Friday, April 6, 2012

Danbury Half Marathon - Race Report

I decided today that this is the Hardest time of year.  For those of us in the Northeast, winter has officially ended. On the calendar that is!!! Three weeks ago we had temps in the 80s! A fluke, yes. But also SUCH a tease!!!!!  We rode bikes in shorts & tanks, got sun on our faces, ran without enough fluids and opened all the windows!
Ya....well now it's back to 30s and 40s. It's windy.  Very very windy.  I am trying oh so hard not to whine about it. But I am sick and tired of going 13 mph DOWN hills and being bundled so much that I can't bend my arms. 
Spring is a tease. We've been inside on trainers, running on sometimes dark and snowy roads, training for months and months without any 'fun.' Now, Tri season kicks off in a few weeks, there are daffodils starting to pop up, buds are on the trees, the street sweepers are around a bit ( not enough...), and yet, it's Still SO cold here in Maine!

How to survive??? RACE!!!

I convinced my husband to run a Half Marathon with me! It would be his first!! But you may remember if you read my race report from the Cape 10 miler back in Feb, the dude can run. He can run fast. He can run fast without any significant training. I am not kidding. I stopped letting it bother me years ago. He just has talent and that is that. He clearly has strong hearty lungs and  high VO2 max I'm guessing as well.  If you saw his training log ( that doesn't exist - just my mental notes) you would flip. It's silly.

Last weekend we had a nice mellow Saturday then left town around 1:00. Mark flew us down to CT and his sister picked us up.  We had a nice day with my boys playing with their big cousin Kalia while we caught up with Mark's sister and her husband at their house. It was relaxing and low key.  I must say, a bit different than the day before triathlons. Road racing is a nice change of pace!!

The race plan---->
run like hell.

Seriously. That was about it. I had nothing to lose. The only person I knew in the race was Mark. There were no familar competitors. There were no qualifying spots. Just me and the road and 13.1 miles to cover as fast as possible.

Alright.. the pre race stuff is boring. I'm skipping it.

10:25 a.m. --- Go!

I never ever ever wear my HR monitor when I race. Ever. It just doesnt' matter to me. But that day, I wore it.  Why? I was just curious to look at the data After. I did not have the screen showing HR during the race. After all....time to just run. ( Later, I sat to look at the graph. And, NO graph on training peaks?? where is it? Long story short, I had to hook up new software to get my data. HR SHOT way up from ~ 1/4-1/2 mile into the race. There is stayed. Ave HR 182. My max is in the 190s. See...told ya I was just going to run like hell.) 

Back to the race---
we took off and ran hard. There were a few women up in front. I could tell which ones were fast by the way they were dressed and where they placed themselves in line. I knew who would fly by me. Sure enough... they took off like gazelles. Near mile 2 our ave pace was 6:20. Possibly too fast to start. But it felt good and I was taking risks. My goal pace for the run was 6:48.
Mark was not convinced.  Whatever. Just run with me bud. Let's try...

Soon there were some hills. Nothing too daunting. Just bumps in the road. And yet, they went up and down and kept things honest.  Before mile 3 Mark, two steps behind me but going nowhere said, "Too fast! This pace is too fast!"  We were sitting at 6:23 at that point.

Okay....I guess he might be right.  I backed off 1/2 a notch.   I was having fun!

Then... he arrived. A man crossed behind me making a startling noise on the ground.  I thought he was about to fall! He stepped to my side and ran next to me. And then he did it again! And again? What is going on??  Every minute or so, he dragged Both his toes across the road twice! So... right foot left foot right foot left foot. Run run run run run run again.. drag toes... repeat. For miles!!!!!!!!!!!  It was making me crazy!!!!  When I first heard it, I tried to wave a signal to Mark so he'd see or to ask if he was hearing it, seeing it??? We had this back and forth between breaths and finally he did. Then another man ran up to us and exclaimed about it. The guy was just in front of us now and we could not shake him!!! Very strange. Finally he pulled away on a hill and I was happy to see him go.

Around Mile 4 Mark came up next to me and quietly said, "you are crazy."  What? He repeated, "This pace is crazy."  I just smiled. 

My sister in law is the best at finding her way around race courses to cheer.  The best!!! And that is saying a lot because I have some incredible race supporters in my family. ( Mom and Dad!!!!) But Leslie is a pro at jumping from one spot to the next like she's getting magically beamed there. I remember this from a sprint tri in Bethel, ME a few yrs ago. She knew the run course b/c it was on  XC ski trails that she used to train on. ( X-Olympic skier that Leslie...)  She was at Every corner of that run through the woods! On this past Sunday morning she drove us to the race wearing her running shoes and tights and navigated herself around those roads With my 3 boys to at least 5 or 6 spots. Pretty cool!  Thanks Les!!!

We saw them at mile 1.something then again at 1. something else :)  and then again just after 4? And maybe around 5? I wasn't looking at my watch so I don't know.

I do know this. Mile 5 came pretty fast. I gulped a gel. Pace was still lower than my goal. Around 6:40 I think? I was happy here since we'd had some hills. 10K was 41:18. I know this because someone was yelling splits at a 10K sign.
I felt so powerful that day. That sounds funny when talking about running. Kurt and I had chatted the night before. He told me to take inventory on how I felt as I ran.
powerful. that is how I felt. I kept having bursts where I felt like I couuld jsut propel forward.
I was Determined to run fast the entire race. I did not want to crash and burn or give up just because I was .. tired. Nope. Not me. I'd rest when I was done.

Alright... things changed now. My mind was still focused. I still felt good and yet... you can only do what you can do.
The road started going up. And Up. And up.
For about 3 miles. There were portions that were pretty steep. It was slow. I never once looked at my watch. I just kept my head down, took quick steps, used my arms and hung on. But damn... .I just knew my 6:40 pace was going away... shoot
It's ok. Make it up. I Finally got to the 11 mile mark and the road turned. We started going down. Now I peeked.  7:00. ARGH! I knew it! Ok go fast and knock it back down! GO GO GO!

The downhill part was kind of tough! I kind of felt like I might fall. But I moved along and kept running. I wanted to pick off some women. Yet none were around. Ok... men? There was a guy in Hot pink HOT shorts and hot pink gloves. Yup. I realllllllllly wanted to beat him.  Couldn't get him.
There was a guy who ran with us after foot dragger guy who snorted and gagged or something on Every single inhalation. It was gross. I had pulled away from him. Yay.  He was gross.  Otherwise, I was alone. I lost Mark around mile 8 he said. He had remained 2 steps behind me but holding on until then. I saw him start to fade but knew he'd be ok.

The last few miles are kind of a blur. I wanted it to end. I wasn't in a good place anymore. I had conquered the hills on the first 1/2 of the race and held my goal pace but that 3 mile doozie just got the best of me. I ran as hard as I could.  I saw my ave pace slowly go down to 6:57. I was out of real estate.
Bring it home and see what you can do Ange.....
1:32.00. That was the time on the clock. Ok. I'll take it. It's a PR. 
My watch said 6:57 pace at 13.2 miles. Mark's said the same and so did a few others. Splitting hairs at that point... but I was Just under 1:32 in my mind.  good enough.
top 10 women overall, 3rd in my age group. 

I'll take it! 

Mark rounded the corner looking a little bit broken down but came in at 1:33:30!!! Awesome!!! He felt very proud. And Sore. And the best part? Later that night, at home in our kitchen, he pulled me aside. He said this, I'm paraphrasing.... Thank you. There is no way I would have done my first half marathon at age 42 without you. I love what you are doing for us. You're keeping us all healthy. Today was awesome. 

Successful Race I'd say!!
Next up:

Polarbear Sprint!!!!!!!!!! Woo hooo Tri season kicks off in less than a month!!!!!!!! 


Beth said...

Congrats on your awesome race and PR Ange!! Congrats to your hubby too!! :-)

Mary IronMatron said...

Oh! Great report!
I think you need to run a flat half and see what happens... ;) I bet you go sub 1:30.
CONGRATS on blasting that whole damn race! Congrats on the PR! And congrats on feeling powerful. That is an awesome and rare feeling, I think!

Christi said...

Congrats to you and the hubby on your great race!

GoBigGreen said...

nice job to you and mark. I agree with the thoughts on winter. I had to go to Tucson to remember i love to SBR:)

Alili said...

Congrats to you and hubby - and I LOVE his awesome compliment about what you're doing for the whole family. Pure awesomeness.

TRCrun said...

I also ran the Danbury Half and when I read your post I laughed hysterically about the foot dragger ! I remember him and how annoying it was .. thankfully I passed him early on. Congrats on the PR. That is a tough half marathon course !

Pam said...

Wow, this was so fun to read, I felt like I was right there with you! Which is the only way I will ever know what it is like to run that fast:) Congrats on a great race and a PR!!!

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