Saturday, April 2, 2011

Race Report: Race the Runways Half Marathon, Brunswick.

My alarm went off at 4 am this morning but I'd been up off-and-on since 1:00 am, nervous I'd miss the alarm (okay, 2 alarms).  We needed to be on the road by 5:30 which would give us plenty of time to get to Brunswick on slushy roads.  The packet-pick-up time cut-off was at 7:45 am.  Everything was ready, I ate and had coffee, and was in the car at 4:55 off to pick up Amy and Christine.  And at 4:56 I was stuck at the end of the driveway.

I had tried to gun it to get over the mound of snow that the plow truck had left at the end of the driveway and there I was stuck, bottomed out.  I woke up Sam from a deep sleep and by 5:00 he was out there pushing, then shoveling, pushing, rocking, pushing, shoveling, lying on his stomach trying to clear the snow from under the car, and then finally we got my car back into the driveway.  He then got his truck out of the garage and drove over the mound of very heavy, wet snow to pack it down, until it was clear enough for me to get out.  at 5:25 I was shouting:  thankyou-iloveyou! out the window while driving away.

So we were running late. And you know how it snowed 15 inches yesterday? It hadn't exactly stopped snowing yet, and it was dark and the roads were not so good.   Everyone stayed calm and we laughed a lot at how ridiculous our morning was going.  And that was before we had to stop for gas (my fault) and before we had to take a detour off of the highway because of an accident.  Now we were really late.

We pulled into the Naval Air Base in Brunswick where the race was held at, I think, 7:50.  Christine and Amy ran into Hangar 5 to pick up the packets while I found parking. We hurried around in a state of dismay, waited forever for the port-a-potties, and then it was time to start the race.

I found Rachel, former student, and her great family and we got our before photo.

Rachel's family was my adopted family for the day who enthusiastically cheered for me at several points along the course.

Before shot:  we missed you Jen, Suzanne, and Susan!
See the line of people walking way out onto the runway in the above photo?  That was where we started to walk as the race was starting, and we walked and walked (and walked) out onto the windy runway until we asked a volunteer where we were going.   She pointed to a group of orange-shirted people that looked like they were in New Hampshire from where we were standing.   We had to walk a half mile out there to the STARTING LINE?!  This had been the weirdest most stress-inducing pre-race situation. I was relieved when the starting gun went off.  Phew!

The race:  The first 3 miles were on the runways.  1 mile on a runway feels like a lot longer than 1 mile, and the wind was fierce.  I might mention the wind a few more times in this race report, so be prepared.  I had no expectations for my time today as I really was treating this as a training run.  If you had pressed me for a guess, I would have guessed that I would have stayed in the 10:30s if things went well.  I said:  "Body?  No pressure today."

I liked this course a lot except for the windy parts.  No seriously, there were certain stretches going straight into a 50 mph wind.  (Okay, fine, it was like 18 mph but isn't that enough to blow a car off the road?).  There were 2 out-and-back sections that wove around the tree-lined base which allowed everyone to see everyone else a few times.  That meant I got to wave to my friends, and high five Rachel, and blog friend Jen, and one girl who I thought was Rachel for a second.  It was a friendly bunch of happy runners!

My new running mix was perfect;  I was happily running along and waving and high-fiving and my body just felt good.  I was very consistently running about 9:50 miles.  I hit mile 10 at 1:39 (which was a 10 mile PR for me).  At the end of mile 10, I could see the runway up ahead where I was about to be running, and I could see runners on the runway heading STRAIGHT into the wind, and everyone was hunched into the wind suggesting to me that mile 11 was going to hurt.  When I got back onto the runway, I decided to pretend I was an airplane.  I was going to accelerate until I took off.  It didn't really work, and I lost about 2 minutes in miles 11 and 12 because of that damn wind, but the last half mile we got to turn the other direction with the wind at our backs.  It felt so good.  It felt like someone had a hand on my back and was pushing me home.

Here is the finish line in front of Hangar 5.  I finished in 2:11.55 (according to the Garmin).  Gun time was 2:12.22, but there was no mat at the starting line, so I'll take the Garmin time.  That puts me within 30 seconds of my PR which was a big surprise to me.  10:04 pace.  Right in the middle of a marathon training week; who knew? 

I found Karen... this one is for you, Kim!
Christine (who had an amazing race today) and I waited near the finish line chute for the rest of the crew, Amy and three of Christine's friends running their first half.
Great job, everyone!  It looks pretty cold, but it was a gorgeous sunny day that was actually great for running (you know, except for the wind).

With an injured foot, Rachel ran a 1:53.  That's just awesome.

Another shout out here to another former student, Pattie, who ran too, her first half, and ran a super-strong race.  You go, Pattie!

After hanging out for a while, we changed and headed into Freeport for lunch and some shopping before grabbing Starbucks and driving home. By the end of our shopping afternoon, it was 50 degrees and sunny, and it felt like 5 years earlier that I had been digging out of my driveway in the dark.  What a lovely day.

I got home at 6:05 pm and had to leave by 6:20 with Skyler for our date to the talent show at my school, and I managed to shower and dry my hair.  The talent show was excellent, and we got home at 10:00.   Needless to say, I think I'm going to take my wind-burned face to bed now.

Good work, girls!  Another one in the books.


Brooke said...

Such a great report, and day. Great job!!

Kim Oldenburgh said...

Thanks for finding Karen, Emilie! It's the next best thing to me being there. I laughed reading about just getting going in the morning! I had the same experience getting to that workshop in Hallowell (and I'm TERRIBLE with detours so I was late, too!)
Good job on the race-you are amazing.

Carver Fam said...

I'm SO impressed with your time, especially given the wind and the pre-race anxiety set up by the morning commute AND the 1/2 mile walk to the start. Way to go!

Briana (AuD Runner) said...

Congrats on a great run! Especially during all this wild weather we are having in New England right now!

Airy Nothing said...

The snow. The wind. The cold. Your driveway. Wowza! Congrats on another excellent race!

Carrie said...

Congrats on your race! It was a cold, windy day, for sure! I ran the 5k, my first since high school. I was actually just two people behind you in the long porta-potty line! :-) My sister-in-law recommended your blog when I started running again a couple of months ago, and I just have to say thank you for the inspiration! Keep up the great work and good luck on your future races!