Monday, April 16, 2012

Holy Hills Batman!

Yesterday was the RunRaleigh Half Marathon, my fifth race in the Grand Prix series.  I finished in 1:50:26, not quite the 1:45 I was looking for but still a faster time than the half split from any of the full marathons I've run this year.  Overall that is a great time, and for an inaugural race it was a great event.  Those hills, though, left nothing to the imagination.  They even left some people in the hospital.

It was a 7 am start and I ended up getting the packets for everyone, so our friend Gina came by to pick us up about 6 am since I had her bib.  We all three wore our new yellow Marathon Maniac shirts just to provide a little intimidation to the other halfers.  We got plenty of glances of amazement while milling around the start/finish area, so that was pretty cool.

The start/finish line was in Cameron Village, a part of Raleigh that we know very well.  The course started out just tooling around west Raleigh for a bit with an out-and-back spur, so I got to see Gina and Kelley in mile three.  I was also starting to fight a familiar grumble by then.  When will I see a port-a-let on the course?

I have a new favorite aspect to being fast.  After coming around a corner and finding a big downhill, I can see the course turns at the bottom of the hill.  Garmin says it's mile 4, when I'm supposed to take a gel anyway.  Finally I see some crappers next to the aide station!  My favorite part about being fast is that I made it to the crapper before there was any line!  I slammed it down the hill, took a gel with one cup of water, then ducked into the port-a-let with no waiting. Ah, that's better.  Then I grabbed another cup of water and got back out on the course.  There was a line by the time I got out of there.

My plan was to keep about an 8:00 pace for the first half, then pick it up a bit in the second half which was supposed to be less hilly, and finish under 1:45.  I hit 5 miles in 39:xx which was right on pace.  Dead on 8 minute miles, even with a poop stop.  We were running up Martin Luther King Jr Blvd at that point, and it was getting really hot.  No clouds and the sun was up  and we were running east, which meant we were running directly into the sun.  Not cool.

We stayed on MLK getting blinded for way too long.  When it finally turned onto the greenway in mile 8 I was at 1:03:xx, still dead on my 8 minute pace.  On the greenway it is supposed to be pretty flat, and for the most part it was, so I was able to hammer miles 8 through 11.  The only strange part was in mile 10, The greenway came back out to a road where we had to go west to get around a divided median in the road, make a really sharp u-turn around the median, then back onto more greenway.  Something about the way I took that turn left me really lightheaded, and I thought I was going to faint for a minute there.  By the time Kelley and Gina got through that stretch, there was a girl sitting in a pool of her own vomit getting medical attention.  That's some serious dehydration.

I got back on the trail and at mile 10.5 they had another aide station, so I took my second gel.  I got the second wind for a bit, but by about mile 11.5 we were back on the roads for the final stretch and my legs were totally gone.  The kills absolutely killed it.

Then I'll give you a guess as to what we saw at mile 12.5?  It was the same long hill we came down leading to the mile 4 aide station.  Turns out it goes right past Pullen Park, where I swim with the RAM practices.  This hill was long and steep.  very long, very steep.  Mentally it was a ball buster.  Mile 10 came right at 1:18, so the speed came in at the right time.  But after the lightheadedness and aide station at 10.5, I hit mile 11 at 1:23, back to an even 8 minute pace.  Since that's when the wheels started coming off, mile 12 came at 1:36 and I finished at 1:50:26.  After crawling up that hill at 12.5 there was nothing left in the tank for a fast finish.  I still jogged it in.  But I really thought I could still hit 1:45 until mile 11.  Throw that last huge curveball in and I was toast.

This was a tough course on a hot day.  But that's the stuff legends are made of.  I'll take it and be proud of my finish time.  I ended up being 15th out of 53 men age 35-39 and I'm always glad to be in the top third of my age group.

Gina finished next around 2:24, and Kelley was around 2:26.  Both thought it was harder than they expected.  Today I feel like I ran a full marathon, not a half.  There are so many sore muscles.  My quads are killing me, left foot has a horrible sharp pain, and my calfs are really tight.  This actually might hurt worse than the last full marathon.  Stupid hills. Kelley's pretty sore too, but Gina feels ok.  Either she's more used to the hills or just took it easy.

Back it up a little bit.

We got no pictures from the race, and I really wanted one with all three of us in the Marathon Maniacs shirts.  but Saturday, now that's where we got some pictures.  We met up with our friend Kayte and her kids for a picnic in the Rose Garden, then took them all to the playground out there for some fun play time including rock climbing.  Then we all came back to our house to let the kids play in the yard and sprinkler for a while.

Of course the Evil Genius is going to step on our lunch. L-R, me, Son, Kayte, EG, Daughter, and bigun.

Nice action shot

The boy running forward while staring at me taking the picture.  Watch where you're going!

These two lovebirds are going to drive me to the crazy house

Bigun jumping off of the lower ledge.

Bigun actually took this shot.  She thinks she zoomed in too close.  I think it's perfect.

Climbing up the climbing rock. I was able to scare the kids on top.

Family portrait on top of the rock.

The kids has a blast playing in the yard too. They were completely worn out by the end of the day.

And of course we're gong to use the sprinkler to water the grape vines too.

Overall it was a pretty incredible weekend.  Lots of time outside.  Then today is the boston marathon.  Good times all around.


Lily on the Road said...

Sounds pretty incredible to me!! Your kids are gorgeous!!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Man I hate it when they put the hills at the end! Just when you think you are on track, boom, a hill. That is how the Cherry Blossom was too. You still had a really good time though!

Amber said...

I LOVE the family picture on top of the rock!

Great job on your half. Running fast is so hard! I think I'd rather run long and slow!! ha

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Wow, you guys got some great pictures - I love the family picture. And Bigun did an awesome job taking that photo of you. And EG has a boyfriend? :)

Nice work on the race. Hilly races are tough - mentally and physically. You did great and it will only make you stronger.

Jess said...

Way to hang tough on a hilly course on a hot day! Congrats on your speedy finish!

Being Robinson said...

'crappers' is that what ya'll officially call those in raleigh? ;) sounds like a good race, nonetheless! also, what are hills?

Al's CL Reviews said...

Great job pushing through.

Great pics as well!