I knew from the beginning, my lack of hill training would be factor in my finishing time at the Auburn Classic Half-Marathon. The places I train are very flat, or have short hills. In Auburn, the hills, while not very steep, are very long. Much like the Montgomery Half-Marathon, there is a bully of a hill near the end of the race, and it knocked me down several times.
I started out with a nice, even, not too fast pace of 8:oo. I usually check how I'm doing at mile 1 and 2, then not again till 7. Mile 1: 8:25, Mile 2: 15:55, Mile 7: 55:25. The voice in my head shouted "YEE-HAW". It's where I wanted to be, just maintain this pace.
There is a new feature on this route since the last time I ran this race. A new neighborhood street had been built cutting across the bike path just before the turn around. It turned the path into a roller coaster, very short steep downhill, cross the street, then a short steep uphill. Since it was just before the turn around, you had to go through this section twice in a short time, messing any hope of maintaining a constant pace, because it was impossible to run fast either up or down the roller coaster. I think it was just before mile 7, so it was another reason to cheer myself at being at my target pace. I only wanted to maintain that pace through mile 10, I knew the last few miles of the race was ALL uphill.
Somewhere between mile 8 and 9 I started getting strange sensations in my legs, like they were about to give out. A few times it felt like I was about to lose control of the legs. Am I dehydrated? Electrolytes low? I had my mid-point energy gel and was eating jelly beans. (Thanks Heather, for the Jelly Beans in resealable packets.) Then I started getting these strange sensation in my arms, like a little pulse of electricity was shooting down my shoulder to my hands every few minutes. What the ...? I slowed down, started focused breathing, going to make sure I stopped for Gatorade when I could.
When we made the turn to run the small section through "Wright's Mill" subdivision, I slowed, grabbed a full cup of Gatorade, took a swig because the cup was very full, squeezed the cup so I could keep running while sipping the drink. While I was focused on this task I ran head-on into a faster female runner who was coming back from the turnaround in the neighborhood. Spilling most of my drink on us and the ground. I barely had a sip left. Luckily there was a turnaround and I'd be back at the water stop in about a mile. The second time I just slowed enough to take a big swig then threw the cup on the ground right away. Mental note: I need to get a bottle to carry my own drinks at these races.
I hit the 10 mile mark at 1:21:??. I was off my goal pace now. At Chickamauga, I hit the 10 mile mark at 1:19:??. And the hardest part lay before me. There was a bully standing between me and the finish line. The bully knocked me down several times, he taunted me to stay down, but I kept going and finally got past it. Another female runner at the same pace had a coach with her helping her past the bully, and with their help we forced the bully to pick on someone else. Sorry guys, he was a big bully. if I could have knocked him flat, I would have.
The last half mile felt good, downhill after a long uphill. Then another bully met me just before the finish line. This one held on to me from behind, with the finish line in sight. The last .05 of a mile was a steep climb to the finish line, I really think they should move it to the bottom of the hill. My goal was to beat my previous attempts at this fight. I succeeded. Unofficially 1:49:40.
My worry about the weather was needless, it was almost perfect running weather. The bully hills near the end of the race had the bully winds on his side.
I'm feeling good and not too sore. I probably do a slow 3-4 mile run later today. (I did 4)
16 Jan: 14