Mercedes Benz Half-Marathon Race Report
After training in the Siberian Tundra for the last three weeks, Kristen and I decided to travel to Birmingham, Al for a little early season tune up run. Kristen was using the race for pacing practice for her marathon in Albany, Ga during the first week of April, while I was just getting an overall idea of where my running fitness stood.
Kristen and I left Boone on Friday for Chattanooga. After crashing in the Nooga overnight, making a hundred on my Human Genetics online quiz (yes, I do homework on Friday nights) and eating my bodyweight in carbs we were ready to set off for Bham the next morning. We got to Birmingham, rocked the expo and took off for our Latina getaway (aka…La Quinta Hotel) before meeting up with my mom, who was kind enough to travel down to see us race, for a Valentine’s Day dinner.
The Fourth of July celebration came early at 4:30am (technically 5:30am our time thanks to the central time change). With roughly fourteen alarm clocks blasting, the radio turned on and a ringing wakeup phone call we decided it was probably best to get up before we got arrested for disturbing the peace. Kristen and I got to the race start roughly an hour before the race began, ran our four mile warm up and just barely made the start time.
So we were off and running. Thank god, because surprisingly I was chilly standing around for the minute I was on the start line. Marc and I had planned to take the opening four miles extremely conservatively (5:40-45 pace) after my performance at Toronto Half-Marathon back in October where I PRed for the 5k, 8k, and 10k then promptly blew completely apart. We lumbered along through the few miles at 5:32-35 pace. Felt easy as was observed by the roughly 50 people that were running along with us at the time. By the time we got the third mile the field had thinned out to about 10 people. I slotted in behind a track shack runner as we headed into a tough headwind. The pace felt stupid slow but I kept it rolling along knowing that from mile six to roughly mile nine we would be going uphill. My pace slowed from 5:35 to 5:50-53 pace for the uphill two miles (which was frustrating bc I got gaped by the track shack guy…lame). Once we got up and over the few miles of long rollers we had some sweeping down hills. There was an announcer at mile nine calling out split times as it was the top of the hilly section and on UAB's campus. When I got to the top of the hill I was in roughly ninth or tenth place. Over the load speaker I hear, "It looks like we have one of our elite women making a move up to the front pack, Let's cheer her on as she comes to the top of the hill." Freaking awesome...So after getting a big boost from the crowd of hungover college students, I swallowed my ego and surged repeatedly to try and close the gap back up to the track shack guy. Frustratingly, I found myself in no man's land and couldn’t close the 200m lead he had on me. From mile 10-11 I dropped my quickest mile at 5:08-10 then slowed down to 5:35 pace for 11-12mi due to slight incline. Once I hit mile 12.5 I was crossing an intersection, cruising close to the people lining the side of the street and had a blue haired lady pull directly out in from of me. I came within a foot of getting creamed to only have the lady stop completely in the intersection much to my and everyone on the side of the streets surprise. *Insert Dumb and Dumber quote here about the elderly* Regardless, I finished in eighth place overall with a PR of over thirty seconds (1:14:23).
I am very pleased with my result. After doing almost all of my tempo runs and track workouts in the snow, I am happy with my level of fitness for February. I felt in control the entire race and stuck to my pre-race plan completely. A great way to start of the 2009 season.
In other news, I want to thank Zoot for supporting me this season with race apparel, clothing and shoes. I am very excited for the opportunity. Thank you tremendously Brian and Elisette for the chance to represent such an outstanding company.
I will post some race pictures shortly.