As promised, after some reflection time here is the race recap:
Going into Monday's race I felt pretty at ease. In the week leading up to the race I had 78 miles in my legs where a few of those days I was feeling less then prepared and rested for a race. Humid temps that decided to linger around the Midwest for three painfully excruciating days left me feeling tired, slow, drained, and with an excessively tight left calf muscle. Saturday nearly killed me and didn't exactly leave me feeling exceptionally prepared and rested.
But regardless of how I was feeling physically, I was mentally prepared to take on the course and give it all that I had on race morning. Before race morning I took some time to study the course because I couldn't quite remember it from the year prior when I went into it blindly and was awkwardly surprised by the inclines. The Oak Brook Half is a "trail race" that winds through suburban forest preserves and has quite a few turns and inclines.
I realize that for most runners that these little bitty inclines may not be much, but for me they are kind of intense. I don't do hill training, I live in Chicago...WE DON'T HAVE HILLS!!! My city is as flat as a pancake, and I tend to like it that way. So I went into the race with no hill training whatsoever, but I do incorporate a crap ton of squats and lunges with heavy loads to strengthen my legs in my resistance routine (which is why the legs are so monstrous in comparison to the rest of my body).
GOALS FOR THE DAY
- Run sub 1:30 and not have a recreation of my last half
- Get in as many 6:50 miles as possible
- Place in the top 3 women
- BELIEVE in myself and not give in to that negative nelly that usually eats at me until I wave the white flag and surrender to the pain
- Not be heart broken if I don't smash my PR because I am in the bulk of my marathon training right now
I did about a 3 mile warm up with some strides away from the starting line and the crowd of runners and spectators. This was probably the best decision I made all morning because it gave me time with my thoughts to assess my body and get a grasp on what I was about to take on in a peaceful setting. Here is where I was able to notice that I felt rested and strong and knew that the coolness of the morning was going to work in my benefit. By the time I swung back around the starting line, there were a lot of runners doing some seriously strange warm ups. Honestly couldn't help but stare at them wondering what the heck they were doing and if the unnatural movements actually helped. Runners are weird and I love them, always good entertainment.
When it comes to lining up at the starting line, I always feel a bit uncertain. I know that I usually finish with the top women, but I also HATE to start out fast and be fooled by the eager pace of others. So I started behind quite a few of the women knowing that I had 13 miles to pass them feeling strong as they were dying out.
Mile 1 6:42
Mile 2 6:35
Mile 3 6:36
Felt AMAZING for the first 5k and I think I crossed around 20:50. Hit the first true incline right before the 5k and told myself to power up it and flew over it with ease. I was having a great time and realized that a 6:50 pace would be too conservative for me today and my mind-set instantly switched to "push past your expectations for yourself". I passed maybe 4 women by the 5k that went out strong and begun to fade away and was thankful that I went out at my own pace and was running my own race.
Mile 4 6:46
Mile 5 6:38
Mile 6 6:32
The course continued to have rolling hills where mile 6 was easy and down hill. Doug rushed over to mile 6 where I didn't really expect to see him, it made my heart flutter a bit. As soon as I saw his face I got butterflies in my stomach that made me feel really special and fortunate to have a man in my life that is willing to get up early in the morning on his extra day off of work to support me in my sport. His desire to see me succeed and push me to always do better with my running makes me fall in love with him all over again.
|Blowing my man a kiss|
Mile 7 6:34
Mile 8 6:57
These miles were through a very winding path in a forest preserve. Mile 8 was rough because it had 2 sharp inclines rather close together. All of the other inclines were rather spaced out which was nice because it gave my legs and lungs a chance to recover, but these two in mile 8 nearly did me in.
Mile 9 6:48
Mile 10 6:49
Tried to take some gu here to get some energy back into my legs but my breathing still hadn't recovered from mile 8 and it was impossible to choke it down with heavy breathing. I had to back off the pace to get my breathing under wraps here and started to regret that I am lazy and choose to avoid hills at all cost. The stomach begun to feel a bit uneasy and was messing with my head. But then I reminded myself of something I read on a blog a few days prior that most likely you won't vomit on yourself or crap your pants during a race, but if you do...thats hardcore. So I told my stomach to shut-up and finish this thing strong.
Mile 11 6:50
|Thank you random stranger|
The paths that this course was on were tiny and tight at the aid stations, maybe enough for people to run two-by-two. There was a water station somewhere between 10 to 11 and the man that was a few strides ahead of me grabbed some gatorade and came to a DEAD stop in the middle of the darn path. I didn't have enough time to stop or room to go around with taking out a few hydration volunteers, so I smacked right into his back. So thanks dude who has no common sense of how to hydrate during a race in crowded areas, seriously think you cost me quite a few seconds here and made me P.O.ed for the next mile. But I beat you, so it's all good.
Mile 12 6:44
Mile 13 6:38
Just after 11, I begun to catch sight of the gal ahead of me. With my rough estimation skills I thought that I could possibly catch her if I could squeak out sub 6:30 miles from here on out, but my legs felt otherwise. Here I was passed by a few men that literally BLEW by me, couldn't help to think what jerks they were for picking people off left and right in the last few miles. They prompted the thought that there was not going to be a finishing kick in these legs today, but I would try as best I could.
last .1 I think was 38 seconds???
As I rounded the last turn I could see D and had a wee little second wind with a strong finishing kick. Crossed the line a felt exhausted and AMAZED that I clocked in under 1:30. When D saw me he ran over to me put his arms around me and swept me off my feet, making that the best embrace I ever had in my entire life. I honestly wanted to cry here because I surpassed my expectations for the day and felt EMPOWERED and LIMITLESS doing so.
The results have my finishing time listed as 1:27:53, my garmin states 1:27:43. So I realize that this really isn't a big deal, but I don't understand where the extra 10 seconds came from especially based on what the clock said as I crossed and the fact that I started at least 2-3 seconds behind the starting line.
Not going to lose sleep over this because I still had a 4 minute 42 second PR!
- Official finishing time of 1:27:53 puts me well under my 1:30 goal
- Only had 1 mile that was above 6:50
- I was the 4th female finisher, which tied my placing from last year. This is exactly why I DO NOT like to make goals based on placing because it can leave you frustrated that you ran a great race but didn't place where you wanted to. I cannot control how others feel and race on race morning, so this may be the last time that make a place based goal.
- Nelly was well hushed on this course. There were still a few moments where the thought passed my mind that if I walked for a few steps I would be able to catch my breath, but then I quickly put that thought to rest because I knew that would be the beginning of the end. My head was together and I had a great time running this course, I think it also helped that I wore my iPod and rocked out to some great tunes.
- No tears, no broken heart...only happy feelings of progress and that I am well on track to PUMP IT OUT in October.