Saturday, March 31, 2012

On the run: Rock CF Rivers Half Marathon 2012

Sunday was my first race of the season and I didn't start out with some piddly little 10k this year to ease into things.  I hadn't been training so why would I?  I'd had been getting more and more nervous as race day approached.  All signs were pointing toward a crappy race day experience.  Aside from my lack of training, a lingering respiratory thing that had been plaguing me for days still hadn't gone away.  Then on Thursday, my grandmother passed away, which was obviously heartbreaking and emotionally exhausting.  

I was going on limited sleep and was pretty drained, mentally and physically, when the alarm went off at 4 a.m. Sunday morning.  Some people thought I was crazy to run the race with everything going on but I knew I needed to do it for my mental well-being so I got myself up and dressed and off we went to Grosse Ile.  We were there way too early but it gave us plenty of time to park at the high school (which would make for a quick exit after the race), pick up my bib and shirt, and do some people-watching.  LOTS of people-watching!  (Brian's ready to start his own blog just about the spectator sport of being at a race!)  It helped take my mind off my nervousness a little bit.  And boy, was I nervous!

When it was just about time, Brian walked over with me to start line.  It was almost 50 degrees but it dark and foggy and a light drizzle was just starting to fall so I was chilled.  Great, I thought.  13.1 miles of this?  Amazingly enough, however, by the time I was about a quarter mile in, the rain stopped and that was the end of it.  Although the sun didn't come out until later in the day, the fog lifted and I quickly warmed up.  I was glad I was wearing shorts and a tee shirt and would have felt over-dressed with anything more.  (I couldn't believe all the people in hats, gloves, running tights, fleeces...  I'd have died!)

Before the race...
From the get-go, I resigned myself to the fact that I'd be running 9-minute miles.  That's what all my recent runs have been and those have been 4 miles on average.  Certainly this couldn't be much better.  I wasn't happy about it but I figured it was how it was going to be.  I knew I started out slow.  I didn't check my pace but I could just tell.  I felt tired and hungry, my mind wasn't in the game, and it seemed like everyone was passing me.  

Somewhere around mile 4, however, something changed.  I can't remember what song came on (The Ting Tings?) but I got a sudden boost.  I slowly started to gain on, and then pass, one runner after the next.  With each mile I expected to slow down or hit my wall but I kept feeling strong.  I still didn't know what my pace was until I got to mile 8.  Around the 8-mile marker was a clock that showed it was just past 60 minutes into the race.  I had 5 miles left.  If I ran 8-minute miles for the rest of the race I could finish in 1:40.  (I had told Brian I'd be happy to finish under 2:00.)  Suddenly I felt a determination that I haven't felt in a long time during a race because I rocked it out for the last 5 miles and finished the race in 1:40:14 - a new personal best!  (Last year's race was my PR at 1:41:04.)

The finisher's medals were pretty sweet this year.

We didn't stick around after the race - just long enough for me to grab some water, a banana, and a Panera bagel.  This year they did have blueberry.  yay!  

Once again, I was majorly impressed with the organization of this race.  The course is well-marked with signs and cones at every turn.  There were a lot of volunteers and supporters along the course cheering the runners along.  Plus it was easy on and off the island.  Well done, Rock CF Foundation and Grosse Ile!

If you want to see my official race photos, check out PBC Race Photos.  My bib # is 308. 



Vanilla Almond Luna Bar, banana

Rolling In The Deep / Adele
How You Like Me Now? / The Heavy
Lisztomania / Phoenix
Tightrope (ft. Big Boi) / Janelle Monae
LDN / Lily Allen
Howlin' For You / The Black Keys
Holiday / Vampire Weekend
Don't Shut 'Em Down / Flogging Molly
Keep Your Head / The Ting Tings
Mine Smell Like Honey / R.E.M.
Song Away / Hockey
Magic / B.o.B. (feat. Rivers Cuomo)
Under Cover Of Darkness / The Strokes
Shut Up And Drive / Rihanna
1983 / Neon Trees
Sweet Child O' Mine / Guns N’ Roses
Kids / MGMT
Bad Romance / Lady Gaga
Kick Drum Heart / The Avett Brothers
Second Chance / Peter Bjorn and John
Discipline / Nine Inch Nails
American Slang / The Gaslight Anthem
Fell in Love With a Girl / The White Stripes
Selfish Man / Flogging Molly
Bodysnatchers / Radiohead
Run This Town (Ft.Rihanna and Kanye West) / Jay-Z
Chop And Change / The Black Keys
Fighter / Christina Aguilera

*Due to a glitch in the last version of iTunes (that we've since updated), I wasn't able to get a new playlist onto my Nano so I used the same one from last year's race.  But thankfully it did the trick.  To quote my friend Brian - "Old playlist for the win!"

Next race: Martian Invasion of Races, Half Marathon - April 14th