After deciding to defer my entry for the Milwaukee Running Festival Marathon, I knew I needed a race on the horizon to train for. I convinced Kyle to take a quick weekend getaway with me to the Twin Cities to run another half before the end of 2016.
The race profile showed a net downhill course. Wahoo! The weather forecast early in the week showed perfect race weather 42-46. As the week went on, it warmed up to high 40s, low 50s and 90% humidity. Meh. Still could be worse, for sure.
After a few key workouts leading up to the race, I had a pretty firm race plan going in to the race: 1st 3 miles at 10:15, 2nd 3 miles at 10:00, 3rd 3 miles at 9:45, and the final four miles all out. I had thought the all out pace would be 9-9:15 pace if I was running my absolute best. I also could've swore that miles 9 to the finish were all downhill. Spoiler alert: no.
The race started and it was so gorgeous, I almost couldn't handle it. All the trees' leaves lining the route were on fire. So insanely pretty. People started complaining at .83 miles about how warm they were, and started shedding layers of clothes. I started having a weird intense pain in my foot at a mile in to the race, and that freaked me out. I focused on my form, and eventually the pain went away. Thank goodness.
Mile 1 10:06
Mile 2 10:06
Mile 3 10:23
I purposely slowed down the third mile to reign back to the race plan slightly. I took my first GU at mile 4.5 of the race. Most of the first half of the race was a slight downhill. I knew the course was net downhill, so whenever we ran some rollers or up a hill I thought it would be the last one until "it was all downhill from here."
Mile 4 10:00
Mile 5 9:54
Mile 6 10:02
We had a decent climb during mile 7. I was feeling really good, and shocked at how well I was sticking to the race plan. Usually around the 7 mile mark I start to s-t-r-u-g-g-l-e in a race and the walk breaks because necessary. I took my second GU at mile 9 and was ready to start running all out.
Mile 7 9:58
Mile 8 9:39
Mile 9 9:33
I swear when I looked at the elevation map, the final 4 miles were all downhill. So where in the hell did the two hills in mile 11 come from? And the monster climb in mile 12? And a couple more in Mile 13? Good question. I wanted to know that same information as I continued to go up up UP! But I knew I was on pace to run a really strong time, so I kept pushing and counting down the minutes of running to meet my time.
Mile 10 9:22
Mile 11 9:21
Mile 12 9:40
Mile 13 9:13
.22 1:41 (7:39 pace)
I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch and was thrilled to see a 2:09:05 for 13.22 miles (we were already off almost .1 mile at the one mile marker... grrrr....). This time was almost 14 minutes faster than my half in September. And even better, my legs weren't broken upon finishing! Is this what racing feelings like?! It's been so long I don't even remember.
Even my HR data was better than September's race!
Avg HR 160
Max HR 177
Kyle and I went out for a delicious lunch after to celebrate, and have a celebratory beer. Mmmm.