Woohoo I’m not a liar! I’ve blamed every bad run this summer on the heat (and tequila) so I was slightly scared of a horrible half in near perfect temps, which would mean having nothing to blame but my own suckiness. But I didn’t suck! So I will continue with the blame game
My friend Jamie decided last minute to run with me. She’s in the Army and it seems all of my military friends are in such shape that they can wing a half with no special training. It’s amazing to me that something that something I have to constantly work at is just a very small part of their jobs. Major props to the peeps in uniform for doing what you do.
Jamie and I had a very fun Friday night (got my partying in!) and a very full Saturday (she dragged me to a baby shower) so we didn’t get to Greenville until after packet pickup. I was really hoping to get everything the day before the race because I wanted to get a 20 miler in on race day. I booked a hotel exactly 3 miles from the start to make it easy – run there and run back from the race. Running to the start is pretty much the only way I’ll run before a race. So, we asked for a 5:30 wake up call to give us enough time to run there.
My pre-race dinner consisted of some Tums. Not a usual choice but we ate a lot of food at the shower (I was tempted to hijack the prego lady’s maternity pants for a comfy car ride). I stuck to foods I knew I’d run well on but in an effort to avoid eating the cookies and cakes (I’m very sensitive to sugar) I probably ate my weight in pita chips and pretzels. Eating dinner would have just left me feeling heavy in the morning. I made a smart choice.
The morning greeted us with rain. Hard rain. I looked at Jamie and said I’d run the race in the rain but I wasn’t showing up wet. We got a late check-out (1 pm) so I had plenty of time to do the extra miles after the race. Probably for the best that we drove because we got lost. I had no idea it’s be so hard to find a football stadium on a college campus. We had to stop and ask some cops for direction, who immediately started to heckle us for being the reason they were up early, out in the rain, of their day off. I made sure to thank ever single cop I saw that day. We finally pulled in to the lot around 7am. By then the rain had lightened up a bit and it looked like it would clear up for the race.
I scanned the “crowd” looking for Shaun and Jaclynn (Two people from the Runner’s World Loop – yes I cheat on Active). I knew Shaun was going to wear his yellow Team Pikermi Shirt and Jaclynn would be in some bright sneakers. Holy crap, I guess it was yellow shirt day! I saw so many guys in yellow shirts I wanted to give them all yellow cards for being distracting and annoying. On top of that I kept seeing bright sneakers..but when I looked up they were attached to dudes. Arg!
The race was small (less than 250 people) so I waited for people to line up and finally saw them near the front. We quickly said hi before I went back to the slow people section. I wish we had been able to say more but it was about a min before gun time and I was getting the stink eye from the fast people trying to size each other up. Silly rabbits! I dont want to get run over; I know better than to start in front of you!
What an uneventful start! Either there was nothing to announce it or I wasn’t paying attention. People just started running. Personally I think all races should start with a confetti cannon…but nothing?? Boo. I suggest they invest in an air horn or a cap gun or a whistle.
I settled into what I thought was a comfortable pace. I was trying not to look at the Garmin too much but I hit mile 1 in 9:39. That’s about 8k pace for me. Crap. I slowed and tried to find someone to pace me. Luckily a man in a kilt got the job. As I ran behind him, I amused myself by wondering if he was wearing anything under his kilt (Perhaps someLashevans
??). This is a great strategy – Mile 2 popped up on me in 10:12, right where I wanted to be. By mile 3 kilt man was slowing down. I was sad to pass him but mile 3 was my slowest of the race – 10:28. DARN you Kilted man!
Without the kilt I focused on thanking all the volunteers and police people. I also shamed quiet spectators into cheering by clapping and shouting good morning to them. I love cheering for strangers at races. I think it’d be really boring just standing there waiting for a familiar face. Loud and obnoxious mile 4 9:59. At mile 5 I saw a guy standing on the sidelines in the famous blue and yellow Boston jacket. I saw the BAA logo and, still in my loud and obnoxious mood, screamed “WOOHOO BOSTON BAD A**!!” He seemed either embarrassed or annoyed…but why would you wear a BAA jacket to a race unless you wanted people to notice? I thought about how weird that guy was and how if I ever get one of those jackets I’d never take it off. Mile 5 – 9:56.
The next mile was lonely. I saw hardly any spectators and I was alone for most of it. On top of that I could really feel the wind against me in this direction. I tried not to focus on pace and just try to catch up to the people in front of me. I kept hearing a train whistle and I thought about the Buffalo Marathon and how people got stopped by the train in the middle of that race. Gee, how much would that suck. The course made a sharp left…and guess what I see a quarter mile ahead?? Yup, a train! And a bunch of runners waiting at the flashing barrier. I kept running towards it, fighting the urge to slow down, hoping that I’d see the end to to train soon. No such luck. The garmin autopaused and I used the time to eat a gel. It seemed like an eternity but it was actually about a minute that I stood there waiting. Others looked like they waited a lot longer.
Once the train passed we hit the mile 6 water station. Not including the wait mile 6 took me 10:23. I was determined to not let the train incident bother me and in the end I think the rest might have done more good than harm. There were a ton of people around me again and it def helped push me along. Mile 7 – 10:10.
By then I was FINALLY passing people. I felt really good – like I could run all day (which was good considering I had a lot more to run after the race – but I tried not to think about that). The course started to have more spectators as we headed back into downtown. Mile 8 – 10:07. I was back in loud and obnoxious mode but this time the spectators played along. People would ask me how I was doing and laughed when I said “wonderful!” or “fabulous!” but I really did feel that good. Mile 9 – 10:06.
As we got back on East Carolina’s campus I was running down a lot of people who had passed me in the beginning. I like running on college campuses and it always makes me wish I was a runner in college. Mile 10 – 10:11. With only a 5k left I started thinking about the rest of the training run I had ahead of me. I was in a good position to PR (PR is 2:13:17) but what was more important? PR or 20 miler for MCM? Mile 11 snuck up on me as I thought more – 10:12.
In the end, I decided to go for the 20 miler. I havent had one yet this training cycle and I was running out of time to get in the big runs. I had more time to find a PR Pikermi (preferably one without trains!) Mile 12 – 9:58. The last mile brought us up an incline and wound through the staidum parking lot. It reminded me of Cary doing laps in the parking lot of LT field after the Country Music Marathon got shut down. Mile 13 9:59. Finally rounding the last corner I let loose and averaged a 8:38 for the last .2 (Garmin was a bit off) but that’s SUPER fast for me. Clock said 2:14:09 when I crossed. Garmin said 2:12:56 with only 1:05 for paused time. Unfortunately it looks like the chip didn’t register me at the start because my clock time and chip time are the same. Boo. Third time this year I’ve had a timing issue (twice with no start time and once with no time at all – the latter is the WORST!)
Jamie was waiting for me at the end. She rocked it with a 2:01. Shaun had mentioned the possibility of pics after the race but it was still wet, cold, and windy and I didnt expect them to stick around so Jamie and I took some pics in the parking lot.
After picture time we noticed a woman down on the ground at the end of our parking row, which was around the 13 mile mark. It looked like a spectator was helping her but she wasn’t moving or trying to sit up. So I took off running back to the finish to grab a medic while Jamie, who’s in the Special Operations Combat Medic course ran over to the lady. People were cheering for me as I ran though the finish again. Only this time I was yelling for a medic. I was completely freaked out but people didn’t seem to care. None of the finish line volunteers moved so I ran over to the tent where I had picked up my bib. One of the volunteers called someone…but I was really disappointed. What kind of half marathon doesn’t have a medic – esp at the finish? The company puts on a lot of races. I’ll def be writing to the race director on this one.
I met back up with Jamie, who said the woman helping the fallen runner was a nurse and had it under control. The whole thing shook me up and I went back to the hotel to refuel before heading back out.
I ended up doing 6.5 miles in the drizzle and it felt great! 19.7 miles according to Gary in 3:31:29, which is the fastest I’ve ever done 20 (I’m rounding up on this one!). Only the way back, we passed through the famous Farmville and I had to take a pic for all those people who annoy my facebook asking me to milk their cows or whatever.
One more 20 mile planned before taper. I hope it goes half as well as this one did. Woohoo on a good race!!! I really needed this. Pikermi #10 was the charm