This is it… Only five more days until the big race! I’m working up a post specifically about my Chicago training cycle and hopefully I’ll have it finished in the next day or so. I’ve had some time to reflect on the past few months and what I’ve learned during this process. I can’t believe it’s almost here!
As you can see from the past several blog entries, this training cycle has included a lot of racing. Last Saturday (9/26) I ran in a half marathon as part of my last long run. Then this past weekend (10/3) I ran in a 5k.
Racing a half marathon two weeks before your goal marathon is not ideal. When I brought up this race to my coach he suggested I run it at a hard effort closer to marathon pace since I was going to be coming right off a 20k race. This alleviated a lot of the pace pressure. To be completely honest a big reason I was run this particular race is for the prize money. A few days before the race the alternator and battery went out in our van. A win would balance out the vehicle repair work and I could get a great workout in.
Jonesboro is almost an hour and a half from our house. I have run this race twice before and both times spent the night since the race starts at 7 am. The night before this year’s race my daughter was going to be cheering during halftime of the varsity football game. It was her last game and I knew I couldn’t miss it.
So… we decided to leave EARLY Saturday morning. Yes, this meant having 4 kids ready and in the car at 4:45 AM. I happened to wake up at 2:30 and for the life of me could not get back to sleep. This happens occasionally, much less than it used to but it’s still annoying! Not the best start to a half marathon but it is what it is. My husband was a trooper and had us at the race shortly after 6 am.
Jonesboro has a strong running community. I know a few of the runners but only one, Lauren, happened to be at this race. Dan Kirwa, our local elite runner from my hometown, was there with his family and he warmed up with me. He was planning to run around a 5:20 pace so I knew I would never see him once the gun went off! This was a new course so I just hoped there would be someone else I could follow! (The first year I ran this race the lead female pack took a wrong turn.)
Typically I go into a half marathon with the mindset to race it all-out. This was a new experience for me! My goal pace range was 6:35-6:45. This was definitely easier on some miles more than others. My friend Lauren had warned me that the first 3 miles had the most elevation gain so I kept it easy on the first few miles. I passed two guys around miles 5-6. From that point on I didn’t see anyone the rest of the race in front of me. I was the 4th runner overall and the three guys in front of me were too far ahead to follow. Fortunately, the course was well marked and when I was unsure I just asked (more like shouted to) a volunteer. This race was by no means easy but I did not push or focus like it was my A race.
Splits: 6:36, 6:36, 6:41, 6:27, 6:24, 6:29, 6:34, 6:38, 6:34, 6:46, 6:39, 6:43, 6:36, last .16 @ 5:47 pace avg.
Official Time- 1:26:45. 1st female (4th overall) Official results can be found here.
Within seconds of crossing the finish line my son asked me for some breakfast so I quickly switched over to mom mode to help get the kids food at the big tent. I guess that’s one of the “perks” for running in a smaller race. 🙂 There was a huge breakfast spread. At the time I only wanted some water. I knew I’d eat a little after my cool-down. Dan (who finished in 1:11:01) asked if I wanted to cool-down. We ran 2 miles at an 8:11 pace and I guess I’m not used to cooling down that fast after a half marathon. He asked if I wanted to go another mile but I said I was good!
While we waited for the awards we finished breakfast and then the kids played at a great park which was located right next to the finish area. They loved it! My only complaint with this race is that they presented the overall awards last. It started with walking awards and went through age group by age group. The overall awards were given after the 66-99 age group. This is a minor complaint and honestly it is the only thing I think they could improve which really only affects the overall winners. It wouldn’t have bothered me as much if I didn’t have all the kids with me who were more than ready to get out of there!
Overall this race is very organized and well run. I would recommend it to anyone wanting get in an early fall half. I would describe it as having a good mixture of rolling hills and some flat terrain. The weather is kind of a gamble. Fortunately, it wasn’t too bad this year. (Mid 60’s.)
This was a great last long run with hard effort workout session mixed in. I’m thankful I was able to take home a little prize money too. All in all it was a good morning. It was a pretty quiet drive home too with four sleeping children!
How often do you mix racing into workouts?
Who else is running Chicago in 5 DAYS?!?!