|Me & a cow........|
We signed up at registration and were given women's cut technical tees...nice touch!!! Registration was small, but the volunteers were great and for such a small race they had lots of logo products, like t-shirts, magnets, and even running shorts you could buy.
The volunteers were trying to warn us about last minute parking changes. The race is literally out in the country. We were supposed to park in some fields, but due to lots of rain over the past few days they had to make last minute changes. Literally just two days before the race they arranged for buses to pick us up from multiple locations and bus us to and from the start. It went off seamlessly...I was pretty shocked.
|Me & Michelle with a very unhappy cow|
Last April I set my half marathon PR of 2:23 and I seem to have gotten progressively slower since then. This would be my 5th half of 2013, and the previous 4 had been between 2:35 and 2:39 (slowest one at Indy after my wreck). They had pacers for this race so I decided I would go with the 2:30 pacers. I wasn't sure if I could do 2:30, but I wanted to push myself a little and also thought the pacers would keep me from doing my typical run the first two miles the fastest routine.
My goal was try as hard as I could to keep with them for 11 miles...if I had something left maybe I'd run ahead, if not, I'd slow down and finish the best I could.
The course is pretty deceptive. You would think it's Kansas so it's flat...and there were no major hills. But there were plenty of slow, gradual climbs, but you of course, also got slow, gradual declines, which is nice. These are the types of hills I prefer. We still managed over 1200 feet of elevation gain over the course of the half.
|You can see it was pretty much up and down the whole time, with some bigger hills|
I got in line with the 2:30 pace group, and I have to say they seemed to struggle a bit with getting those first few miles right. Mile 1 (according to the pace chart) was supposed to be an 11:56, but was 11:15 and mile 3 was a 10:52 - we weren't supposed to do any 10 min miles. So, I didn't warm up quite as slowly as I had hoped, but I didn't seem to be struggling at all.
|Being with a pace group helped, but I loved those negative splits at the end|
I've found with most races I struggle a bit with the first few miles, just getting warmed up and into a rhythm, then I hit those middle miles and feel like I can run for days - I always all of sudden think I can PR or something....I just feel fantastic, but somewhere between 8 and 10 I die...and it's a struggle to finish. This was about the same. I felt strong for the 1st 10, but I had to work for those last few miles. I had hope maybe, just maybe to pull ahead of the 2:30 group at mile 11, but I knew I'd be lucky to just keep up with them. They had slowed down some in those middle miles, and actually had to pick the pace up at the end to get in under 2:30. I was able to keep with them though, which felt good. And other than the random 10:52 at mile 3, I actually negative split this race which was a first in a long time! It was hurting a lot more at the end, but I was able to keep my pace in spite of the nasty crosswind! Luckily we did get some tailwind, but the course was a lot of turns, so we had a lot of crosswind on the way back...and then just as you turned into the finish you had the headwind!! That part sucked, but you were so close to the finish line at that point you didn't care.
In the end I finished in 2:29:50 (officially). It was my fastest half of 2013 and I was super happy!! Maybe there is hope for me to work on my speed this year.
I crossed the finish line and found my friend Michelle. We then got in line to eat. You have NEVER, and I promise you NEVER seen food like this after a race. The race is put on by Queen of the Holy Rosary School and they had the post food in their cafeteria. There were tables upon tables of homemade foods - meatballs, enchiladas, cupcakes, cookies, etc, etc..... The lines were long, but they also had people walking around passing out blueberry muffins, chocolate milk and Subway sandwiches.
Unfortunately for me (or maybe fortunately) while standing in line for food, I suddenly got very nauseous and had to run outside for some air and to find a porta potty. I asked Michelle to grab me a burger, but even after I couldn't eat it. I tried a few bites, but just couldn't eat much. I'm not sure what my new stomach issues are from. This happened after Rock the Parkway as well. I just get nauseous and my stomach cramps for hours, but it doesn't start until 30 minutes or so after the race so it's not a HR thing. It's frustrating. I've been doing some reading online and sounds like it might be a salt or sugar issue, so I think I need to play around with my nutrition on my long runs again....I've been running 4 years, and not had these issues, it seems odd they've cropped up all of a sudden.
Anyway, the race was seriously FANTASTIC. The volunteers were amazing! The course is pretty boring, but it's made up for by the terrific race crew, shirt, medal, and food spread for sure! You also got a nice cowbell (of course) when you crossed the finish line!
Shirt, cowbell and medal