Sunday, March 15, 2015

March Madness Recap

I haven't really been able to wrap my head around why today just wasn't my "day," but for some reason, my race today didn't go as planned.

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!

 Pre-race meal of champions right here.

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