In typical Nic fashion I was up and ready to go with plenty of time to spare, but still late out the door as I headed out for Green Bay for the Dick Lytie Spring Classic. To top things off, I set down my water bottle on the passenger seat and didn't realize the top wasn't tightly fastened for about 10 minutes. So much for hydrating on the way to the race!
I then proceeded to get lost on the way into the UW-GB campus where the race starts, resulting in my arrival roughly 3 minutes before the start. Luckily, I've had some experience with this type of chaos on race mornings, so it didn't really matter to me.
Race conditions were 25 degrees with 15 mph winds out of the North. The course starts out on campus, then heads North for the first 7 miles, going up and down some serious hills, before returning to the start. Because of this, I was pretty excited to have the wind coming from the North so I could finish with a decent kick.
I was in shorts, no gloves (forgot them), no hat (forgot it), and a very thin long sleeve shirt--very underdressed to be standing around outside. Luckily, as I mentioned, I didn't have long to wait to get running (sidenote: I'm completely AMAZED I remembered the 405. My last couple runs have inevitably involved me returning home after about a mile because, while I always remember the HR chest bra, I somehow seem to always forget the damn watch! Insert joke here about me always remembering my bra...), and in no time I was off. Despite a technical mishap which didn't start my watch for about 10 seconds, I was simply excited to get running. Early on I kept an eye on my HR and tried to "cruise" as much as possible through the first mile. No such luck. Mile 1: 6:45. I was hoping for 7:15 miles for the first half, then finishing in sub 7 minute miles after that. This spring I haven't run more than 5 sub-7 miles so I didn't have much hope of really blazing out of the gate at this run.
Mile 2 has the course climbing the first of the many hills to leave the campus. I made sure not to go flying up this hill (like most of the runners around me), and my pace dropped off a bit, along with my place, after being passed by about 10 runners. At this point the 3 mile portion of the event seperates from the half-marathoners, so you've got an idea of who you'll be running with most of the time. Mile 2: 7:18.
Mile 3 and 4 take you North (straight into the headwind) and along this way I just remember thinking to myself to stay loose, keep an even pace, and don't work really hard into the wind. I accomplished this by doing my best to not pass anyone and stay some distance behind them...so as not to be accused of "drafting." (sidenote number 2: what exactly IS the etiquitte on that? anyone?) These miles clicked away relatively fast and I was suddenly at the huuuge downhill at mile 5. I love this part of the course, as you descend for a good mile and have a great chance to simply let your stride lengthen and really speed up. I can remember seeing my current pace at 5:15 at one point. I passed about 5 runners on this downhill. After flying by them going down a hill, I knew I couldn't let them pass me again, so the mental game was on. I wasn't through 6 miles yet but was already thinking about my position. Mile 5: 6:21 pace.
In mile 6 I was once again heading straight into the wind and mentally preparing for the 7th mile, in which you head back up the huge hill you got to enjoy in Mile 5. I continued to run smooth, keeping my eye on my HR (always in the 160's) and knowing that I really wanted to push things from mile 8 home, as I'd have the wind at my back for the most part and it would be mainly flat or downhill.
As soon as I turned off of Nicolet Ave of Mile 6 I was working uphill. I kept my pace steady and made my way up the hill. The entire Mile 7 found me drawing two runners ahead of me back in--orange shirt guy and navy everything (hat, shirt, pants) guy. Game on!
Mile 7 saw my pace rise to almost 10 minute miles by the top of the hill (7:06 overall pace) but put a huge smile on my face as I got to the top. Time to get moving! Somewhere between Miles 8 and 9 I passed orange shirt guy and set my sights on Navy Blue Guy. He was about 30 feet ahead of me at this point. I continually pushed harder and harder with each mile, seeing my pace go 7:06, 6:56, 6:33, 6:33. Unfortunately, Navy Blue Guy's pace did the same thing. Ugh. I was flabbergasted I hadn't gained any ground, but that was the case. Mile 11 comes with a big downhill and a run back onto the UWGB campus. I really pushed it down that hill and thought I would finally break this guy. Mile 11 was run at 6:06 (by far the fastest mile I've run in 2009), but I couldn't get closer than 10-15 feet. I continued to push, running 12 and 13 in 6:23 and 6:21, but still never got any closer. As soon as I crossed the finish line, Navy Blue was waiting for me to congratulate me and thank me for pushing him that hard. I returned the thanks, as there was no one visible ahead or behind us, so it was a mutual "push" that brought us home. To run that PR on that hilly of a course (short course, though) was a big boost to what had recently been a kind of crappy spring training season. The McMillan pace calculator has a 1:25 half marathon about equal to a 2:59 full...so there you have it, that's my goal for Grandma's. My AvgHR of 167 is probably a bit high to be sustainable for much more than 15 miles, though.
I'm excited to keep going! My total miles for the week rounded out at 45. This week I'd like to head into Saturday (when I'll be running the Trailbreaker Marathon) with at least 25 miles, so that I'll have over 50 for the week. The marathon will also give me some time on trails for the Chippewa 50K (the middle 6 miles of the course are on the Ice Age Trail, and you have to climb a 40 foot tower and the mid-way point). It'll also provide more info on my HR zones. I can't wait to get down there and run!
1:25:18 (6:30 pace)
One Coffee Mug for placing in my 19-29 age group.