Saturday, June 13, 2009

Boomtown Days Half Marathon

~1 mile w/u + strides
13.1 miles in 1:24:42 (minus ~50 secs. bathroom break, obviously)
0.00 mile c/d
Total: 14-14.5 miles
3rd overall female

First of all, big thanks to Jilane, Tush, Jeff and Ozzie for their blog shout-outs. I do this for the fans.

Secondly, this race sucked. Or maybe I sucked and the race was just fine. At any rate, whoever put together the elevation chart for this run certainly wasn't a math major (and, for that matter, wasn't even as good at math as my seven-year-old cousin Preston, who wowed us at dinner Friday night with his swift addition, subtraction and multiplication skills that included negative numbers).

Anyhow, let me start from the beginning. Jordan and I made it safely to Joplin and to my Aunt Kelly's house yesterday evening and enjoyed dinner and family time before hitting the hay early. We were on the road to the race bright and early at 6am, and managed to easily find parking and secure our chips and numbers by 6:30. This left us a bit of time for jogging around and otherwise warming up before the 7am start. At this point the sun was already peaking through on the horizon and the air was fraught with humidity--in short, it promised to be a typical steamy summer morning in the Midwest. Not ideal race conditions, but certainly no different than what we were expecting.

The gun went off at 7am sharp and we were on our way. I quickly spotted a few other speedy ladies in the mix, although no one who looked as though they could light the world on fire, so I decided to take off conservatively and see how the first few miles played out. Though I felt like I was jogging, I passed the first mile marker in just under 6:10 (also, side note here: since I didn't have Jordan's Garmin and I'm fairly incapable of operating even a standard Timex watch, I don't have splits for each mile). I felt absolutely great the first five miles, clicking off splits in the 6:08-6:15 range fairly easily (31:10ish through five, I believe). I soon learned that this would be my fastest section of the course, as just past five miles we started what would be a steady ascent for virtually the entire second half of the course.

Also, naturally, this was the point in the race where I realized that I would, um, have to make a bathroom stop. Those of you who have ever run with me know this is pretty much the norm, although I would've liked to not have to deal with it during a race situation. However, stopping was better than any conceivable alternative, so when I spotted a port-a-potty around 7.5 miles I ducked in. To be honest, part of me was grateful for the break, as we'd already been climbing steadily for over two miles at this point. I doubt I would've run faster than 6:30 for that mile regardless, but with the stop included I clicked my watch at 7:15, so you can do the math as to how this impacted my total time (I'll give you a hint, it didn't help).

For the remaining five miles I was pretty much in the hurt tank. None of the hills were particularly steep, but they seemed to just keep coming and coming. Every time we rounded a corner I expected to find some relief, only to find that the course continued to go uphill. I helplessly watched my splits hover in the 6:25-6:30 range and knew that survival was the only goal going forward. I simply could not find a groove in the second half of the race, what with the sun climbing higher in the sky and the unrelenting terrain. It was all I could do to keep it together to the tape, as I wogged the final 1.1 in 7:10.

After the race, I sat on the curb with Jordan and our friend Jerry absolutely dripping sweat--I looked like I'd taken a dive headfirst into a swimming pool--and completely exhausted. When Jerry asked, "Do you guys want to do a cool down?", my response was, "Not really." So we didn't.

I'll let Jordan tell the story from his perspective when he gets around to blogging, but he ran an extremely tough race, finishing 4th behind three Kips in just under 69 minutes. On another course I know he is fit enough to run 66, just as I think/hope I'm capable of running under 1:22, but today wasn't stellar for either of us. I will say that for a first-time event the race was extremely well-organized and everything ran incredibly smoothly, so props to the Boomtown folks and race director Audie Dennis for putting all the pieces together. Perhaps we will be back next year with a better idea of what the course will be like and a tougher mental mindset. For now, it's time to enjoy a few days of rest and relaxation.

Thanks, Boomtown Run. It's been pretty real.