Monday, November 11, 2013

Louisville Sports Commission Half Marathon 2013 Race Recap

Wow, what a great fall I have had.  I am beyond pleased with the way these past 6 weekends have gone.  On October 5th, I did the 70 mile Black Mountain Madness Ride to the Summit, followed by a stellar performance at Iron Horse, with my fastest time in over 2 years (1:40:45), Detroit International Half Marathon (1:42:28- course PR for me), a week off, then my first Iceman Cometh finish, followed by the Louisville Sports Commission Half.  It ended up being 3 half marathons in 30 days, plus one mountain bike race thrown in there.

I love running.  I was feeling pretty worked over after Iceman, and took Sunday and Monday off everything.  I did a light run on Tuesday, and still felt tired.  Wednesday was another day off, and then I had a much better run on Thursday.  Since the race was another Sunday race, I figured I could go ahead and have a short 1000y swim on Friday, and Saturday would be a rest day.

I went down to packet pick up on Friday after my swim to pick up my bib and shirt.  There really wasn't an expo.  I got my number, shirt, and a fall runathon poster.  I forgot pins.  Sheesh.  You'd think I'd never done this before.  Thankfully, I have a bag of pins at home.  The shirt was a really bright blue color.  I thought, hmm, maybe I will break my rule of not racing the "race shirt" on race day and use it as an undershirt with my Team Aquaphor tank.  It didn't look right, though, once I got it home and put them together.  Then, I had the dilemma of selecting an undershirt.  Usually I will wear my short sleeve Aquaphor tee with white removable sleeves, but if I am fully committed to long sleeves, then I wouldn't need to deal with add on sleeves.  I liked wearing a long sleeve tee in Detroit, and thought I could do it again.  The Detroit shirt was red this year, and I had a blue one from 2011, as well as my Boston shirt that was blue.  I had lots of choices.  I finally decided to wear the blue Detroit shirt, because I thought I might want to wear shorts, and red sleeves would look bad with pink tall socks.  You'd think after all this racing, it wouldn't be so complicated to figure out what to wear, but the temps were really different for each event. 

I like to be at races early, and with the race being on a Sunday, I knew that there would be free on street parking available.  I ended up parking on 3rd, between Main and Market, which was a great spot.  The start line was on Main, at 2nd, and the finish was also on Main, but at 5th.  I was glad I was between the start and finish.  It was funny, from my car at a meter, I could see a sign on a lot that said $10 event parking.  Street parking is such a score!!!  When I did the race in 2011, I parked further east of the staring line, and with the finish more to the west, I had a pretty decent walk back to the car (also, the start and finish with further apart that year).  I was so glad that I would be parked so close to the start, because I could easily put all of my things into my car fairly close to the start, and I wouldn't need to waste a mylar blanket by throwing one away before the start or deal with gear check.  I had a blanket that I had planned to donate to the Catholic Charities at the packet pick up, but I forgot to bring it with me.  I remembered it on race day, and although I had washed it in preparation to donate it, I thought I could potentially use it to wrap up if I needed to.  I walked over to the start, and I got this picture.  My ponytail was flat-ironed and sticking up a bit, but overall, I love this picture.  It was definitely one of the perks of being there super early.  Also, a photographer took it, which is how it was framed so nicely.  He actually asked me to move to a specific spot.

I met up with the Louisville Landsharks on the steps of the YUM Center.  Here I am with Rhonda (and my charity blanket)

Me and Sonja

Landshark Group Picture: 

Then, I realized I had to go the bathroom one last time.  Goodness!  How on earth do I arrive at a race over an hour early and then get 15 minutes or so away from the start time and NEED to go to the bathroom!  Ugh!  I ran over to the porto potty area and it was a mess.  Huge lines everywhere.  I could not wait in those lines.  I needed another option.  I ran off in search of something, but I wasn't exactly sure what.  I ran into one of the mom's from Soren's preschool, and explained my predicament.  She said that across one of the nearby parking lots, there was a lone construction site port o potty.  I didn't exactly know where it was, but I took off, and amazingly found it!  It was fenced off, but not locked, and I was able to slip between two parts of the fence.  Yay!  I ran back up to Main street and approached the start from the course side, which meant I was right in the front of the starting area.  I found my friend Lisa's husband, John because he is super fast.  We got a quick picture and I chatted with him for a couple minutes. 

I also ran into a friend Mike, who I met at the Derby Marathon earlier in the year, and met his girlfriend Carrie.  They had both just run a full in Indy, and none of us were sure how today was going to go.  This is not a flat course, so I was just hoping to be ahead of 1:45 and beat my 2011 time (1:44:55ish).  The unofficial 1:45 pacer was the same guy that did it in 2011. They had the bugler from Churchill Downs, and he played My Old Kentucky Home.  A previous time I had heard this song before a race, I was jumping into the Ohio River, so I got a bit emotional upon hearing it.  They played the National Anthem leading up to the start.  They played part of Avici's "Wake Me Up", which I first heard before Muncie, and we were off shortly after that.  Here's the map and elevation:

I started off feeling awesome.  We were running straight into the sun (which is why most of my pictures with my visor are completely obstructing my eyes), but had some shade from buildings.  I had studied the elevation profile of this race, and I knew that the middle third, miles 4-8ish, would have most of the hills.  It would be flattish until Mile 4, and hit Cherokee Park for 2 big hills, and then enter a cemetery for another 2 hills, and then at mile 9, things would flatten out.  Sort of like Detroit (bridge at 4, tunnel at 8, and then a non exciting yet painful 9-13).  I was going to fast, and I knew it for the first mile.  I slowed it down a bit for the second and third, but I still thought I was going too fast.  Just as I was starting mile 4, a guy running near me said we were on pace to go under 1:40.  Haha!  He was pacing off of me.  I told him that yes, we were, for now... I would hit the hills and need to slow down, so please, don't mind me.  Let me blow up in Cherokee and don't hold me responsible!  I have run those hills before and know they are hard.  I definitely slowed down a bit going up the two big hills, but similar to Iron Horse, I felt like I was able to recover well on the downhills.  I hit the halfway point with a slower time than Detroit, which was a good thing.  I was just over 50 minutes, which was still great.  I was wondering how much slower my second half would be.  We went into the cemetery.  It had some hills there too, but I hadn't ever been in it before.  I came upon Mike, who was struggling with a pulled muscle, but I kept plowing on.  It felt tough, but I kept up with my GU every 5 miles and by mile 9, we were on the flattish parts.  It was windy going into the city, and it felt like we should be done sooner, because of the course being two loops in opposite directions.  At mile 10, I was at 1:16:xx, and I still felt pretty good.  I though, wow, if I can get the last 5K done in 23 or 24 minutes, I just might be able to go under 1:40!  I can't remember what point I passed the man who I spoke with before the hills, but I did pass him.  He had said a couple things to me that I really believed, but it felt nice to have someone remind me- at 10 miles, you have just a 5K to go, and at 11 miles, you have about 15 minutes left to go.  I was keeping it under 8, but just barely according to my Garmin.  At mile 10.5, I thought about 20 minutes left.  I could keep this up for 20 more minutes.  There was an out and back section which was fun to be able to see faster people running towards me.  I just kept telling myself that this was a good day.  There was a lady in pink ahead of me.  I wasn't sure if she was in my age group or not.  She wasn't that far ahead.  I estimated that at mile 11.75, we would turn around and head back to the finish.  At this point, it was less mileage than running from 146 to my house, and flatter.  I was trying to just keep my pace up.  At mile 12.5, there were some police officers and a huge speaker BLARING Eminem's Berzerk.  "Life's to Short to Not Go for Broke!"  That picked up my spirits.  I knew I had to try to catch her.  I had .6 to go!  By mile 13, I had caught up, but I felt like I may have started sprinting to early.  I tried to keep pushing into the finish line, but that clock had a 1:40 on it!  Again!  My Garmin had me at 1:40:18!  This was even faster than my Iron Horse time!  I was thrilled.  I actually ran my first half and my second half pretty close to each other.  I congratulated the woman behind me.  I later learned that she was in fact, in my age group, and I had only finished 1 second ahead of her.  My time was 1:40:15.  I got this picture at the finish:

I couldn't stick around long.  I went through the food line and then circled back and found someone with a paper copy of the results.  I was 5th, so again, a fabulous time, and no podium.  However, I am still thrilled with how I did.  I was amazed that I had the strength to pull out such a fantastic run.  Here is my hardware from the last 30 days.  I can't decide which is my favorite.  I LOVED the Iron Horse because it was just so cool, and it was my second fastest time.  Well, I LOVE fleur de lis, and this one is NOW my second fastest time.  I don't know if I can decide!  I have thought for a couple years now that Detroit was ready for a refresh in their design.  They did update the ribbon, which was great, but now I have 3 almost identical medals from 2011-13, with the Mustang medal being my favorite of those.

I cannot believe how blessed I am that I was able to have such a strong race season.  I am very thankful for the Louisville Sports Commission allowing me to share my stories in exchange for running their race.  It was a great event, and I'm happy I could participate in it.  I did some amazing things over the last month.  I am very sore today, but I feel like I did a good job resting and cross training between my events that allowed me to perform as well as I did.  Plus, I might have a new pre-race meal.  I think I had Papa John's pizza before the Iron Horse race, and I did it again before this race.  I definitely feel more confident about my running and my desire to have a great marathon in April.  Two 1:40s show that it is not a fluke.  I still have no idea how to get back to a 1:38, but I'm just glad to be under 1:42, where I seemed to be stuck for a while.  I have an 8k turkey trot race to do, but then I am done with racing for a while.  I don't race much while training for a full marathon because I like to go all out for my races, and I just don't feel like that is helpful for me when marathon training.


Tiffany said...

Congratulations Melissa! Great race and great report!

Sara Dana said...

I want to be as speedy as you someday...I need your dedication!!