The Mill Creek 1/2 Marathon is known as one of the hilliest half marathons around. This year mother nature decided to make this half even more interesting with a nice layer of snow.
I awoke Sunday morning to about 3 inches at my house. About the minute I was ready to hit the door, I got a call from Espeed saying roads were bad and to take my time as she was running late on her way out there too. So instead of grabbing a banana, I took the time to have some toast with with my hubby and hit the door. Being that it was a Sunday, the roads had not been touched, so it took a little longer than I expected to get there so instead of the planned long warm-up, it became 5 minute jog around the parking lot.
After debating a bit about what I wanted to wear I opted for my heavy under armor tights and shirt with a wicking coat, my head phones, light under armor gloves, oakley glasses with yellow lenses, normal running shoes. All and all the clothing seemed about right for me as it was mid 20's and still snowing and blowing. Although the glasses fogged up here and there, I was happy to have them as I hate getting snow in my eyes and it was coming down the entire time!!! Even though I kept my hands tucked in my coat, they were still a bit cold, but not too bad. Though my traction could have been better, my shoes did OK and I don't know how much my trail shoes would have made a difference. I was glad I had my headphones for the last 4 miles of the course, so all was well with my choices!
Not only was it just as hilly as I knew it would be, it was covered in snow which made traction on the uphills more difficult and slightly treacherous on the downhills.....
Other runner's comments posted on the web regarding Sunday's conditions include-
'Toughest conditions yet for my 3rd Distance Classic. Opted for the trail shoes for more traction on the snow-covered road course.'
'It was the toughest footing ever for race day.'
Given these conditions, I knew it was not destined to be a super fast half but I still had my goal in my head that I just wanted to break 1:50. See I figure that is the pace I am hoping to hold for Cleveland Marathon and I thought if I could hold it on this tough course it would be a nice confidence builder for that race. (I know they say to double your half time and add 10 minutes for marathon estimate, but I will work on that one on a more normal course....maybe spring classic coming up on 4/7)
And we're off
So I headed out with Espeed hoping I could try to keep up. We decided given the course conditions we would run a conservative pace for awhile. Miles kept passing by as we would climb and descend the hills. I must admit though, I think I had made these hills mountains in my head as they were not as bad as I thought they were last year.
I was nervous about how I was going to feel for the race as I had had a cold all week and a flu bug the week before. I had been struggling to hit my paces for my FIRST training plan, but had managed to get all of the workouts in...little accomplishment even if they were not perfect. But, as we got into the miles I remained feeling pretty good. It was nice as we got 8 or so in we could see the leaders heading back and I started to get excited about the finish.
About mile 9, I decided there was only 4 to go and I would just pick it up till the end. With that, I tuned on the tunes, cranked up the volume, and picked up the pace.
As I climbed the final hill at the end I was in sprinting mode and wanted to catch the chick in front of me but ran out of course. The last kick had spent me anyway and I was happy to see 1:47 and change on the clock!! Yeah!!! Goal of 1:50 nailed and then some.
3& 4 16:57
13 ?? (I get way to excited about the end to ever remember to hit the button on the last one!)
Finish Time 1:47:21 -I think...seconds may be slightly off. So an 8:11 pace or so!
So for those keep track, my halfs always involve a fair amount of talking, so I have always figured I was capable of a better time but currently my fastest half was a 1:53, so I guess I have a new one! Woohoo a PR in these conditions! Oh and another small victory was my time last year was a 1:59 +....and this year, a 12 minute improvement!
The icing on the cake
Somehow that time was good enough for 11th female overall and a 2nd in my age group award. Even sweeter, Espeed, took third in our age group. This will not be 'OUR" age group much longer as someone has a birthday coming up which will put me in a new age bracket for most races! So as usual the best part of the race was hanging out afterwards over some coffee to warm up and catching up with all the other crazy peeps who had journeyed out to run on these fine conditions!