I chose an early season half-marathon this year for a test of my run legs. Like the BAA 5K, I wasn't specifically trained for this, necessarily, but I once again had hopes for this race. We even tapered into it in hopes of doing well.
Weather-wise, the race looked to be kind of miserable. In fact, we'd probably get snowed on (and we did). At least it wasn't going to be hot?
Saturday, we went up to the race expo for packet pick-up. Everything was taking place in Fort Collins and we were debating spending the night up there, but with how early the buses were leaving, we figured we'd just stay home and that way, we could at least eat breakfast. So, Saturday's trip was up for packets and back.
At packet pick-up. Brandon's wearing his brand new BU sweatshirt. I'm so proud.
I talked with a couple of my fellow Skirt ambassadors who were running the booth at the expo. One of them, Dawn, wasn't running that year, but had in several previous years and had nothing but good things to say about the half. She mentioned a tent up at the race start (point-to-point race) with coffee and hot chocolate in it to help keep you warm before the gun went off. Brandon and I were super excited to hear this.
Sunday morning, we're up super early in order to eat food and get to Fort Collins by 4:30, which is when the first buses left. We didn't really need to get up there right then (we had a good 45 minute or so window), but our triathlon background leaves us wanting to get to these things stupid early. We get up there right about 4:20ish. Perfect.
Why do we do this again???
We get on the first bus and the bus leaves, no problem.
Then ... problem. I felt vaguely like I did before Silverman (that is, not good), so I tried to snooze some on the bus ride. The bus ride also felt a hell of a lot longer than 13 miles. Which it was. It was 26 miles. Our bus driver took us to the marathon start as opposed to the half-marathon start. Uh, oops.
For a while it seemed like we were screwed before the guy eventually turned around and got us to the start.
Meanwhile, I feel like utter shit (I get carsick in my old age. It sucks) so I don't want to try eating my snack until we stop moving.
Unfortunately for us, we FINALLY get to our proper race start ... with barely enough time to hit the porta-potty line and drop off our bags. I'm still feeling like poo, but I know I need calories, so I try to eat my snack while we're waiting in the bag drop line. That ... is not successful. We barely get my bag dropped off when we're ushered to the start line. We gaze wistfully at the beverage tent and grumble.
We station ourselves somewhere between the 2:10 and 2:20 pacers and off we go.
Our race plan is to try to stick together somewhat (particularly in the early miles) and me peel off when/if I can. I was tapered for this; Brandon wasn't.
For the most part, we stick together fairly well through the early miles.
10:43, 10:08, 9:40.
About 5K in, I've settled in nicely with the 2:10 pacers. I figure if I can stay with them (and at that point, the pace was comfortable enough), life would be good.
9:58, 9:47, 10:33.
That 10:33 is for the one main hill on the course in mile 6. The 2:10 pace group went steadily up the hill and I needed to walk up part of it. The cold probably contributed to this. Brandon caught up to me at this point, but I left him again because I wanted to get back up to the pace group. A fairly speedy 7th mile accomplished this.
8:57, 9:48, 10:15, 10:05.
I bombed the downhill to catch up with them and stayed with them fairly successfully. I ended up dropping them at some point - about the time we strayed off the main roads and started on random bike paths in Fort Collins - and still felt pretty good.
Unfortunately, I was starting to feel hungry - lack of food since 3am kicking in - and the only aid stations with gels (which I probably would have just choked down) were long past. On one of these paths, the 2:10 pace group caught up to me and blew past. I was on the struggle bus.
10:41, 11:15, 10:24.
I felt the mileage at mile 8 in my legs, but I was still fighting there. At mile 10.5ish, I started feeling like vomit and it never really went away. I was running when I could, but I started walking more and more because of the nausea. Damn bus driver.
I fought it in to the finish, finishing not as fast as I would have liked, but with my 2nd fastest half time overall.
82/150 division (F30-34)
I got my medal and hung around in the finisher's chute, trying not to barf. I was also waiting for Brandon to come in. I wasn't sure how far behind he was. The volunteers/staff were trying to funnel me down to the post-race expo, but I wanted to be there for husband, so I hid on the side of a tent until he crossed. Which he did, some time later, half-frozen.
We got some food and headed back to the car to thaw out, as we were both quite cold.
I had heard many great things about this race and I do believe I can do a lot better on this course, particularly if I'm actually trained for it (with more and better long runs under my belt) and without a stupid bus driver who doesn't take us to the marathon start line. So will I do this race again? Probably. Was I happy with how the day went? Kind of. I was hoping for better, but it wasn't to be on that day.