Friday, October 5, 2012

Race Recap, Double-Header Style

Maybe the title isn't 100% accurate, but I was struggling to come up with a clever title so you are stuck with my corny attempt.  Last year, the Fort4Fitness half was my first half marathon and I ran a very solid time of 2:01 and change.  As weird as it sounds, I knew running that same course slower than last year would be a huge mental/emotional roadblock for me in my marathon training so I decided to forgo the half and sign up for two of the other events instead.

We were downtown about 6:30 for the 7:30 am start of the 4 mile race.  I lined up in corral C and waited for the start - it was very chilly (40s) but perfect running weather if you ask me!  They start the race with a canon and we were off.  My only real complaint was trying to squeeze through the "start arch" they had set up - it was significantly narrower than the road we were lined up on.  I didn't have any goals for this race, I was running it in conjunction with the later race more as a way to get my training miles in than anything.

That being said, I started out a bit faster than I intended, not a "fast" pace but faster than the 9-10 minute miles I had figured I would run. Being that I was in a front corral, there wasn't a whole lot of weaving after the first few minutes.  I was passing people pretty much constantly - as mile two clicked off  I decided I was going to hold onto the speed as long as I could.

By mile 3 I was tired but I told myself I was half done to suck it up and keep running.  So, I pushed harder.  As I neared the end of the race, I recognized the course from my half last year.  I remembered falling apart that last half mile and how it cost me my sub 2:00 half marathon.  I put that frustration and anger into my running and picked up the pace even more.

As I entered the stadium and saw the finish line I decided to put it all out there, which is very difficult given the surface - I find it very difficult to get traction and felt my feet slip with nearly every step.  I crossed the finish line proud of myself for leaving it all on the course the last two miles.

Mile 1: 8:15
Mile 2: 7:59
Mile 3: 7:55
Mile 4: 7:27
Last .1:   27 seconds if my math is correct*
      Official Time: 32:03
      Age Group Finish: 4 out of 244
      Gender Finish: 21 out of 2158
      Overall Finish: 96 out of 3196

      *I forgot to stop my garmin, so I subtracted miles 1-4 from official time

The downside to all of this is I came in 4th in my age group.  Now, don't get me wrong, fourth is FANTASTIC, but I was so close to 3rd and if I had any clue I had a chance at placing I know I could have run the first two miles faster and probably taken 2nd or 3rd place. There were only 14 seconds between myself and 2nd place!  Ah well, next time!  I also won't look up race results online between races if I do this again - sort of psyched me out for the next one.

I ran to my van and switched shirts and bibs to get ready for the 10k that was to take place at 9 am.  One last visit to the port-a-potty and I got into corral D to prepare myself mentally for the next "race."  Again, this wasn't meant to be a race, more so just miles.  I actually lined up at the back of corral D hoping to run this a bit more conservatively.

Again, we started with a canon and we were off through the crowded "arch" - I said good luck to a friend and started on my way.  I am terrible with remembering specifics from the course, but somewhere in the first mile there was a large, very encouraging group of individuals from a charity raising money for Congo.  They played music and cheered on the runners.  I believe also in the first mile or so was a clown juggling plungers - yes, toilet plungers.  

Other than that I don't remember much, the 1.25 or so miles and the last 2 miles were the same course I had run earlier for the 4 mile.  This was both a blessing and a curse.  On one hand, it was hard to not having something new to look at to keep my mind off the miles but on the other it was nice to know exactly how far I had left to go!

One other "highlight" of this race (as well as the 4 mile) - towards the end, about 1.5 to 1 mile before the end there was a great neighborhood that decorated the streets with paint, had tons of people out cheering, people dressed up, and even beer shots (not that I took any).  It was nice to have that encouragement towards the end.   That's about it... for my reference, splits are as follows:

Mile 1: 9:06
Mile 2: 8:54
Mile 3: 8:49
Mile 4: 8:46
Mile 5: 8:52 (curse you, I was so close to having negative splits for both races)
Mile 6: 8:33
Last .32: 2:10 (again, assuming my math is correct)  *course measured a bit long again
   Official Time: 55:12
   Age Group: 14 out of 183
   Gender: 81 out of 1216
   Overall: 269 out of 1801

Up next, a 16 miler on the schedule for this weekend.. I am TERRIFIED!  Any pointers on how to make it a successful run?


  1. Congrats on both your races. I assume the 16 miler is your long only advice is ignore your time and just enjoy the run. Make sure to fuel properly and you should be good.

  2. Congrats on two speedy races! It's awesome that you came so close to placing, even if it didn't happen. My AG was super speedy, and everyone who placed was under 30 minutes. Blarg.

    My advice for the longer runs is to break them up. I try to do a cloverleaf pattern of loops so that I'm only running a third or so at a given time, allowing me to focus on "just" 5 miles, but not run the same thing a bajillion times.

  3. Congratulations on both races! You ran the 4-mile race so fast. I hate that you were that close to placing in your age group. Great job on the 10K as well. You're so fast Jenn!