Urban Wildland Half Marathon {Race Recap}

Until the Friday night prior to the race, I wasn’t even sure that I was going to run it. We were flying out to Colorado around lunch time and unless we had the help of our friends Peter and Rachel, there was no way I could make it work. Luckily for us, they are awesome friends. We decided that Josh and the kids would meet me at their house which was about 10 minutes from my race site and only 15 minutes or so from the airport. From there someone would take Josh to the airport (he was on an earlier flight) and then the kids and I would go later.

I woke up about 4 am to get myself ready for the race. I ate my chocolate chip cookie dough Larabar and grabbed some graham crackers for the road. The race was about 35 minutes from our house and I had to do day of packet pick-up so I gave myself plenty of time. My favorite thing about small races is how easy it is to pick up your stuff and get to the starting line. It took me all of 15 minutes to pick up my packet, hit the bathroom and drop my stuff in my car.

This was supposed to be a training run. A nice break from the really long ones, my shortest until taper. I wanted to see where my speed workouts were getting me and had some unspoken goals: A. Run sub 1:50 (most likely to achieve goal), B. Run 1:45 or faster, C. Run a sub-8 pace.

I lined up with the 1:45 pacer and called it good. We started almost right on time and were off. I’d say this race was a mixture of road and trail. In the first three miles I felt pretty good. The first two miles were sub-8’s and felt pretty easy. It was around the third mile that my knee started feeling off. I’ve been having some pulling thanks to a little bone fragment from fracturing my femur when I was 13, that has been floating around near my knee cap. Every once in a while it lodges itself in what feels like a ligament and causes a pulling sensation. I worked it out and got back on track.

The first thing I did wrong was not bring my own water. As we passed that third mile, the high school billboard noted that it was already 76 degrees. I grabbed a water at the stop and drank it quickly. Mile four was fairly shaded which was nice but I was getting hot. By mile five I was starting to overheat. At that water stop I grabbed two cups. One to drink and one to pour over my head. I was trying to do all I could to bring my core temperature down.

From about that point on I was basically running from water stop to water stop. When I got to the next stop just after the seventh mile, again, I poured water over my head and drank some as I walked for a minute, not wanting to spill any drop of the much needed water. I also took a gel to give me some energy. It don’t know if it didn’t work or I was just so damn hot that nothing was going to make me feel better. I knew the next water stop was around mile nine and then there would be a stop every mile until the end. I told myself to keep those feet moving. The faster I ran, the sooner I would be to the next stop.

Mile nine came and I wanted it to be over. I got some ice cubes to put down my shirt and hold in my hands. It helped momentarily. This was the first race, other than my first marathon, that I thought about dropping out of. That is how awful I felt. When I was running, I was killing my pace. My slowest mile of the entire race was an 8:30 and five of the 13 were under 8. I kept walking through the water stops, taking my time drinking water. I new I’d be worse off it I tried to skip it.

When I could see the finish line I sprinted the best I could to finish strong. I was so happy it was over.

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Official Results:

Time: 1:46:32 Avg. Pace: 8:08 min/mile

Even with all the walking I did, I was pleasantly surprised by my time. I was 16th out of the 126 women in my 30-39 age group and 173 out of 718 people who completed the event. I know that a sub-8 half is in me. Next time I’ll pick a half in cooler weather!

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