Monday, October 13, 2008

Race Report: The Middle Half

On Saturday, I headed up to Murfreesboro to run in The Middle Half. I ran it's inaugural race last year, so I of course wanted to go back for its second year. It's also run on and around the MTSU campus, so it's fun to have a chance to run again on my old stomping grounds.

I woke up around 5am (which is hard to do when it's dark outside) and started getting ready. Inspiration struck as I was washing my face, and I turned on Hot Fuss by The Killers to pump me up as I got dressed. I don't really have an elaborate pre-race ritual. I get dressed. I make sure my toenails look ok. I put blister block on my feet. I get my socks and shoes on. I wash my face and pull my hair up (and hairspray it back a bit to keep the wispies from falling down.. this is really the ONLY time I ever use hairspray). I eat a little something and brush my teeth. I grab my gels and my bag with a change of clothes and head out.

My parents wanted to go, so I headed to their house and then we headed on to the Boro... under the stars. We reached campus and parked around 6:30, and I waited for Bob, Rachel and Joel to show up. By the time we made our way to the start line, we had some daylight.

Rachel and I before the start

The gun was fired around 7am and we were off! I had planned on taking it easy and making a good effort to not go out too fast. Rachel and I wanted to finish around the 2-hour mark, so there was no need to get too eager. I had no plans or anticipation for running a PR at this race, but I did want to beat my time of 2:02:04 from last year.

The first couple of miles were run through the "historic main street" area of town, taking us past the Oaklands Mansion and then on down Main Street and around the square. There were two times in the first 5 miles where you turned around and passed runners coming the other way. I always like that. It's fun in local races to watch for people I know and wave at them.

Rachel and I somewhere between miles 5 and 6.

I ran the first 6.3 miles in 56:05 (I'm not sure why they did the split a little sooner than the actual mid-point, but no biggie). I had felt like I was running slower than that, so it was kind of fun to realize I was going faster and still felt pretty good.

I'm not sure when we lost Bob, but I realized around the halfway point he was no longer behind us. We kept trucking along and worked our way over to the other side of campus to run down some of the main streets that surround the campus.

Rachel decided around mile 8 to hang back, so I kept pushing along. Around mile 10, we got to turn and run on campus for a bit.

Me running on campus between mile 10 and 11

After running on campus, we turned back on one of the main roads. Shortly after the turn, I saw my friend Aleesha and her son. It was fun to run over and say hi right quick, her little boy flashing me a huge grin! She was thinking there might be a full and a half and she asked as I ran off. I turned to holler back, "No, it's just a half today!"

Then a couple of guys who heard me started heckling me for saying it was "just a half." We joked back and forth about it being their first and how I've run some full marathons. They were like, "then why aren't you up front with the Kenyans?!" and I was like "what, with these little white legs?!" They were running behind me for the next mile or so, and they were cracking me up! They were having a blast singing, talking, and cheering back at people cheering for us. They totally helped me to stay motivated for the last part of the race. Thanks guys, whoever you are!

A fire truck was set up around mile 11 and had a hose going for us to run through. It was starting to get pretty warm, so this was quite a wonderful blessing. After that, I tried to focus on running a steady pace. I know I'd beat my previous time for the course, but I had been encouraged to try to break the 2-hour mark and knew that if I kept pushing then I would do it.

We turned onto one last street. I could see the stadium off in the distance. I started looking ahead for runners to try to pass one by one as I made my way to the finish line. Sometimes this is the best way for me to motivate myself to keep running hard when I'm hot and tired.

I finally reached the end of the road and turned to head into the track stadium on campus.

Making my finishing sprint

I didn't really have much of a "sprint" at the finish, but I did feel like I was running hard and strong. I could hear not only my parents, but also the voices of my high school cross country coach and his wife (they were there cheering on Rachel, their daughter-in-law). It was kind of fun to hear Coach cheering for me as I ran toward the finish line. It reminded me of old memories from my high school days.

I knew I had finished in the 1:58 territory, so I was excited that I not only made my goal of beating my time for this course, but also that I broke 2 hours! I was hot, sweaty and ready for a popsicle!

After the race, I met back up with various friends who had run the race.

One of my ADPi sisters, Amanda, ran her first half!

Me and Joel after the race

I didn't really feel like eating any of the post-race food other than a popsicle because I felt so hot. I hung around for a little bit chatting with some friends and then headed home.

Unfortunately, I spent the rest of the day on the couch and unable to eat. My tummy was terribly upset, certainly a result of pushing myself in the heat. That ALWAYS bothers my stomach. I ended up sleeping for about 12 hours Saturday night and woke up yesterday feeling as good as new (other than a slight twinge in my right quad, but I'm hopeful that'll clear up before my next run tomorrow).

It was a great race! Another great time, another cool long-sleeve tech shirt, another medal... what more could a running gal want?


The Happy Runner said...

Congratulations! That's a great time. I hope you've been able to refuel and you keep feeling good!

J said...

Awesome job on the half! That is so cool you got to finish at the stadium and run on the track - almost like the Olympics! lol

Hope the quad feels better.

*aron* said...

WOOO! awesome job! sounds like you had a great time too (except for the tummy issues later). love the "its just a half today" part :)

Nate Tallman said...

I ran the half too! I saw you guys in the middle before the start while I was making my way to the back, but was running late so I didn't stop. I ended up finishing in 2:23. Hopefully this will be the first of many.

Shoe Running said...

Way to go with beating your time from last year :) Congratulations!

Frayed Laces said...

Great race report and great job!

Miss Gallery Place said...


Laura said...

Congratulations!!! And I hate tummy issues :( Did you eat cookies or dairy the day before? Those always kill me.