Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tobacco Road Half Marathon Recap

Top three

1st Place,
Half Marathon in 1:20:01, Results here
1st Half:  40:00, 2nd Half:  40:01
6:07, 6:04, 6:01, 6:01, 5:55, 6:23, 6:03, 5:57, 6:17, 6:23, 6:11, 6:01, 5:51, :41

Wow, didn't realize I had run perfectly even splits until I looked up the results for the blog.  I had no idea that would happen given how terrible I felt at mile 9.  More on that later.

So, after yesterday's terrible performance, I was undecided about running this race.  Mark Hadley, coach of Team USA Road Runners, recommended that I don't race, given how terrible I felt in on Saturday.  In the end, I decided last minute to do the race because I knew I came to the Triangle to win prize money and really did not want to go back empty handed.  What's even more surprising about today's performance, besides the fact that I did race yesterday, is that I also found a wedding dress!  After the 4-miler, I drove with Garrett's mom to a Bridal shop two hours away, in hopes of finding THE wedding dress...and I did.  We arrived back in Raleigh at 6pm, just in time for dinner at Chipotle with Garrett's extended family.  Before I knew it, I was already back at Garrett's cousin's house, and in bed by 8:30.

My alarm sounded at 4:53am, and I was out the door by 4:58 to drive to the Marriott TownePlace Suites, to meet the Charlotte Running Club van that Aaron Linz had organized for the slew of runners making the trek to Tobacco Road.  Once I met the group, Aaron drove us all to the VIP parking lot, and we camped out for thirty minutes or so before going for a warmup jog.  Soon, it was race time and John and I frantically ran to the porta-johns to find a very long line.  We spotted several people in the woods, and made our own paths through the weeds and trees to find a suitable rest stop area on opposite ends of the forest from each other.  By the time we sorted that out, it was time to toe the line.

At the start line, I had a solid ten minutes to scope out my competition.  My assessment included Kelly Fillnow (pro triathlete), Molly Nunn (2:46 marathoner), Dalena Custer (ready to break 1:21), Josi (no idea here), and one girl I would discover to be named Erin.  The plan was to stay with Dalena as long as possible and then take off when I felt good.  My internal goal was to stick right behind whoever was the leader and hope that Dalena followed.

When the race director shouted "Get Set, Go," I settled into an overly relaxed pace to make sure that someone else took the lead.  Fortunately for me, Kelly took the bait and bolted to the front.  Dalena, Molly, Erin, and myself settled behind her.  By mile one, our group remained the same.  Aaron jumped in to keep us company for a couple of miles, before veering off to scope out a suitable cheering station. During these miles, Kelly continued to keep the pace honest and by 3 miles, our pack was Kelly, Dalena, Erin and Josi.  On mile 5, Kelly took us through a 5:55 mile, which was good enough to drop our group down to just three: me, Kelly, and Dalena.  Throughout this time, Dalena and I were chatting a little, but not enough to exhaust precious energy. I stayed tucked in behind Kelly the entire time.  I felt extremely relaxed and I couldn't even hear my own breath!  Kelly had me fooled because she wasn't breathing hard either.  That changed at mile 6, when I could tell her breathing had become more labored.  At the same time, we came through our slowest mile of the day (6:23) and I knew I needed to go then.  There was a slight hill, so I shot forward and told Dalena to come with me, which she did.

By the 6.55 mile turnaround, Dalena was still tucked behind me and Kelly was just a couple seconds behind.  After I rounded the turn, I had another burst of speed that I maintained until mile 8.  Somewhere between 7 and 8, Dalena fell back slightly, but I didn't discount her out of the game yet. When mile 9-10 rolled along, I was hurting due to the slight incline and actually doubted my ability to finish because my legs felt like do at the last 4 miles of a marathon.  Aaron materialized out of nowhere and kept me company for these miles, which was a huge life saver.  He told me how far Dalena was, and I told him it would be okay for him to lie to her and tell her that I looked terrible.

Once Aaron dropped me off, I suddenly felt much better. I no longer was worried about Dalena catching me because I knew my legs would carry me to the finish.  I felt more fresh now than I had 10 minutes ago and was able to bring my pace back down.  Thomas showed up somewhere along the way and told me that I could catch Scott Woodbury.  With one mile to go, I did catch him and told him to come with me.  He said, "Are you really going to make me do this?"  Yep, I sure am!  He helped me a ton.  By that point, I knew the win was in the bag, and really wanted to slow down, but I couldn't do that anymore with Scott by my side.  The last .1 of the race was uphill, and Scott slowed down so that I could break the tape.  I was kind of hoping he would run in alongside me so that we could hold hands together.  I didn't think he would be up for that though.  I came just short of breaking 1:20, the day after I could barely run 6:00 pace in a 4 miler.  All in all, a success!

While this is no PR, I still am very pleased with how I competed and really stuck myself out there in a position to win.  Most of all, I am proud of how I was able to push aside any disappointment from yesterday and use it as fuel for motivation in today's race.

Finally, I can't close out this blog without fully documenting the prowess of the CRC this weekend at Tobacco Road.

  • Dalena had a 3 minute PR and took home her first check of prize money with a time of 1:20:51
  • Kelly ran her goal time 1:21:43 for third place
  • Michelle shattered her marathon PR with a time of 2:58:06 and for third place
  • Danielle ran a marathon PR with a time of 2:58:49
  • John got third place in the men's half, despite having a rough day
  • Carolyn, Anna, Allison, Jinnie, Mo, Thomas, and Chad all raced as well and made the most of the day!
I'd also like to thank Emily and Matt Penny for being such gracious hosts to me over the weekend. Also, Uncle Robert and Ann were great to come and support me as I finished the race!  It was all around a fabulous time.

John and I before the race

Charlotte crew!


Matt, Emily and Eva said...

we love you! definitely enjoyed the weekend with you... :)

Miche said...

Molly Nunn had won the Beer Run in Greensboro the day before. I had to go look to see why her name sounded familiar.

Great job!

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