have all my miles below 9:45. I start back with my "Get Some" mantra and just try to get my legs to pick it up a little. This was my slowest mile - 9:50.

Mile 9 - 10- Start feeling good again and start passing people. Keep in mind my 5 minute late start so I think that's why passing people was coming easy at this point. I start wondering if just maybe I could make that sub 2 after all. I knew if I nailed the last 4 then just maybe. I also knew that 4 miles was still further than I like to think it is. I tried to push harder, but was holding back for the last 3.

Mile 11 - This was the highlight of my race. Very emotional and very personal. N.L., yes, this mile was for you my friend. I see a sign on the road. You know the ones people put up to cheer on us racers. I almost started crying and I mean that literally (yes I know I seem to do this a lot on my races). Tears were forming. Racing for those that have never given birth before is a lot like childbirth without the pain (or maybe with some of it). Anyhow, the sign I see says "Go the Distance". My third mantra for this race. This one held me until the end of the race. My legs kicked up in high gear right there. It was an omen for me. And all my fears were washed away. This was my fastest mile - 8:47. At this point I start thinking again sub 2. I might have this.

Mile 12 - Well, legs were no longer keeping up with my mind, but I was still moving my legs as fast as I could make them go. Kept repeating "Go the Distance" and trying hard to finish strong. I knew this PR was mine and all I had to do was hold my pace and push it faster when I felt I could.

Mile 13 - Start looking for the finish line of course. It always seems forever before you see that stupid thing. I see the finish line and I pushed hard as hard as I could. (The last 30 second rolled over to a new lap on my Garmin at a 6:37 pace.)

I didn't get sub 2, but was thrilled with my finish. This was an official PR/CR of almost 10 minutes (previous PR 2:13:25). I also ran this 15 minutes faster than last year. Finished in 2:03:38. Oh also wanted to add this is also faster than my unofficial PR because my marathon PR was faster pace than my HM PR. It was important for me to beat that time too and not just the official PR time. Sub 2 is right around the corner.

Miles/HR info for those interested
1: 10:40 - 170 (not accurate because of satellite issues was closer to 9:25ish)
2: 8:58 - 176
3: 9:33 - 174
4: 9:43 - 174
5: 9:37 - 174
6: 9:03 - 175
7: 9:19 - 177
8: 9:50 - 176
9: 9:29 - 176
10: 9:21 - 176
11: 8:47 - 179
12: 9:36 - 178
13: 9:11 - 179

(And yes, I have a high max HR.)