Sunday, April 24, 2011

Race Report: River Rat Half Marathon

Saturday I crawled out of bed after 2 hours of tossing and turning and immediately checked the weather report.  Turns out the wind had managed to increase over the night to 20 mph winds with 30 mph wind gusts.  Uff.  The wind coupled with the barely above 40 degree temps, made me want to crawl back under the covers immediately.  Angie and I started to make the trek south and talked race day plans and also race plans for FARGO (she's running the full as well).  By the time we got to the race start, I had deemed a PR out of the question.  I (somewhat seriously) began joking about napping in the care while Angie raced.  We were greeted by Tom and Brent who were at the race to spectate and before too long we were ready to start!

From the start I knew that it was going to be impossible to hit the 8:40s I had originally planned.  Fighting the wind was going to kill me.  I tried to run hard and tuck in behind people as much as I could.  The wind was coming from the NNW (we were running to the west) so at times it was almost unbearable.  With the first couple of miles in the 8:50s, I knew that I'd be lucky to finish the day under 1:55.  After the major hill (that I would later have to run up) I realized that my first three mile average was actually pretty close to my goal.  Hmmm....      (Full confession, I did major bad math here, as I came up with slightly above 8:40 for an average of these 3 miles.... uh... stupid tired running brain) 1. 8:51 
2. 8:56 
3. 8:36 

[indicating to the boys that I will toss my jacket when I've passed them so it would sail right to them with the wind]

Then we had a nice flat stretch to run.  There were a pack of about 6 chicks I was running with, so I was a total B and would line up off their shoulders so they could block my wind.  I struggled with deciding if it was smarter to stick with them running a smidge slower than I wanted to, or pull ahead and brave the wind on my own.  After the 4th mile a few of us went off on our own, and caught up to another girl and let her pull us along for awhile.  The wind got really bad the next couple of miles.  Once we got close to the marina we got to run a section with the wind at our back, which was great but I was scared for when we had to run directly in to that beast.  At mile 5 I realized I was starting to drag a bit and remembered that I should snag a GU.
4. 8:40
5. 8:46
6. 8:49 
There was a small little hill (which felt like a mountain) directly in to the 20-30 mph winds right before the turn around that literally made me feel like I was going to die.  Wowsers.  For some reason, even though I was slightly below pace, I had it in the back of my mind that maybe the wind could push me on the second half.  I decided if I could finish in the 1:53s on this course I would be pretty thrilled, so I set my sights on that.  Close to the turnaround I chatted a bit with a chick who's tail I'd been riding for most of the race, which was nice.  I saw Tom and Brent again shortly there after (seriously they were spectator STARS; it was awesome).
[oh hai new friend!]

I was excited to make up some time on the next 4 flat miles with the wind at my back.  Being able to see the monster hill in the distance was a bit...daunting... to say the least.  I saw my new stocking-hatted running friend (see above) slowly picking off runners, and I tried to follow suit.  I felt really strong and surprised at how much gas I had in the tank.  I made sure to take my last GU prior to starting the climb.
7. 8:43
8. 8:28
9. 8:26
10. 8:34 

The only advice I had remembered of Jason's (sorry pal) was that I had 8 minutes and 50 seconds to complete the hilly mile in.  Coming up on it (for what felt like 1200 hours) I decided to give myself 9:30.  That thing was STEEP.  I started doing math and realized that I would need to run 8 minute miles to the end to get anywhere near my PR.  I also lamented the fact that I actually didn't remember what my PR was.  :/  I keep meaning to crush the sucker so I haven't gotten too attached to it.  1:52:something.  Hmm... ok then.

and up....
and up.... (I swear I'm not walking)

My mom later commented that dad had wanted to watch me run up the hill, so they just had to be there snapping photos like paparazzi.  It was actually nice because it kept me running strong.  For some reason I was picking people off left and right up the hill.  Once I got to the top I was surprised to see that my legs felt good (usually they feel like trash for a good 1/2 mile after taking on a major hill).  

[this dude seemed disgruntled by my paparazzi..... so I passed him.... ;)]

I knew the last 2.5 miles were downhill and that I needed to give it my all.  I did some quick math and realized that if I ran the last 2.5 miles at an 8 minute pace I actually had a shot at a PR.  Uh.... hell ya!
11. 8:38

Yes, apparently I didn't need the 8:50 that was allotted for me.  It also means I hauled some serious ass once I got up and over that hill.  Two more 8 minute miles and a PR was mine.  I started setting my sights on people that I thought I could catch.  I saw my parents once more but I was finally focused on running my booty off in lieu of cute race photos (somewhere this is warming Angry Runner's cold cold heart).  I call this my running stank face.

12. 7:50 

Um... seriously..... can I hold on to this pace to pull of a PR?!?!?  I set my sights on a few more chicks in front of me and continued to haul.  I got slowed down slightly by some random switch backs on the bike trail about a half mile from the finish line.  It is not easy to turn on a dime when you're running fast... did you know that?!?  I started closing in on a chick that I had been hanging behind in the initial chick pack but who had pulled away.  At one point she was close to half of a mile in front of me.  Nothing like a good race to the finish, no?

I'm coming for ya blue!
But seriously... you'd better hustle.



13. 7:34
If the race had been a few strides farther, I would've had her.  But thanks to her I had a strong finish!

I bested my previous PR by almost 2 full minutes finishing in 1:50:57 for a pace of 8:28.  I was ecstatic!  Well, I was ecstatic after I realized I wasn't going to toss my cookies after I crossed the finish line.  It was truly touch and go there for a few minutes.  Luckily the almost spew was caught on camera by my madre.  Mid-dry heave I had to ask her to please not take any pictures of me if I was puking.  :p

Me and Team Green.
The two coolest Jer(r)(y)(i)s I know. :)

This race gives me some major confidence 4 weeks out from Fargo.  Sub 4 I'm coming for you!  It also further solidifies that I only race well when I don't put any pressure on myself to do so.  How I go about fixing this for the future.....uh.... no clue.  Suggestions are welcome.  For now I'm going to bask in my post-PR glow.


Kier said...

Nice work and congrats on the PR! I think Mother Nature has our backs this year with our Fargo training - it seems like all of my runs lately have been into the wind!! Hopefully come race day there is just a slight breeze at our backs the entire race.

Jamie said...

AWESOME! Sounds like incredibly tough running conditions and you nailed it! Congrats on the PR and a fantastic race!!!

bobbi said...

Nice!!! Congrats on the PR, in super tough conditions (I HATE wind)!

Bob said...

nice work, I love picking people off at the end. Happened to me in my last race though :(

J said...

Congrats on the PR Jeri! That hill looks like death! I love your bright arm sleeves! So cute!

Anonymous said...

congrats on a great PR! And a super strong finish - that's awesome! I love that you have so many photos and basically your own paparazzi :)

Greg said...

Congrats on the PR!!! I love the battle between Blue and Green at the end!

Anonymous said...

Yayy so awesome!! And I can't believe that wind! I bet you will have an amazing marathon now. I hope I can channel this speed for my race this weekend.

Heather said...

Congrats on the PR! I am so impressed that you kicked ass in the wind. AND I love your arm warmers. :)

Where are you staying for Fargo? My e-mail is hmwynn at gmail dot com if you want to e-mail me. I don't really remember where we are staying right now, but I'll have to figure it out. :)

Anonymous said...

You look way too happy in those pictures. I think not smiling could have shaved off at least 10 more seconds. JK - congrats on the PR! Esp in the wind, dude-- that's my kryptonite.

Katie said...

ok A) i hate the wind. more then anything, i yell at it when i'm running. and 2) i love your shirt/arm warmers combo. that is all. OH and congrats on the PR, you badass!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I am proud. Show me all your ugly running faces!

And you're getting awfully close to dipping under 1:50! Get you on a flatter course with a bit less wind and I think it's in the bank. ;)

Jen Feeny said...

D@mn girl!!! Way to pull it off out there! Gotta love tackling hills and not letting the wind break you! So proud of you girl and congrats on a maja PR!!!! Sub-4?!?!? Um I think you got this.

Bree said...

Just imagine if the weather had been good! Way to rock it.

Dwayne said...

Great job! Way to kick the wind and hill's ass!

Unknown said...

great report! congrats on the pr. :) -cw

Richelle said...

Way to go on the PR!

Trying To Heal said...

damn woman, you.are.awesome!!!

Anonymous said...

That race deserves a good RAGE. woo! Way to beast it girl. PR party for the whole month. :)

Susan said...

PR!!!! Congrats!! How do you look like you're running during your pictures?? I always look like I'm walking...

Sarah OUaL said...

Awesome race dude. Can I hire your pap team (no not your OB) for my next race? They got some damn good pics of you!

Steel Springs said...

Congratulations on the PR! You totally conquered that hill. A sub-4 hour marathon is yours.

Sarah said...

finally getting around to reading the recap!!! YAYZIES for you!!! awesome, awesome race. someday i will be speedy like you!! in the meantime i will live through you and danielle! sub 4 is allll yours!

Nicole @ Haute Runner said...

Congrats!! You are awesome girl!! What a wicked race! Please send me some of your super quick racing vibes for tomorrow.