Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sandman Extreme Half Marathon

Half marathon #29, and the first race of 2017 is in the books!  I had vague memories of how tough this race was from when I ran it in 2014, but time definitely softened the difficulty in my mind.  I had completely forgotten that this race was actually harder than the Blue Ridge!  Check out the elevation profile!  I didn't mind the 4 mile uphill climb so much (although I won't say it was the easiest either) but going back down the other side was brutal!  The first two miles of downhill were on gravel, and that was manageable, but my hip started hurting almost as soon as I hit the pavement, and that part was steeper too.  My hip has barely stopped hurting since, but I think the shake out jog, stretching, and foam rolling I did today helped tremendously.

Like my last race, I ran this one with my watch hidden in my sleeve.  I felt like I was crawling for the first mile, but since it was downhill I knew it would be easy to go too fast and ruin the rest of the race, so I made myself stick to the slow-feeling pace.  Of course it turned out to be sub-7 pace, but that's the downhill for you.  I waited til I hit the uphill, and then I kicked into gear.  I was afraid to push too hard on that uphill and not have anything left for the rest of the race, but in hindsight I wish I had pushed a little bit harder.  I'll have a better idea of strategy for next year though!  

I let go as much as I could on the downhills to make up time from the uphill, but when I did encounter flats or uphills after the long downhill, I found it really hard to get back into a rhythm after relying on momentum for so many miles.  I was pleased to see that my splits didn't get too terribly slow by the end though.  At least, not as slow as they felt!  I crossed the line at 12.85 by my watch, so I kept running around the block until I hit 13.1.  They clocked me at 1:37:18 at the line, and I finished the 13.1 in 1:38:27. My finish time was slower than I had hoped, but it was a tough race in unpleasant weather.  35ish degrees, foggy, and intermittent light rain.  And my sore legs say I ran hard even if it was a bit slow!  

Only 270 miles on the old pair but almost no tread left, and I could feel that they were wearing out so it was time for a new pair before the old pair could injure me!  Nice to race in a brand-new pair!

New race hairstyle for the hair since it's too short to braid now...double pony-tales!

Somebody caught this photo of me running up a hill during the race.

Finisher medal along with 1st place winnings : mug, headband, and bag.
I finished first place female and 5th place overall, about 4.5 minutes behind 4th place, which was my running partner Ben.  

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