Sunday, May 6, 2012

Race Day Wrap Up - Mini 2012

Well, knock another Mini off my list! :) That was my third, my parents' third, and Tom's fourth (but his SEVENTH half!). It turns out all of my worrying was for naught. I did just fine. In fact, in terms of general feelings, I felt really good. Don't get me wrong, it was hard and I almost gave up, just like every year. But, I did feel good longer than I have in previous races. Those darned last three miles though always give me a hard time! I'll try to summarize here the best I can.

We got up around 5:15 and planned to leave the house around 6. We actually made it the door at 6:15. Our breakfast of choice was a piece of whole wheat toast with chunky almond butter. We picked a different parking garage this time but it was a great location. This time, it was right across the street from Steak and Shake, where we usually stop for a bathroom break. We headed to the corrals and snapped some photos.

Since mom and dad started in R and Tom and I were in F, we split up here. Tom and I took some things to gear check and then hit the bathrooms at 7:21. No lines up there! The race started and we crossed the line around 5 1/2 minutes after the gun. We didn't stay together long.

I always take off toward the left which for some reason seems less crowded. I followed behind a girl in a pink top for the first mile or so. I was instantly sweating and a little worried about how bad I felt. Then, I figured out why. I hit mile one at 8:47. That's way too fast for me! If I wanted to finish this thing in under two hours, I needed a 9:15 pace. This math kept me busy most of the race. I was always figuring out fast I had to run the remaining miles. After mile one, I knew I had made up almost 30 seconds that could be split over the remaining miles.

I did the second mile in 9 minutes, which is still fast, but sustainable.  My 5K time (3.1 miles) was 28:07 so I had slowed to an average of a 9 minute mile. I was feeling really good though. And, that means I had picked up 45 seconds that I could use in the last miles. This is where things get a little blurry in my mind. I remember thinking it took a long time to get to the track, but the track didn't seem nearly as long as I had remembered. Plus, once you're off the track, you're almost to mile 9!

My brickyard time was 1:10:54, which is almost to mile 8. I think I as still around a 9 minute pace at this point. I missed seeing the bricks again this year! I don't know how I do that every time. I remember getting really hot on the track and that was the only time I was really thirsty. (I stopped at every aid station - water and gatorade - and walked the later ones.) I stayed close to a guy that had a good pace and was a very controlled runner. I always try to pick people that look effortless. This way I can not only pace off them, but it also encourages me to relax.

By mile 9, I was still surprised at how good I was feeling. That all came to an end at mile 10. I had a lot of self-talk going. I kept telling myself I felt fine, and that I didn't want to leave anything out there. It only partly worked. I ran more than I did in the previous years during this stage and only walked the aid stations. But, I was SLOW! Miles 10-13 seem like a fog and I don't remember anything but that I realized I would hit under 2 hours and then around mile 12 I realized I wouldn't hit last year's time. I was just beat. No energy left! If I had a 9 minute pace at mile 8, I was down to a 9:18 pace (for the whole race meaning miles 8-11 were much slower) by mile 11.

I was so happy to make the turn onto the bridge for the last mile. Even at this point, I could have probably beat my time from last year, though I just had nothing left. I had already employed my counting steps technique and started counting people to pass. I told myself I could walk after I passed 10 people. I didn't. But, again, I was just slow. This year, they didn't have the last mile marked by quarter mile and that didn't help. The last mile is marked by race flags every few steps. I started "pulling" myself to the next flag. I also followed a guy with a shirt that had a verse I had seen during a previous race "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." That worked for a few minutes, until he stopped to walk. :) I wanted to stop so bad, but I managed to run through the finish - not with any kick to it though. My final time was 2:03:35 and a 9:26 pace (about 45 seconds slower than last year). After some water and cookies, I was feeling pretty good.

I found Tom and later mom and dad. Tom was 1:58:30 and mom and dad were 2:40:05. We were all slower than last year, which is no surprise since the average time this year for everyone was 5 minutes slower.

Here is some math:

5K Pace: 9:04
8 Mile Pace: 9:05
11 Mile Pace: 9:18
Finish Pace: 9:26

Here's what that means:

Miles 1-8 were run at a 9:05 pace. Miles 8-11 were run at a 9:52 pace. Miles 11-13.1 were run at a 10:42 pace.

I was just out of juice. I couldn't pinpoint anything - my breathing was fine, my legs felt fine - I was just tired. So, next year, I need to focus on finishing faster! But, this year, I was 403/2747 in my age division and 6,785/31,129 overall. Even with finishing slower than last year, my rankings from last year were worse - 561/2759 for division and 8,973/30,649. I think what that means is that it was so hot and humid this year, that everyone ran slower, but I ran less slow than the others. Maybe, had it been cooler, those last miles wouldn't have been so bad and I could have cracked the 2 hours.

Either way, I'm proud of all of us and can't believe I finished so close to previous times with my set backs this year. Here we are after the finish.

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