Thursday, September 6, 2012

Lake Country Half Marathon Race Recap

Happy Thursday! To start things off, I'm going to apologize for this late race recap. The race was on Saturday, but it seems like the rest of the weekend and first part of this week have just flown by. On the plus side, this means it's almost time for another weekend :)

Anyhow, here's how the race went . . . 

Last year, was my first time racing Lake Country and it was a major breakthrough race for me. I did the 5k race and improved my PR by well over a minute. I went from trying to break 24 minutes to finishing sub-23 minutes. It was a fantastic race for me and proved to me that if you're willing to train hard and push even harder during races, you can accomplish anything. 

This year, I did the half marathon distance as a tune up for the upcoming Lakefront Marathon. Based on my half marathon failures earlier this year, I decided to not set a time goal and instead race purely by effort and . . . without a watch. Well, without my Garmin at least. I wanted to be less focused on hitting a certain pace and instead just run at full effort the entire time. So I strapped my extremely basic watch to my wrist and lined up at the start. 

It was a tad chilly and I was happy when the race started so I could begin running. But after taking maybe a dozen steps, a girl shoved me. That's right, shoved me. So rude and unsportsmanlike. Naturally, I decided I would have to beat her. She quickly sped away, but I was confident I would catch her in the later miles. 

The first few miles flew by. The course wove around a Lac La Belle and was hilly but very scenic. I felt extremely strong during these miles and when I peeked at my watch around mile five, saw that I was averaging about 7:50 pace. Around this time, I also caught up to and passed the girl that shoved me. After that extremely satisfying moment, I started focusing on reeling in as many other runners as possible. 

Feeling strong during these early miles

Of course, it just wouldn't be a half marathon in 2012 without, you guessed it, the dreaded side stitch. It hit around mile seven and stuck with me through the start of mile nine. This was a killer painful one and I spend these two miles run/walking with the occasional stop on the side of the course to try to massage it out. Nothing worked. Finally the pain subsided and I was able to start running again. During this time, the girl that shoved me passed by. Ugh!

After falling so far behind, I wondered if I could possibly salvage my time. I knew a PR wasn't possible, but I could still run my hardest during the final 5k of the race. I figured if I could run this bit in about 23 minutes, I would end up okay. 

And that's what I did. It felt like I was flying during the last few miles of the race. My legs were not very happy but I had lyrics from a Gym Class Heroes song in my head "If you fall pick yourself off the floor/And when your bones can't take no more/Just remember what you're here for." I caught several people that passed me when I was down with the stitch. And then in the middle of mile 11, I saw my pushy friend up ahead and just like that, I passed her again. 

I was so happy to see the finish line. After getting a finisher's medal and cup of water shoved in my hand, I collapsed on a curb for awhile and thought about the race. Even though I wasn't especially going for a PR, I was disappointed not to get one. Based on current fitness, there's no reason I shouldn't be able to race a 1:42:XX half marathon. However, I was happy with how I pushed through and ran a strong 5k at the end of the race. Had the stitch not messed up two miles of my race, I'm confident the time would have been mine. 


This finish line was a welcome sight!

 Here are my full results:

Time: 1:47:38
Average Mile Time: 8:12
Division Place: 8/45
Gender Place: 41 /287
Overall: 135/555

So where to go from here? Well, I did some reading up on side stitches over the weekend and it turns out weak abdominal muscles can sometimes be to blame. I don't really think of myself as having a weak core, but if putting in some extra time in the weight room will cure me of this problem, I'm all for it. 

Now it's your time to tell me - have you ever witnessed rude behavior during a race or training run? How did you react? 

Ironically, the current Runner's World addresses Race Etiquette. Read it if you get a chance!

- ST

4 comments:

  1. Sun, how do you always find pictures from each of the races?
    Carrie H.

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    1. The race usually sends out an email after the race with photo information. Otherwise, I check out the Running in the USA website, look on Facebook or do a Google search :)

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  2. Shame on that girl! I work with a lot of college-age kids and the lack of manners that I see daily never ceases to surprise me.

    But congratulations on finishing strong despite some setbacks. That's such an impressive pace!

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    1. Thanks Alex! The particularly sad thing is, I think she was more like early or mid-30s! Definitely old enough to know better :)

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