Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Red Baron Half Marathon Race Report...

Red Baron Half Marathon 2013
1:56:38
PR by 8 minutes 24 seconds
8:51 pace!!!

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$$ hill
8:52/8:38/9:19/9:22/9:12
Around mile 2
I went out with the pack and slowly settled into the middle.  To go sub-2 I needed to hold a 9:09 pace.  I knew it would be hard in the initial 5 miles because of the hills but I wanted to get as close as I could before having to make it up on the downhill. It was a fast start but I was just going with what felt comfortable and because I knew the course inside out, felt that I needed to get these hard miles in at at least 9:20 or it was going to be too hard to make up even on a downhill course.  The first 2 miles were good.  I was dreading coming around the curve at mile 2 hoping that this year I wouldn't see a bleeding and broken SD. I didn't, thank goodness, and headed into the hard climb in mile 3.  I just trucked up that hill steadily and turned the corner into the mile 3 water station.  I was happy with 9:19 and hoped I could keep it close through 5.  The hills just keep coming on this stretch until you turn a corner and see the big a$$ 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
8:05/8:31/8:38/8:36/8:49

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!

12 comments:

Michael said...

This is so awesome!! What a HUGE PR for a half marathon! Just incredible and to go sub 2, well that's only something I can dream of! Well done. Sounds like you worked and pushed hard and made it happen.

It's funny you say you can't believe it...I still say that about my current half marathon PR...it seems so fast, and I haven't been able to touch it again (no where close to yours but for me was fast). But, I still want to beat it next year, was hoping to this year, but oh well.

Great job! And great job to all you guys who ran...you all crushed it!

Jamie said...

I am so proud of you!!! You did great!! That is a hilarious photo of us cheering at mile 2, I was probably making sure my camera was open on my phone so I could get photos of our friend Jess.

I really wish I had known you were going to be there earlier, I would have taken more photos of you! Congratulations again, ride that high for awhile!

Nelly said...

This is an awesome race report, congrats on such a big PR! Sounds like big things are to come for you in the future!

And wow you have such a fast family, amazing.

Stephanie said...

Congrats again!! I can't believe how similar our experiences were. I'm still in shock at my overall time and splits, too!

TriMOEngr said...

What a great day for a freaking fast family! So pleased for all of you! YAY for PRs! YAY for families who run together! Congrats all around!

dreambigrunner.com said...

Wow, congratulations!!! What a huge PR! That's what i love about the wineglass marathon marathon, it's early enough so you can a few half's afterwards and feel great and in shape. I had a half Pr after every wineglass Marathon :-)

dreambigrunner.com said...

Wow, congratulations!!! What a huge PR! That's what i love about the wineglass marathon marathon, it's early enough so you can a few half's afterwards and feel great and in shape. I had a half Pr after every wineglass Marathon :-)

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

Congratulations girl!!!

Suz and Allan said...

Woohoo, what a huge PR! Congratulations!

Sunny 2 Runner said...

I really enjoyed your race report!!! Congrats on your huge PR :-) Great work.

Me said...

Awesome run and report! Congrats on the PR!! I'm chasing the same dream of a sub-2 as well.

Nelly said...

Yea, seems so simple to me - but I think midfoot striking solves almost all injury problems. Mainly it spreads out the load impact across your whole body instead of just hitting the legs/ankles/etc. Hopefully I'm able to do 6 miles in 4 weeks.

For Newtons - the running store I went to suggested the Newton Distance. They seem to work for me so far.

As for Hunger Games, I thought the first book was a 10, 2nd book a 9, 3rd book a 5 - so yea I'm not looking forward to the 3rd and 4th movies! Catching Fire was a good movie overall, I'll put up a detailed review on my blog.