This is now my fourth year recapping the Cary March Madness 1/2 Marathon. It's an extremely special race to me as not only does my dad's running club (the Hillstriders) put it on, but it's also now a hometown race for me as I live 1.5 miles from the startline (but no, I do not run my warmup from my house to the start line... I prefer to just run the hills DURING the race;)).
I haven't really done a race since Ironman Cozumel, so it was really weird to be racing this weekend and not meeting Coach Dave to do a long run of some sort. I was lucky that Coach Dave actually was running a 1/2 (the Get Lucky 1/2, fast and flat, in the city) the day before, so I'd get to see kind of how I would do ahead of time.
Dave and I always are right with each other in long run workouts and our pacing is so similar on mid-week workouts that he and I knew his results would indicate where I could put myself as finishing today. Based on his 1:17, I should be able to run a 1:20 on the March Madness course (keep in mind this is arguably the most challenging 1/2 marathon course in the state of Illinois). We talked on the phone last night after my bison and beer pre-race ritual and everything sounded great to me regarding my race plan.
I knew if I wanted to run a 1:20, I'd have to be around 39minutes at the halfway mark since the second half of the course is where the hills come to get you. I run many of my runs and workouts on the March Madness course, so I knew I could be at 39minutes halfway through if I just listened to my plan and my body.
The first five miles, I felt great. And then the pain train began to call my name. I'm not really sure why this happened, as I wasn't going too aerobic too early and 5:49s-6:05s really shouldn't have been causing my hips and quads to feel so tight so soon.
One of my running friends came to me around mile 4 and encouraged me for a good mile, even motivating me with, "You beat me here the last two years, c'mon, come with me and let's attack this 1:20 time," but my legs just wouldn't respond.
I pushed the flatter ground, but just could not get my legs to charge up the hills that I continuously run throughout the week. Even on my easy days, I push myself up the hills to reinforce that I need to do that during the race. Today, my legs and brain both seemed to agree that this "pushing up the hill" thing was just not going to happen.
Mile 9 is generally my fastest mile on the course. Every year, I break 6:00 on that mile, and this year I ran a 6:00, which again indicated to me that my legs just had not spark in them. We finally hit the wind head-on just before mile 10... that real big hill for all of you who've run the course. Between the wind and the hill, I ran my slowest mile by 13 seconds and knew my 1:20 goal was out the window. I hung on for dear life and told myself to just push through it, because I'd be sore the next day regardless of how fast I finish!
Overall, I came away with a mixed bag of emotions. I was obviously happy to be the first overall female finisher (and proud of Ryan for being the first overall male finisher!), but I was disappointed my time was SO far off where I had thought it would be.
Ryan actually reminded me that in 2013, I ran this course in 1:22 and then six weeks later ran my current 1/2 PR of 1:18 at the U of I 1/2. So, if we take 4 minutes off of my 1:21 from today, that puts me at the 1:17 Coach Dave ran.
Splits and recap..more for my benefit when I look back at this than anything, but feel free to see if you can pick out what hills caused what mile splits;)
6:06, 5:55, 5:49, 6:09, 6:05, 6:19, 6:26, 6:12, 6:00, 6:39, 6:29, 6:16, 6:14, 1:03... 1:21:49 for 13.19 miles, 6:11 pace.
More pictures to come once I get them, but figured I'd get a blog posted since it's been awhile ;)
That finish hurt...
With my dad and Ryan post-finish.
Giuliano double win!
With my husband who decides the night before that he'll run a 1/2... and then goes and wins by 2+ minutes. This guy is ridiculous.
Pre-race meal of champions right here.