Sunday, April 19, 2015

Blue Ridge Half Marathon 2015

and then there were five...
I love my runner-dude trophies!
2011 2nd place age group
2012 2nd place
2013 2nd place
2014 3rd place
2015 2nd place

Another successful race in the books.  I am very happy with how I ran yesterday.  I know that I gave that race everything I had, and I don't feel like I made mistakes anywhere that could have cost me a faster time.  The weather was almost perfect, low-mid sixties and sunny.  The 90% humidity was a little bit oppressive, but I was able to draw enough oxygen out of the air so it didn't affect my performance.  This was the first race of the year that was warm enough to race in shorts and a t-shirt, and I loved that!  I am so ready to be done with long pants, sleeves, hats, and gloves!

I got very little sleep the night before this race.  Some people in the parking lot of the motel apparently thought it was a good idea to have a car horn honking battle in the middle of the night.  I think it lasted at least 5 minutes.  And it was really hard to get back to sleep after that.

I started the race right behind the line, as I always do, and didn't have any trouble with the crowd as we took off.  I noticed Sarah (1st place runner) almost right away, and had to continually remind myself to run my race and not hers. I've been trying to beat her for years, but it wasn't meant to be this year either.  We went back and forth for the first 3 miles or so.  But she was clearly in the lead by the top of Mill Mountain and I never caught up to her again.  There was a timing mat around mile 5.5 where they told me 1st place was 2 minutes ahead of me.  A mile or two later, at the Fleet Feet water station, someone told me I was in the lead.  That messed with my head a bit...but I was pretty positive that whoever told me I was in first was delusional.  And later on people started telling me I was second, so I knew for sure that Sarah was indeed still ahead of me somewhere.

Thinking about it during the race, I decided that the difference between Sarah and I must be that she trains, and I run.  If I ever want to beat her, I will probably have to actually start training for real.  But ugh, training.  I'm convinced it will take all the joy out of running.  I might have to just content myself with being in second place forever.

The first three times I ran this race, there was the Mill Mountain ascent/descent, and then the rest of the course was flat/rolling.  Last year, the course was changed to make it harder.  I wasn't supposed to run last year because of tendonitis, but of course I ran anyway.  However, I held myself back a bit because of the tendonitis, and apparently wasn't paying too much attention, because I definitely did not remember all the hills that were added.  I remembered the Peakwood neighborhood, but I thought that was the last real hill on the course.  All the signs saying it was the last hill reinforced this misconception.  But then I encountered a few more hills.  I felt like I was crawling up them, but I guess everyone else was too, because no one passed me.  I felt pretty strong on Mill Mountain and Peakwood, but each hill after that was a crawl upwards followed by a frantic pounding down the other side while trying not to think about all the various injuries I was likely to incur by such a pounding.

It was a lonely race, as usual.  Obviously I like finishing in the top ten for bragging and achievement purposes, but it's so lonely up there!  There was no one near me for most of the race.  It definitely makes me wish for my headphones, but I'm not going to give in and start racing with them.  I'm really hoping for more of a pack to run with at Pittsburgh in two weeks since it is such a big race.  I'm curious to see how much faster I can run if I have a pack to run with instead of being all alone.

Bottle-opener on the medals this year!

I finished 2nd female, 9th overall, in 1:38:24 chip time (1:38:21 watch time).  I ran 5 minutes faster than last year.  Maybe next year I can take off another 5 minutes...

Can you tell which miles were uphill and which were downhill?!

 Judging by how sore my legs are today (not the worst they've ever been after a race, but definitely sore), I need to do a lot more hill training for next year's race.  It's kind of hard to believe that I don't already run enough hills, considering that is about all I do...but oh well.  More hills it is.

Blue Ridge elevation profile

It is unfortunate the I live on the second floor and the laundry is in the basement...I always have to do laundry the day after a race...and those stairs are no fun!

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