Sunday, March 3, 2013

Youngstown Distance Classic 1/2 Marathon 2013

Holy smokes -- dare I say it....  "I have a race report!!!"  Holla!!!

In prep for the Pine Line Marathon, I signed myself up for the easiest half marathon in Ohio (can you read the sarcasm in my typing?).  I had run this 1/2 marathon once before and I had quite an experience.  I was well prepared to suffer through 19 hills in 13.1 miles and then some to get 16-18 miles in on the day all by myself, but I was going to have a little luck on my side.

Salty Running's very own Ginjer with a J (GwaJ) was looking to run long and selflessly volunteered to come along and run with me (mind you she ran a tempo just the day before, set a PR in the 5k and broke the 6:00 minute barrier for the mile all in the last 2 weeks.  Impressed?  I sure as heck am. 

I was up super early, but somehow got caught doing things around the house only to be scrambling to get out the door, and then I needed gas -- grrrrr!!!  About 10 minutes later than planned I showed up at GwaJ's and we were off. 

I forgot the directions and my google maps sent me to the wrong part of Mill Creek so we arrived with about 40 minutes to spare instead of the pre-planned hour.  We managed a short warm-up of about 1.5 miles, before heading to the start. 

The race starts on a nice rolling downhill, but unfortunately that means it ends on a hellish rolling uphill.  We started pretty much in the back and trotted behind some slower runners through the first mile.  I wore my Garmin this year as to avoid the mile marker disaster of 2011.  Mile 1 - 9:16 (darn, I knew we were trotting a little too comfortably).

The down hill continued and the runners spread themselves out so we could make our way around the slower ones with little effort.  Mile 2 - 8:39.

The first hill hit around mile 3 and we went up at an easy pace.  I had hoped to run sub-1:55, but I also wanted to talk and enjoy the run.  GwaJ agreed, talking and enjoying the run was important part of the running plan.  Mile 3 - 8:51. 

Almost a 1/3 of the way through the race and the sun started to peak through.  Both of us were a little warmer than we had thought we would be, but we were running very relaxed.  I focused on keeping my hips forward, driving my knees up and keeping my arms low.  Ginger with a J had to use the port-o-john and we happened upon one right before the 4 mile marker.  She tried to get me to run ahead and leave her in peace, but I refused.  I grabbed a gatorade for each of us at a nearby aid station and waited patiently for my running buddy.  There was someone in the port-o-john, so we lost some time, but when it was GwaJ she was all business in and out in under a minute (pretty sure that was a PR for her-- hehe).  Mile 4 - 8:39 (not including potty break). 

We chatted about the course, other courses, runny noses, ovulation cycles, banditing races, even sh*t nobody says (e.g. "I enjoy watching a movie with my pareints during a sex scene" or "That hill was too easy to run up" or "I love when the wind destroys my hair.") and everything else.  The miles just kept on ticking by.  Mile 5 -8:46. 

Our chatting continued and became the focus of our day it was amazing we kept our legs moving.  I was even a little startled when we ran up on rocketman and he said "Hi."  He joined the converstion and hung with us through mile 7 or so before deciding we were going just a bit too fast for him.  Mile 6 - 8:43 and Mile 7 - 8:42. 

It was somewhere around this point our conversation veered back to the course at hand and how it would start rolling and going up through the worst climbs of the day.  Mile 8 - 8:54.

And it would only get harder.  Mile 9 - 8:58.

And harder and when I say harder this hill to mile 10 is up hill long and tiered.  When we finished the first tier and turned to the right to see another tier that swept up to the unknown GwaJ and I dug in and fought our way up to the top.  There was a small reprieve with some flat as we passed the mile marker.  Mile 10 - 9:12.

Only 4 miles to go with one long ass climb to the finish I reminded myself.  I still felt pretty good.  The foot was a bit sore, but my form on the flats was strong and we were right aound 8:00/mile when I would check.  Mile 11 -8:51.  Back under 9:00/mile and only 2 to go.

We weren't trying to push the pace as we were going to run a few miles after the race right away and I knew the finish was painful, so we just ran strong through the next flat section and continued to chat.  Mile 12 - 8:40.

Finally, at the long last ugly mile the never ending climbing began.  We could see runners in front of us walking and slowly making their way up the tiered hill.  GwaJ and I obviously slowed down on the hill, but not as much as most as we began passing them one by one (all men I might add, so take that Chris O'Hare -- Hell yeah, we ran like girls!!!).  We made it up the hill and made the last turn for the finish.  Mile 13 - 9:12 (turns out we ran faster up the hill than down -- see mile 1 time, oh well).

GwaJ pulled off shortly before the finish but before she did she said "kick it in if you can."  "What?" I thought this wasn't suppose to be that kind of day, but I tried anyway.  I ran for clock and almost got one more guy, but he kicked with like 20 feet, Sandbagger!!  0.11 - 0:52

Total Time on Garmin: 1:56:18
Chip Time 1:58:21

We managed another 2 miles before both our feet had had enough, so we changed and headed out to Bob Evan's to mee the SERC gang for some laughs and yummy breakfast. 

Overall, it was by far the funnest 1/2 I have ever run and I know it was because GwaJ was there.  It was a very successful 16+ mile day of training.  Can't wait to run with her again.

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