Monday, April 29, 2013

Race recap: Hy-Vee Road Races half marathon

So as not to bury the lead, several race-day fears came true yesterday at the Hy-Vee half marathon.

I was comfortable in a T-shirt and shorts at the starting line, meaning the abrupt warmup I'd fretted about had indeed arrived. And the combination of adrenaline, wanting to break free from the crowd and a prolonged downhill stretch at the beginning meant I started far too strong.

Toss in misleading MapMyRun distances and paces (apparently I ran 13.75 miles at a 9:30 clip!), and you've got the makings of a letdown. Watch the slow, steady downward progress:

My 5K split was 28:33 (a 9:11 pace); 10K split was 58:40 (a 9:26 pace); 15K split was 1:29:30 (a 9:36 pace); and overall time was 2:10:33 (a 9:58 pace).

I'd rather focus on the positives, though, and the good news is that, once I literally cooled down, this wasn't even a struggle.

* Spectator signs were excellent. My favorite was "If this were easy, it would be called your mom," followed by "Worst parade ever :( " and "Run faster, I just farted."

(I would've smiled more at "Don't walk, people are watching," except that I indulged in walking and did not care who saw.)

* The friend factor was off the charts. Emily and Zach ran the half with me; we let Zach take off with the fast kids, but we ladies stuck together for not quite half of the race. Even though we hardly talked (she's an iPod runner), somehow it made the miles fly by.
No sweat, no scowls: This is obviously a pre-race photo.
After the race, I got to commiserate about the conditions with the friends who ran the half, and I was consoled/credited by those who didn't run the half, all along the lines of "Seriously, you just ran 13.1 miles. That's amazing. I can't even fathom doing that."

And both of those groups united for a long, leisurely post-race celebration.

* Post-race brunch was beyond amazing. We hit up Jethro's for a $6 all-you-can-eat brunch, and words cannot describe how amazing everything tasted ... for a beyond-reasonable price.
That first bite of bacon tasted soooo good. I might've wept for joy. The potatoes, which you can barely see, were the real star, though. Yes, those are Bloody Marys; no, I didn't finish mine after the first two sips. 
To top it off, we saw Huckleberry stroll by and mark a shrub as his, and there was this sign:
Don't worry. I left a tip.
* Post-race beer was fantastic. One at Jethro's, a few more in a supportive friend's courtyard. There's no caloric guilt in having a few Summer Shandies after running 13.1 miles, right? And it's totally OK to drink your post-race fuel instead of eating it, right?

Overall, while I fell short physically and mentally during the race (I'm really sorry to everyone who heard me ask where the f*** the finish line was, or declare that this length was f***ing bulls***), I'm pleased with the lead-up and aftermath.

I trained my body well; it just so happened that race-day conditions didn't arrive until the taper period.

And with that, plus my embarrassment/frustration/anger at acknowledging hopes and dreams only to fall short, it was less than an hour before I was thinking and saying: "Maybe I can redeem myself at the Des Moines half this fall."

No declarations of "running sucks, I quit forever." It's just time to recuperate and think about RAGBRAI now.


  1. Ok 13.75 by your GPS lets pretend that is correct, all be it GPS's are not necessarily all that accurate, but ok were now becomes a math problem and one of geometry at that time for a eureka moment, I tell the children and for that matter most all who care to listen that geometry is good for two things in life shooting pool and running the tangents i.e. straight lines. A course is measured in the shortest possible manner where as in a crowd or along the way we tend to meander in your case a lot but then it is your wandering.
    Congrats on the 1/2 marathon.

  2. During the first few miles, when the difference was only about a tenth of a mile, I figured it was meandering for sure. Once we got up to a half-mile ... perhaps it was my heat-induced crankiness, but I was inclined to believe something was off with the GPS, seeing as so many things already felt off with me. Anyways, thanks for the congrats, and hope all is well in Rockford!

  3. We collect GPS mileage recently for a couple of races, with 15-20 different individuals reporting there GPS distance after running a race and it was interesting with even same make and models coming up with some fairly significant differences. The events were a 7 and 9 mile and both had readings varying up to 3/4 of a mile. Kind of a long way but then satellite wobble could be problem of maybe the planet is just now and then taking many out of their perceived way. Am so glad that they were not around in the old days when we only drank water, wore cotton, and worried only about how hard we ran not how far. Things good here still enjoy following your blog.

  4. Ah, race day melt downs...they happen to all of us. I've certainly had my fair share. At lease you dwelled on the positive and consoled yourself with delicious looking bacon. Yum. Here's to next time!

  5. And truth be told, it's only two minutes off my best time and a whopping 10 minutes off my worst. I even had to laugh when the temperature fell 40 degrees a few days later — if only the half marathon had taken place Thursday instead of Sunday!