Tuesday, January 29, 2013

F^3 Lake Half Marathon Race Recap

And so it begins. I woke up a few hours before the race. I ate my oats-in-a-jar. I prepared my gear bag (no easy feat! winter coats do not fit in small bags!).

I took the el from my friend's apartment where I had stayed the night. The walk to Montrose Harbor was about a mile from the station. I kept seeing other runners who were warming up or getting to the race. There were also many runners staying warm in their cars.

At the start line, I overheard that 1800 people registered and only about 1300 people picked up their bibs. I guess the winter training isn't for everyone? And there were quite a few people around me in vibram five fingers and all I could think is that if I, wearing socks and shoes, cannot feel my toes, how can you? I checked multiple times to make sure my socks weren't wet because my toes were so cold I couldn't feel them. All that just from standing around waiting for the race to start.
First mile. The runners spread out quickly.
We started at 10:00 and the runners thinned out fairly quickly, despite it being such a narrow path.

I found myself running on a weird snow/sand mix that covered the path. Not having trained on that at all, it was confusing and difficult. My shoes didn't have enough traction despite being my trail shoes. I can't imagine how much slower I would have been if I wore my normal kicks.
Weird mysterious snow stuff
At around mile 2/3 the path continued to be snowy, and a little hilly.

I started feeling a bit of knee pain in mile three and I had to ask myself...If I take an ibuprofen will I be able to continue? If I finish the first out-and-back will I be able to finish the second? I decided to take the ibuprofen and a gu, then I decided to do the second out-and-back. I didn't want to give up.

Mile 4(ish)
I had the sun on my face from mile 3 to 8, and I managed to get sunburnt. Whoops.
I gotta say, I was mostly bored during this race because the field thinned out so much. There was only a few people that I kept playing leap-frog with because we were run/walking. Because of my knee pain, I decided to walk a minute every mile, or less as needed. I couldn't have finished if I didn't walk as frequently as I did.

Mile 5 (ish)
I continued on by my lonesome self... It was around mile 5 that I kept seeing the leaders on their way in. They were so fast.
These aren't the leaders but they are about 3 miles ahead of me.
I kept calculating how far ahead the people passing me were. I was getting pretty bored and distracted by my tired legs. In training, I only really made it to 8 miles for a long run. I was seriously undertrained for this race.
I kept watching dogs and their owners play on the icy beach. So cute! The water is deeper here, where they have open water swim in the summer. I wouldn't want to go in the water now. COLD.

At the turnaround at mile 8, there was a woman who looked like she got her hand clipped by a bicyclist. She was bleeding a lot. An ambulance was on its way for her.  The course wasn't closed off, so there were still bicyclists. I almost got clipped myself. Seriously, if you ride your bike around runners, please be vocal. I do my best to listen for bikes but sometimes it doesn't work.

Finally on my way back in.

On my way back in after the turn around--all those other runners ahead of me; all the beautiful water to my right. No more sun on my face (it was much chillier after there was no more sun on my face, but at least I wasn't getting sunburnt anymore).

Around mile 9 there was some really neat ice in the water.
It was here I had my last gu (I tried for one every three miles or so. I was tired and I do believe in adequately fueling myself during a race. 100 calories every few miles usually does it for me). I kept counting down the distance to the end.
I made it to ten miles and just kept saying, only 5K to go! You can do a 5k!

During this last 5K, I had to walk more frequently. I wasn't upset by this, I was just annoyed that the race wouldn't be over as soon.
You know how if you're in class or something and you keep looking at the clock thinking 10 minutes has passed and only 1 has? That was how I was feeling.
Around mile ten. 5K left!
I finally made it to the end. Somebody saw me trying to take a picture of myself and said "oh, no no no!" and offered to take the picture for me. Also the bags you can see behind me are all filled with bagels :) .

So there you have, folks. Half marathon number three. Not a PR, but not slower than my first half marathon! Also my hair looks fantastic for just having run for 2 hours and 50 minutes. Haha.
My race medal is a cowbell. This is mostly why I didn't want to give up. I wanted that damn cowbell (cause I got a fever)(and the only cure is more cowbell).
Official time was 2:50:50.

Edit: The official race photos are here.

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