We drove to Lincoln after work Friday night so we didn't get in until late o'clock and went right to bed. The next morning we woke up, checked the temp and decided we didn't need to do a shake out run. Can you see how committed to a solid race performance I was?? We found brunch and a pitcher of mimosas and all was right with the world.
After brunch we made our way to the expo (walking, see above: mimosas).
There wasn't much we wanted to see or look at, I debating buying a stocking hat but didn't want to spend $20 on a reminder of a terrible race (spoiler alert: I regret not buying that hat, UGH). And I was super excited to see that Jeri from six months ago went ahead and purchased a pint glass that came with a free beer at the expo. Since I was planning to buy one as soon as I saw the beer station, I was pretty excited. Melissa was feeling like crap from her cold, so we found a comfy spot on the floor to park ourselves while I drank my beverage.
We met some new friends that saw my TCM finisher shirt and wanted to chat, and before too long we were back on a walking mission to find coffee. Perhaps the shake out run should be replaced with walking to get multiple dehydrating beverages? Will continue to conduct research and report back.
We made our way back to the hotel, Melissa napped and I worked on coaching stuff, and eventually it was time for dinner. Possibly the best pizza of my life, and the slowest service. Uff da.
And then it was off to bed, with a late alarm that felt even later due to the time change. Yes please!
Before the race, I told Melissa that I expected to be around 2:17 if I was feeling good, but would probably be closer to 2:23. My plan was to take it as an easy long run, knowing that was my best chance for completing the miles without feeling like total garbage. She had been sick leading up to the race, and I just wanted her to run with me, but I knew, even if she was sick, she wouldn't likely want to run an 11 minute pace. Luckily for me, it was perfect race weather. Mid-30s, light breeze, sun while we were standing around (17 minutes!!) for the race to start and clouds during the run. Of course I was in shorts and a tank, and that was perfect. I was chilly standing around waiting to start, and was starting to get warm the last 5k. That's ideal for me.
We started off and I was thankful to be running and warming up finally. I had my watch on HR to just monitor that I was maintaining an easier long run effort, shooting to keep it in the 130s as long as I could. I was surprised at how many rolling hills there were the first few miles. So many people had said that it was a gentle downhill course that I was surprised by the rollers, but there wasn't anything crazy. My heart rate would go up a bit and then settle back down. After the first mile dinged, I consciously slowed down, knowing that I wanted to keep things closer to the 11 minute mile mark.
When I race a half, I usually break it up into 5 mile 5 mile 5k segments. When the first five miles were done, I was surprised that I was feeling pretty good. I don't think I picked up the pace on purpose, perhaps this was a decent downhill stretch, but somehow I felt even better with a little swifter pace. Ok then. At the halfway point I was at 1:09, putting me at a 2:18 finishing time if I evenly split the race. FYI I never evenly split a race. It's either negative or a monster blow up positive split, but always nice to have a bit of a check in here. At mile 7 I calculated that if I could run the final 6.2 miles in a 10 minute pace, I could run the same time I did for the Sioux Falls half, 2:12, or maybe even faster.
I felt good enough and knew that even if my body wasn't up for it, with about an hour left in the race, I couldn't die that hard, right? It was around this time that I noticed how springy my legs felt. Like maybe I was secretly wearing a pair of Vaporflys and they were catapulting me toward the finish line. Nope, just my regular New Balance 880s..... Why couldn't my legs feel like this for TCM??
I continued to run by effort, my watch was still only showing me HR and I would see my pace for each mile when it'd ding off, although I did miss a couple of those because I was just having fun pushing the pace and taking in my surroundings. I realized during the run, I don't run a whole lot of "new to me" races. So it was interesting keeping my eyes up to see where we were running.
With a 5k to go, I really tried to turn up the heat, but I quickly learned it was already on high, so I focused on just continuing with the effort without fading. I took my second GU around mile 9 and hoped that give me the extra boost necessary to push me to the finish.
My heart rate was getting pretty high the last 4 miles, which makes sense because I had really picked up the pace. Usually when it hits the 170s my body and brain are like, holy shit, pull back. But for some reason it didn't feel terrible. I suspect the cooler temps had me handling it better than normal. Heat+high heart rate=death, quickly for Jerbear.
The final mile there was a pretty big climb and I vaguely remember Kristin telling me about this hill when she did it last year. I was committed to coming as close to 2:12 as I could so I powered up the hill, dodging walkers to the best of my ability. We got to the top of the hill and I took off like I was running the 200 meter dash. It was probably obnoxious to see, but I really wanted to finish strong and I knew I was going to be super close to being under 2:12.
.12 :47 6:38 pace
I stopped my watch and chuckled, as this is the second time in the last year ish that I've had a dead 6 minute pace sprint to try to come in under some arbitrary time on the clock.
2:11:58 for a pace of 10:04.
Shortly after crossing the line I found Kristin and Melissa waiting for me and we got to take some pictures.
I had wanted to get my free beer after, but I started getting REALLY cold now that I had stopped moving and I knew Melissa would be turning blue before too long, so we took off.
After changing quickly we found a place to get tacos and margaritas, and then picked up some more coffee to keep me awake on the drive home.
I love race weekends! Oh, for the record: I beat my SF half time by 9 seconds, but who's counting. :P