It's been a few years since I have run this race and although a PR was going to be impossible I figured racing with my new team and gauging where my fitness was at would be all the reward I needed.
The luck of the Irish was not on our side weather wise. The temperature was in the high 20's when I left and it was snowing. It even hailed during our warm-up, but thankfully that was short lived.
My new racing kit had not yet come in, but Cash let me borrow one of his old jerseys.
|Daisy had wanted a team photo before the race, so we circled around the church to find most everybody before snapping my first official Team Bicycle Hub photo.|
I started with one of my friends from SERC, T.G.and jokingly told him my plan was to draft off him. Local pro triathlete stud, J.L. also started with us. He would actually go 28:15 and take 2nd in his AG, which is not too shabby, IMO. The kicker is he got up at 4am, rode the trainer for 4 hours and then ran down to the race from Lakewood. The only way to hash tag that is #HARDCORE!!
I was fairly close to the front, but I still had a 10 second delay to get over the start mats and with 2 quick sharp lefts it was a bottle neck. I forced myself to be patient. I worked to get around people and by the time I hit the bridge I was up to speed and trotting away.
My plan was simple, go out comfortably hard and come back uncomfortable and suffering. My Garmin was flashing between 720-750. My only goal was to go sub-40. I kept reminding myself to reign it in and slow down. Mile 1 - 749.
I was right where I had hoped to be. We ran down the W. 3rd hill and people flew by me like I was standing still. I caught T.G. and we ran together for a minute before he informed me it was his turn to draft off me. I felt too good and kept thought maybe I am not pushing enough, especially with all the fly-bys. We ran around the Brown's stadium and on to the dreaded Marginal road (although, the old St. Malachi course had some whopper hills in it, I still would have preferred it over Marginal with it's "lake effect everything" be it wind, snow, slush, whatever). Surprisingly, the wind wasn't too bad and with the downhill I clipped Mile 2 in 730.
The leaders were on there way back and I was pleased to see the women's field was being led by my friends from the Cleveland Elite Development team. Daisy, my Team Bicycle Hub teammate was also right up there. She would go on win our AG and finish in the top 10 -- HOLLA!!!
As I hit the turnaround at Burke Driveway, I got a little excited, for about 1 second. I was halfway done and I felt great, until I hit all the water and slush. My feet were instantly soaked and cold. I caught Daisy's husband and ran with him for a bit. Once we got back on to Marginal I picked it up a little and tried to mentally stay strong as the hardest part was just ahead. Mile 3 - 757.
I made my way back around the stadium and started the climb that would ultimately, destroy me by the final mile. I kept reminding myself to pick up my feet and drive my knees forward, but they burned and were so heavy. I could feel myself slowing and a guy next to me turned back as he dropped me and yelled "Come on, keep coming, no slowing down on the hill." I dug in and tried to push myself up the hill, but it hurt. I ran 19 hills in 13.1 miles just a few weeks ago, but I can honestly say I suffered this 1 hill worse than all those put together. Easily, my slowest mile of the day beeped complete on my Garmin, Mile 4 - 808.
I did the math. I ONLY had to run an 8:36 last mile to break 40. I was just tired. I tried to force myself to maintain my effort as I fought my way back to the Detroit/Superior bridge. I didn't have to run harder. I just had to hold on. When I hit the bridge my legs were all but dead. I could barely get my feet off the ground. My quads felt like bricks. I could feel and see more people going by me. I tried to remind myself they were probably in as much pain as I was and that once I got to the top it was all downhill to the finish. I was pretty miserable though and even as we ran down the bridge my legs just wouldn't go. I had run 4x800 the day before the race and was undoubtedly paying for them now. I was hanging on for dear life, thinking we had to run one block before turning the corner to head for the finish, but I was wrong -- it was right there. Finally, my legs responded and I picked it up for the last tenth or so and finished in 38:39, well under my 40 minute goal. The only bummer...the last mile was short. Many of us only had 0.9. Mile 5 / 0.9 -7:13.
|Hurtin' for Certain!|