Red Baron Half Marathon 2013
PR by 8 minutes 24 seconds
I am still on cloud nine about this race! It still seems surreal that I was able to run that fast....it almost seems like it wasn't me running that day...I keep asking myself how it happened because I do not run that fast except in a 5K on a good day and even then I am dying at the finish. Here's now impossible became reality...
|Gotta love kids who don't go change when they realize we all all dressed the same!|
I had been looking forward to this race all summer/fall. Although I never said it out loud, this was the race where I thought I could go sub-2....or crash and burn in glorious style...which is why I kept it to myself. I knew there would be no middle ground here. I felt strong after the Wineglass, recovered with little fanfare and went right into the Toronto Waterfront Half 2 weeks ago. This was just plain fun, but it was also a huge confidence booster because it was so easy and relaxed. I had the distance training in and just ran easy after Wineglass trying to go into this as healthy and strong as possible. Running fit I was...immune system fit I was not. I have had some kind of virus since before Wineglass that has come and gone and last week got so bad I went to the doc for a strep and mono screen...both negative so great, no antibiotics...need to let it run its course. So though I felt ok, I was not 100% confident that my body could supply the run my heart wanted. But, Hey, I'm a runner so a sore throat isn't going to stop me & off to the starting line I went :)
Sunday was cool and sunny, hovering in the low-30's with a bit of wind. I almost went with tights and a jacket but thought if I was running well I'd be too hot. So it was bra-top to keep the core warm, long sleeve shirt, skirt, long socks, mitts & headband. It was the perfect combination for me. This is the 4th time I've run Red Baron. It's a small local race (345 finishers) with minimal amenities. In fact, I was quite surprised to receive a long sleeve tech shirt this year! Usually, it's a cotton nightmare that I automatically give to one of the kids. It's a gun start without any chip timing so I started my Garmin as I crossed the start line.
Miles 1-5: Rolling hills + 1 big-a$$ hill
|Around mile 2|
I went out with the pack and slowly settled into the middle. To go sub-2 I needed to hold a 9:09 pace. I knew it would be hard in the initial 5 miles because of the hills but I wanted to get as close as I could before having to make it up on the downhill. It was a fast start but I was just going with what felt comfortable and because I knew the course inside out, felt that I needed to get these hard miles in at at least 9:20 or it was going to be too hard to make up even on a downhill course. The first 2 miles were good. I was dreading coming around the curve at mile 2 hoping that this year I wouldn't see a bleeding and broken SD. I didn't, thank goodness, and headed into the hard climb in mile 3. I just trucked up that hill steadily and turned the corner into the mile 3 water station. I was happy with 9:19 and hoped I could keep it close through 5. The hills just keep coming on this stretch until you turn a corner and see the big a$$ hill that seems to go on for ever. I know from past experience, it's much easier if you don't look at it and just concentrate on the little piece of pavement in front of me. I got to the top and got some water and cheers from some of the XC kids at the water station. I knew then that I was heading into the downhill strong. I turned the corner and started down.
Miles 6-10: Downhill
Mile 6 was a dream...after that hill, I just felt like I was flying! Around mile 6, I saw this guy with this great sign, and I told him so....then when I was a few strides past him I realized he looked familiar. I thought he looked like Couch to Ironwoman's husband Mike but I couldn't stop to check. The 10K was marked and I looked at my watch...it read 55:30's...that is a new PR for me! Just before the 7 mile water station (THANK YOU race organizers for adding this station...it used to be a LONG way from 5-9 with nothing!) I had a GU. My legs were starting to hurt a bit but I figured I'd come more than half way, I'm just going to go for it and hold on as long as I possibly can. It was like I was in a dream and this crazy woman was running really fast for me! But wait, no, it was actually me! When I got to the 9 mile mark, I knew I could PR. When I got to the 10 mile mark, I saw that it WAS Jamie & Mike from Couch to Ironwoman! I shouted out to them and they cheered me on! I wanted to shout "I think I'm going sub-2"....but even then I didn't want to say it out loud! Superstitious runners! LOL!
|Jamie & Mike (mile 2)...didn't see them here, but I sure noticed that sign!|
Miles 11-13.1: Flat
8:55/9:16/9:08/7:25 (for the .17 at the end that my Garmin captured for the course distance)
Mile 11 flattened out and started to get windy. I pulled my sleeves down again and thought to myself that I am NOT going to let the wheels fall off here like I did last year. I concentrated on swinging my arms and lifting my legs. We made the turn into Denison Park to mile 12. I was slower but the headwind was stronger. In mile 12 a young girl came up beside me and tried to pass me. All I could think was that I wasn't going to make this easy for her and surged ahead, I caught her, she caught me and then we matched stride for stride right up to the final turn onto the bridge. She was great and as we made the turn I knew I couldn't hold onto her anymore and she was gone past me. I climbed the bridge, made the loop under it and saw Jamie and my family as I came out from under it into the home stretch to the finish cheering for me! I was SO happy, I knew I was not only going sub-2, but I was CRUSHING it! I was like a crazy person flying into the finish! It was my best racing moment! I've always been happy to finish a race, but I felt like I was really racing this one! I can definitely say that I gave it my all and worked the whole time to bring this one home. It was AWESOME!
|After the race...I think I am a little happy!|
And now, as if that isn't enough to be ecstatic about, here is the rest of the family story....
Thing 1 came in 12th overall and 2nd in his AG with a 1:28:13 finish!
|Best pain face ever!|
Thing 2 completed his 1st Half Marathon in an unbelievable 1:34:52
SD got to run with Thing 2 as he happily chatted away for 15km and was legitimately beaten out at the finish by him by 2 seconds!
|Running together, making it look easy! Mile 10!|
Afterwards, I was sore like never before. My body still hates me, but it was totally worth it!