As posted yesterday on RunningAHEAD.com...
Oh, yeah...and "will run for beer" day, too. Seriously, is there ANYTHING better than a race that ends at a microbrewery with a massive deck overlooking a little lake and entertainment for the kids while the parents kick-back with a few brews, pizza, and pork BBQ sammiches? Yeah, I didn't think so, either!
Old Boys' Brewhouse Oktoberfest Half-Marathon
chip time: 2:01:56 (2:07 PR...previous PR on same course 2 years ago)
14/30 AG (35-39)
Woke this morning around 4...not by choice. My alarm was set for 5, but a certain cat decided to wake me an hour early by "lovingly" sinking a single claw in my neck. After that I kind of dozed until my alarm rang.
Sat around for an hour or so and slowly woke with coffee and a biscuit/egg/bacon/cheese breakfast sandwich. This has essentially been my race breakfast for about the past year.
Drove to Heather73s house and were off (Heather, DH, DS, and I) shortly after 6:30 in her big Honda Pilot, "Ruby." We arrived at the race site by 7:15 where we did our port-a-potty business and then an easy 1 mile warm-up run. We got back in the LONG line for a second trip through the portables (only 5 for probably close to 500 runners and all of the spectators...what?! This was my ONLY criticism of the race organization). After standing for a few minutes in the non-moving line we decided to wander-off and find another place to empty our bladders before race start. Heather ended up behind an open shed door and I ended up behind a dumpster with ALL of the fish refuse from the marina next to the brewpub. Good thing my stomach wasn't queasy. Ew.
We made our way to the start and only stood around for a minute or two before we were off. During this time we somehow managed to bump into John/felter2468. I ran with John for about the first half mile, before I found a break in the crowd and pushed ahead a bit to get some breathing room.
As is often the case, I ran most of the race semi-solo (seriously, do I stink or something?! ). After about the first 4-5 miles I don't recall anyone passing me, though I passed several. Early into the race I decided to run just fast enough to PR. My previous PR was on the same course (well, the same race...some minor course changes have been made to accommodate a field that has nearly tripled in size in 2 years) 2 years ago. I am reasonably certain I had it in me to go sub-2, but I also have a marathon in 4 weeks and 2 20 milers to get under my belt before taper, so I didn't want to gut myself trying. There is always next year and this race will still be there. Next year I can do more appropriate speedwork and taper to guarantee that sub-2, too.
The miles ticked-off comfortably. Today felt quite a bit more comfortable than my previous PR effort. There's definitely something to that "more miles" thing, heh. It wasn't until the last mile-and-a-half when I picked up the pace to finish fast that I felt much discomfort. It was fabulous to pass so many who were really struggling, too--especially the 2 dudes just before the finishing chute.
After finishing I caught my breath and found my DH and DS...and we waited to see Heather finish her FIRST HM (a race that up until a few days ago she didn't want to register for...she felt unprepared and had never run more than 12 miles in a single day--today she ran a total of 14.1!). I knew she could do this...so did everyone else she talked to. She was convinced, but nervous.
Almost exactly 15 minutes later she came around the corner before the finish...looking so strong. Yay, Heather!!!
After she caught her breath we said goodbye to John and his family, dropped-off a few things to Heather's truck, and returned to the brewery for our post-race grub (each runner received 2 tickets for their choice of pulled pork BBQ sandwiches and/or pizza) and BEER! After 2 big glasses of some sort of delicious rye ale we needed our big designated driver (my hubby) to take the wheel to get us back home (good plannin', right?!).
While we were eating Cory/Corland found us...I had been looking for him before and after the race, but never managed to spot him. It was nice to see him again. See you again at GR in a month, Cory! I smell BQ for you!
Shortly after that another RAer found us (RA runners are taking over the racing world, apparently). Nice to meet you, Liz--it was wonderful sitting in the sun and relaxing with you awhile (you still looked completely fresh after that race...how'd you do that?!). Hope you made it back to your side of the state safely. Congrats on a fabulous race and I can't wait to see where your legs will take you in the coming months.
We left the brewery still full of grins and lots of giggles. This remains my favorite race. I could do this every year and still be madly in love with it, I am certain. This year they added a full...and I had given some thought to training for that next year...but I think I will stick with the half. The full is still small and VERY competitive. When we left around the 5 hour mark there appeared to be only one lone guy still finishing (and we drove along the course on our way out...no other runners in sight). I have a feeling at my pace I would be very alone for 4.5+ hours. While I didn't have very many runners at my hip for most of the HM, at least I had people just a short distance ahead and behind me. I had targets. And I had lots of people at the finish cheering. That poor 5 hour runner had almost no one left to urge him across the timing mat (with a strong finish, I might add).
Here's one last parting shot...Next year...sub-2!