A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

March Madness Half Marathon Race Report

I'm not entirely sure why this race is called "March Madness." It could be because it falls during the basketball tournaments of the same name. Or it could be because of the hills that are so substantial they have names. Or possibly because you have to be kind of mad to sign up for a race held in March, probably the most fickle month in terms of weather.

Speaking of weather, I agonized over what to wear for this race. The temps? Upper-30s/low 40s. Overcast. Rainy. Windy. Blech.

I ended up going with capris, short sleeves, arm warmers, and my jacket (which ended up tied around my waist).

As I've said before, I didn't have any plans to "race" this race and was just running it as a training run. I'd done no hill training. I'm not really in what I would consider half marathon shape although I know I can go run 13.1 miles with no problems.

So my friend Jacob and I ended up running most of the race together trying to keep each other's spirits up when we had to tackle hills or when the rain really started to come down.

About the rain: The funny thing about running the rain is that you don't really notice it until you're done. I mean, you notice it but you don't really notice just how soaked you've gotten until you get past the finish line and realize that you want to wipe off your hands...but there isn't a dry surface on you anywhere. Thank goodness I was smart enough to bring an entire change of clothes for afterward.

The race itself was lovely. Beautiful course that reminded me of a Midwestern version of Napa. No vineyards but plenty of rolling hills, grasslands, and even deer.

And in regards to those hills, I'll have you know I didn't walk a single one. However, there's this one hill called "10 Mile Hill." Can you guess why? You turn the corner just past mile 9 and you see it looming in the distance. I made it to the top without letting my pace drop too much and after that I was spent. I told Jacob to go ahead and I watched his orange hat fade into the distance. Still, I kept on and my overall pace stayed pretty consistent. I tackled a few more hills and tried not to count down just how much further.

But my feet were sloshing around in my shoes. I'd lost one glove somewhere on the course and although I was trying to switch my one remaining glove from hand to hand my hands were freezing and the glove was soaked.

Finally, I came to mile 12 and tried my hardest to remember everything Coach Holly had told me. Pick my feet up. Up my cadence. Swing my arms. It seemed to work because mile 12 was my second fastest! Although, I'd never been happier to see a finish line in my life.

Sadly, due to some snafus, Jason missed getting any photos of me. Hopefully the race photographer got a few even though I never saw him. But, it was wonderful to have Jason there supporting me. He's such an amazing husband to get up at 5:30 AM, drive, and then stand in the rain for 2 hours.

Yep, I said 2 hours. Technically, 2:01:49 to be exact. I know, I know, I said I wasn't going to race this and yet I still ended up only 28 seconds slower than my half marathon PR. I think this means that on a flat course I have under 2 hours in the bag.

The rest of the crew did well, too. We even had a 1st place in age group from one of our members!

This race sells out super fast every year. In fact, you have to get up at 6:30 AM on December 31st to sign up. And I can see why. It's challenging, the weather is unpredictable, but the course is lovely and it's small and friendly and well-run and there are hot soft pretzels at the finish! Plus, don't you think saying you ran a race with "madness" in the name makes you sound a little badass? I feel a little badass. Even if I did have to take a nap.

Time: 2:01:49
Average Pace: 9:16
Overall Place: 709/1027
Overall Age Group Place: 39/57

March Madness Half Marathon by snmnstrz21 at Garmin Connect - Details