Monday, October 16, 2017

Milwaukee Marathon Half Marathon Race Report: Macklemore, Phlegm, Wind and a new PR

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Prep for this race was not what I wanted, and this was entirely my fault for saving too much of it for the night before.  I got the kids to bed and THEN started to think about all the stuff for the race.  I knew what my outfit was going to be, so I got that all squared away.  I made my Gen Ucan and Nuun bottles for the next morning, and pre-set the coffee maker.  I downloaded Macklemore onto my iPod for the car because I was obsessed with the Glorious song, which after yesterday, I am even more obsessed with.

And then I started freaking out about parking because I fell down the rabbit hole of social media.

I had planned on getting up at 5 and moved it back to 4:30AM after that.  The race start was 6:30.

I had wanted to go back through my running journal and do some of the mental exercises like I did for my marathon but I was tired.

I wanted to hydrate a lot more on Saturday but I didn't.

My legs felt tired Saturday night which also put me into a bit of a panic.  I realized that I didn't really ever sit down on Saturday because I was busy with the kids.  I foam rolled and used the R8 roller and did legs up the wall to Jasyoga's race day meditation.  They still didn't feel great.

So I took a shower and went to bed.

I was glad that I had a week of good sleep because Saturday night's sleep was not great.  My son woke up a bunch so when I fell back asleep it was that light, dream-filled sleep.  I had set two alarms for 4:30 because I was nervous about not hearing one, which translated to this horrible dream where I woke up at 6:10 and had to have my husband drive me to the start.

BUT.  I did wake up at my first alarm at 4:30.

I was tired.  And groggy.  And did not feel like running a race.


Like if I had had to do a workout that morning, I would have shut the alarm off, rolled over and went back to sleep.

But I had a race.  A GOAL RACE.  Suck it up buttercup.

I put my clothes on, my contacts in, brushed my teeth and started to french braid my hair.

I went downstairs and was grateful that I had at least set everything out on the table before I went to bed. I loaded my GUs in the back pocket of my shorts, packed a few plastic bags because it was raining, poured my coffee and grabbed a banana.  The wind was howling and it was pouring so I wrote my family a note:  "If the weather is still terrible please don't worry about coming to the race!" Then I went out to the car.  I hooked my iPod up and started listening to FloRida, which is usually my pump up song.

Then, only then was I like, "Let's do this."

As I was driving to the race, drinking my coffee and eating my banana, I started get super emotional, which has become a theme on races where I do well.  I took this as a very good sign.

Listened to Macklemore's Glorious a few times.  More tears to my eyes.  (Seriously.  You do not want to drive to races with me.)

After all my freaking out about the parking situation, I found a (free) street spot right near the start.  It was maybe 5:10 AM.  Race start was 6:30.  It was drizzly out so I stayed in my car for a bit and then I grabbed my umbrella and started walking over to the start area.  I had brought along a Picky Bar and an RX Bar for breakfast but I did not feel hungry at all.  

It was very dark out and they had some lighting available at the start and tons of porta potties.  I took advantage of the fact that NO ONE was there yet and used the porta potty.  I was checking my phone about meeting up with some of the Oiselle WI people and sat down on the curb.   I chugged my Gen U Can and started sipping on my Nuun.

I asked several people about the start line because it seemed odd that they finish tables were being set up in the start area.  I knew from the map and course description that the start and finish were at the same point but were they really going to have all of us line up with water tables, banana tables, etc?!  Yes.  Yes they were.  

I went to the bathroom again. 

Then I met up with Amanda, a Oiselle WI team member, who had planned on running the half but got sick and was there to support her husband who ran his first marathon!  We met up with our Oiselle WI leader, Sheila, and took a picture.  

I changed my shoes and socks and gear checked my stuff.  I left a long sleeve on as a throwaway with my crop top underneath and my shorts.  After some indecision, I decided to wear my Boco Gear BibRave visor because I do love it.  I also wrapped my BibRave Buff around my wrist to use as a snot rag if I had to because I was still dealing with snot and phlegm.  This is the first time I have tried doing this and it worked VERY well.

Anyways, back to the start.  I felt like I needed to use the bathroom again so Sheila and I got into the long line and used the bathroom again.  

It was 6:25 AM when I got out of the porta potty.

Thus, I started to snake my way through the starting area to try to get closer to the front but the narrow fencing and all of those finish chute tables were not making it easy.  I resigned myself to just starting in the back.  I was behind the 2:30 half marathon pacer group.

I never heard a starting gun or anything but I did see runners ahead of me starting to run.  It seemed to take forever and then finally I was at the start line and hit start on my watch.

I knew I would want to gun it around all of these people but I kept my wits about me and tried to run easy.  Luckily after the start line the streets widened so it was not difficult to stay to the edge and pass.  That is basically all I did for the first mile.  My first mile beeped in at 6:45.  I was pleased with this because it felt easy.

I passed the first water spot and grabbed a cup because I did feel thirsty.  Shortly past the first stop there was a brass band which also made me smile.

Then we made our way from streets to the paved trail through Veteran's Park.  I passed a man with a visual impairment who had a guide and the guide was providing these very rich descriptions of the scene for him.  They were beautiful.  It helped put the day in perspective for me.  How lucky we were to be running along beautiful Lake Michigan!

My watch beeped in again and I was a little fast.  6:40 for mile 2. I was hot in my LS so I took it off and carried it because it seemed weird to throw it in the middle of a park.  6:45 for mile 3.  I hocked the first of many lugies.  (I was cursing phlegm the whole race.)

At this point we were back onto the street and I knew I was going to see some Oiselle WI women around mile 4.  I was still carrying my shirt so I said "Can you guys take my shirt?!"  I was really excited to see them and their cowbells.

Mile 4 was 6:31.  

The big hill in the course was coming up.  There was a woman on the side who was providing this awesome narrative for me about crushing the hill.  "Girl you are showing that hill who is BOSS."  I mean I can't even begin to thank her for getting me up that thing because this was when the dark thoughts were coming in.

Mile 5 was 6:45.

At the top of the hill I saw my sister and her dogs.  She was confused because I had arrived there later than I told her I would be there because I hadn't anticipated starting in the way back.  I didn't feel great there so I barely talked to her but she ran on the sidewalk with her dogs for a bit and then said SEE YA!

Mile 6 was 6:48.

We then ran through the east side.  There were a few people out cheering which was fun.  I particularly remember a dad with his toddler-aged daughter who he was coaching to say "Go Runners!" So cute.

Mile 7 was 6:36.

We turned onto Brady street which is a good part of the course.  I remembered this part from last year and that really helped get me going.  We turned to go onto the pedestrian when I saw Amanda waiting for her husband! That was fun and a spectator I wasn't anticipating seeing.  At that point I was running with another woman.  We had to turn on this hairpin turn at the bottom of a hill and I passed her.  Given the fact that I started so far back, it was impossible to know where I was place-wise.  My focus was not at all on place - I was all about the time.

Mile 8 was 6:42.

We ran through downtown and on Old World Third.  I don't really remember these miles very well.  I know I was hurting and telling myself just keep going.

Mile 9 was 6:48.  
Mile 10 was 6:43.

And then we turned onto WI Ave.  We were dealing with windy spots all throughout the course but none compared to Wisconsin Avenue.  I was tired and almost crying because I felt like I was getting nowhere running into that wind.  Add onto that I was having a hard time getting rid of a ton of phlegm.  I am fairly certain that the guy in blue who I was running next to/behind thought I was vomiting.  I just tried staying behind him to block some of the wind.  I was very grateful to the racer in the wheelchair and the woman biking with him because she was a CHEERLEADER.  I was counting down to 16th street where I knew we would turn and get a break from the wind.  

Mile 11 was 7:01.  THE WIND SUCKED.

Then we were on 16th street and I was just trying to stay with the guy in blue.  I was bringing to mind all of those strength workouts - 3 x 2 miles in particular. 

Mile 12 was 6:31.

Ok.  At this point, I knew I was going to be close to 1:28 because of the time elapsed on my watch.  This was enough to keep me going, although I was checking my watch every 0.2 miles.  I was so tired.  I kept telling myself that I was not really tired - it was only my brain.  

Mile 13 was 6:36.

As I was rounding the corner to the finish, I heard "GO MAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!".  I recognized that voice and began scanning the crowd when I saw my family!  They made it!!!  I gave my son a high five, turned the corner and joined all the 10K runners and tried to propel myself through the finish line.  I stopped my watch.

My watch read 1:28:37 for 13.25 miles. (6:41 pace)

The finish clock said 1:31:XX.  

I got my medal and worked my way through the finish chute.  

I was really cold as the temperature had plummeted during the race.  I saw my family and they were cold and wanting to bail.   They took my post-race snacks and then said they were going to get donuts and meet me at home.

Then I saw another Oiselle person, Rachel, and talked to her for a bit so that was fun.

Then I saw two people I worked with who ran the 10K!  More sweaty hugs.

I still was freezing and finally got to gear check to get my clothes.  

I got in the beer line and ended up being right behind Jonathan, another BibRave Pro who did the trail race that I ran earlier this summer.

I wanted confirmation of my PR so I stopped at the results tent.  "The half-marathon results will not be available until early afternoon."

WHAT?  I specifically remember there being printouts at the race last year with a variety of stats.  These were available immediately at the finish.  I was SO annoyed at this.

I started to work my way through the mud pit that was the finish area to my car when SURPRISE. They had that area blocked off.  I had to work my way back through the finish area around to the other side of the LONG finish chute and make my way through another giant mud field to get to my car.  So much for my amazing parking spot!  

I was freezing by the time I got to my car and caked with mud.  

So, I blasted the heat and Macklemore all the way home.  

"I feel glorious, glorious!"

Then began the process of clicking refresh on the "half marathon results" link on my phone for the next 4 hours.

Finally, in the Costco parking lot, I had my answer:

HOLY SHIT! I got second place (out of 723), an official time of 1:28:35 (6:46 pace) and a NEW HALF MARATHON PR!

Other stats:

I was 17th overall (combined genders) and first in my age group.

5 mile: 33:52 (6:46 pace)
10 mile: 1:08:53 (6:53 pace)
Last 5K: 19:43 (6:21 pace.  Also, 19:43?!  That is only 10 seconds slower than the only 5K I ran this year.) 

Here is my Strava chart of paces and elevation:

Overall, I am very pleased with this race.  Besides being a PR, I overcame some mental challenges.  However, as with every race, I am left with the fact that mental hurdles are something I still need work on.  I mean, I was definitely tired at the end but not all out spent.  My legs didn't even really hurt after I stopped running.  This is somewhat frustrating to me because in the moment of the race, I definitely felt physically spent. 


And I entered my pace into a pace calculator for a marathon.  Yep.  Foreshadowing some 2018 goals here:

"The world is up for grabs.  I feel glorious glorious."

1 comment:

  1. I'm so excited for you! I've enjoying tracking your training over the past few months and I just knew you were going to crush it. It sounds like some tough conditions with that wind. Wind is so hard both mentally and physically because you feel like you are running in place and being hit! But you got through it just fine. Congratulations!