Sunday, April 15, 2012

Beam me up: A race recap

I think aliens invaded my body.

I finished the Martian Invasion of Races half marathon in ... 2 hours, 27 seconds. That time was good enough for 38/151 in my age group and 763/1791 overall. To say I'm happy would be an understatement.

Note: I've tried to write a witty, inclusive recap without boring you with an unnecessarily long post. As evidenced by this note, I couldn't do it. Instead, I give you the highlights. 13.1 to be exact.

1. I think I created a new healthy living trend with my pre-race breakfast.

Instant oats with peanut butter and a quarter waffle on top. Who needs fancy granola and muffins when you can have a waffle? (Really, the breakfast at the hotel was very limited.)

2. I am super smart and read very well, and I drove Mark and I to the expo instead of the race start. I might have said a few curse words.

3. Once we got on track, we found ourselves caught in some crazy traffic. I was really afraid that I might not make it to the race in time. Eventually, I pulled over, hopped out and Mark went to find parking. (It took him 45 minutes.)

4. I got to the start with just enough time to hit up the port-o-potty, which had no toilet paper, and figure out the best place to join the crowd.

5. This race starts with an uphill. It's just mean.

6. I had no defined time goal. I just wanted to feel strong throughout the race and finish without puking. With that in mind, I tried to start conservatively and get a feel for the course.

7. About mile 2, I saw Megan in her sassy outfit running with her b/f so I sped up to act like a creeper and tap her on the shoulder. We briefly conversed, and I went on my way.

8. After a brief neighborhood tour, the course takes a turn into Hines Park for a lengthy out and back. It was quite beautiful.

9. I realized around mile 4 that I could be on pace to finish sub-2. I wasn't quite sure - math isn't my strong suit and math while running is impossible. I tried not to get too caught up as I hadn't planned to go sub-2 (though I dreamed about it many times). Instead, I repeated a new mantra, "Dig in, settle in."

10. I took a Gu around mile 5 but never took the second. I just couldn't stomach it. I guess that waffle was enough.

11. I got a wicked stitch around mile 8, just when I did during the 20K. Instead of letting it control me, I just breathed, dug deep and went.

12. The last couple miles were hard, and I really had to push myself to keep up the pace - even through some difficult sections of the course. There were two bridges that you could feel move beneath you as you got to the middle and some steep (but short) inclines as you hit some trailheads.

13. The weather was mid-50s and overcast for nearly the entire race but it did start to sprinkle toward the end. I just tried to push through to avoid (what I thought was) the impending storm.

13.1. I saw Mark just as I entered the homestretch. He asked how I was feeling. I said I wanted to die. I was tired and I knew the sub-2 was out of reach. I could have jogged it in but I pushed and crossed the line with a grunt of relief and smile.

Parting thoughts: For a moment, I'll admit, there was some disappointment that I wasn't 27 seconds faster - that I wasn't going to make a huge post-baby half marathon comeback. However, I'm not going to let 27 seconds take away from the race I ran. I am not going to play the what if game (what if I didn't walk through water stops, what if I took that second Gu, what if I went out harder). I ran faster and harder than I trained for, I pushed myself as best I could, I had a great mental game and I had a good time. In my mind, these are things that make a good race - not a 1:59:59.

Crap. I think I'm growing up as a runner. Damn motherhood changing my perspective.

Did you race this weekend? How did it go?


  1. I'm so very glad we got to see each other and I think that you DID make a huge post-baby comeback! Most people couldn't stomach a half 9 months after having a baby and be that close to a sub 2! Congrats on a speedy race, regardless! Since we didn't get to hang much, both Megan and I decided you either need to come back or we have to head your way sometime to do a race. I agree the uphill start is mean, as is that uphill near 12.4 miles...that should easily subtract your 27 seconds :)

  2. This is the best recap ever - short, witty, and to the point. Great job on the race. Even better job not wigging out over the 27 seconds (yep, just brought back "wigging out" from 1997). I'm going to agree with Megan on hill situation and add that running any kind of long distance on Hines is brutal and mind-numbing, so I hereby award you an honorary 1:59:59 finish just for being awesome.

    I'm still sad I missed out on a meet-up. Megan had nothing but nice things to say about you! We're thinking we'll have to visit your neck of the woods for a race soon and try it again, maybe with a grown-up lunch and drinks!

  3. Great job! I ran Martian as well. I caught a glimpse of you just after you hit the turn around. You looked strong!

  4. AH! Great job! How's the cold?

    1. I was surprisingly better. It had improved Friday with the zinc drops and was nearly gone by the time I got up Saturday. I lucked out!

  5. I did a 5k with some ladies from my mom's club. I so wanted a sub 25 but finished in 26.02. Still stoked.

    2 hours and 27 seconds with hills is awesome! I'd love that time. Feeling inspired now. You rock

  6. Great job on the well run race, you did fantastic. I remember hearing about those bridges last year, people said they were pretty hard to run on.

    I would definitely love to run this race in the future - I want the alien medal. I remember our hotel had very limited breakfast too - luckily at the time I was only doing a 5k so it wasn't too big of a deal.

  7. Great Job!! I hope you enjoyed your time in Michigan :D I wanted to try the 5k, but I never really ran much :(

  8. Great job and awesome time! I ran in my 2nd half marathon today! Erica

  9. Congratulations on a great race! You totally rocked it. Glad you were feeling better by race day.

    I struggled through killer wind for a new PR yesterday.

  10. AWESOME RACE!!!! Congrats on the time and you totally rocked it! That course doesn't look sub-2 friendly and you almost made it. Those hills looked hard and brutal.

  11. Oh my god - I thought I was going to have to line up a throat punch aimed your way . . . I really thought you were going to stand on the "I suck because I was 27 seconds from a sub 2" podium . . and know, friend, had you - a throat punch would be headed your way . . .and I would do it too!

    27 seconds - really girl, are you kidding! You're amazing! Seriously that's incredible. Truly a hugely remarkable achievement!! GREAT RACE!!! One you can definitely hang your hat on and take great pride!!!

    I LOVE your 13.1 recap - very clever . . .would expect nothing less from you!!!!

    WAY TO GO FRIEND!!!! Excellent job. Long distance high 5 . . . until I see you - and exchange the long distance high 5 for a up close and personal congratulations hug!