Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Spring Hill Half marathon

January 1, 2017
Since my training during the last month, has not been what I wanted ( I got sick and missed some long runs) I decided to change the distance I would run for this race. I had been signed up for the marathon. I emailed the race director about a week out from the race. He told me it was no problem to switch to the half, to just let them know that morning. If race morning would have been cold, I might have tried to run the marathon. However, it was around 60 degrees at the start and was predicted to be mid to high 70s within a few hours. I had taken a look at the course on Google maps and noticed that there were not many trees, to provide shade. So, race morning, I got up early and drove the 1.5 hours to get to the race venue, and checked in for the Half marathon. Since I had registered and payed for the marathon, I was given the sweatshirt that marathon runners were getting. Very nice! I hung out in my car a bit before the race start, then wandered over to the starting area about 15 minutes before the half was set to go. There were a large group on wheel chair athletes there for the marathon. They headed out first. About 5 minutes later, the marathon runners headed out. Then the half and 10K runners headed out. It looked like a small group for each distance!
Once we got going, I passed a bunch of people, ending up with the front of the half marathon pack. We were soon catching up with the back of the pack marathoners. The course is on a wide paved trail, next to an expressway. Not great scenery! The temp felt perfect right now, but I knew it would heat up fast. We came to an intersection, that had a volunteer at the corner, but they were not stopping traffic. I had a red light, but thankfully, the cars that had the right of way, stopped for those of us who had just come to the intersection. I didn’t like that at all. I tucked in behind 2 guys, for a bit. They had a good speed going, which I hoped to keep for a while. I had brought my 2 water bottle belt, because based on the map, there were only going to be a couple of water stops. The first was 1.5 miles out, the next, not until just after mile 5! At this water stop, one of the guys stopped for a drink and the other one pulled ahead. So, I was on my own again. I started to see runners heading back. I knew they were not in the marathon, so now I had a good idea of where I was in the placement of runners. Up until now, I wasn’t sure who was a marathoner and who was in the half. I saw guys coming back, and then, just before seeing the turn-around ahead, I see the first female! She had just passed me about a mile before! I couldn’t believe I was second female! Miles 1 through 7 – 8:16, 8:21, 8:16, 8:26, 8:31, 8:39, 8:29
For the first half mile or so on the way back, I had a boost of energy. I could see the female lead runner ahead of me, but she must have got a boost from know her placement, because the gap got bigger and bigger. As I came up to the next water stop, I saw her ahead of me going into a porta pottie. I grabbed a cup of water, tossed it down, then kept running. I expected her to pass me in the next mile or so, so when a woman caught up to me around mile 9, I thought it would be here. Nope, it was someone new! She told me she had been trying to catch me for a couple of miles. I told her she was doing great. We ran together briefly, but my right IT band (where it goes into the knee) was starting to bother me, so I told her I would see her at the finish. I needed to pull it back. She took off! Her lead grew bigger and bigger. I still kept thinking the other woman would catch up to me, since I was slowing down. I thought I could still try to get a 3rd place female finish. By now, it was pretty hot. There was zero shade! I knew there was a batch of trees about half a mile from the finish. So I kept my eyes out for them, knowing I would get a little break from the sun. I was looking forward to finish. It was pretty lonely out there. I passed one guy and could still see the female lead far ahead of me, with another guy, but no other runners in sight. Finally I hit the patch of trees, which ended all to fast, then, I saw the sharp left turn, that would take me to the finish. I tried to pick up the pace a bit. Finishing strong and 2nd female overall! Miles 8 through 13.1 - 837, 848, 900, 855, 906, 909, 044
Finish - 1:53:21
I waited around for over an hour after the race. They didn’t have overall awards, so that meant I was first in my age group. However, they put me in the 70 and up age group! There was no one officially handing out awards. Mine was given to someone else, until I told her that the results sheet was messed up and that I had placed first.
I didn’t expect to make a trip back for this race, but the next day, the race director sent out an email with a registration blitz. I signed up for the marathon for $30! Hopefully, I’ll feel up to running it next time!