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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Race Recap: Emerald City Quarter Marathon

The lovely medal // Photo by Robb McCormick Photography 
The Emerald City Half and Quarter Marathon took place 7:00am on Sunday, August 23 in Dublin, Ohio. I ran the half last year and it was my worst race ever. Though I'm physically prepared for a half, I'm not ready mentally, and fearing hot weather I chose the quarter (6.55 miles).

I kept my goals realistic and considered three things: it could be humid, my trail 10K last week didn't go well, and I may have wasted my good run on Friday (when I did an "easy" 3 miles around my neighborhood at an 8:30 pace). I decided on three goals, directly in line with the available pace groups:

A 1:00 (9:10 min/mile)
B 1:05 (9:56 min/mile)
C 1:10 (10:41 min/mile) 

Right before takeoff
First off, the weather was amazing for a summer race. It was 61 and it felt glorious. Almost made me want to run the half.

I wish we'd left earlier because traffic was terrible. You can't blame the race directors: Dublin had overnight construction near the race start. Two directions were blocked off and race emails provided warning. Long story short, it took us a billion years to get to a parking spot. We finally parked with 20 minutes to spare.

Of course I had to go to the bathroom and the lines were insane. I met another Oiselle Volée member in line (looking back I was a little toooooo excited. Sorry.). My friend Angie met up with us, but 5 minutes from race start I was still waiting in line and she left to go line up. I finally got to a potty, said goodbye to Alex, and... basically stood about 5 feet from where we said goodbye because I couldn't get into the corral. It was jam packed.

I was far from the front. I wasn't in the starting chute or a corral. I was stuck with a bunch of people in a weird path perpendicular to the 1:20 pace group (about 12:13/mi). I couldn't see my goal pace group and immediately knew there would be some weaving during the first mile. Fleet Feet recorded the video below with a drone and I cross the line around 2:26. I'm all the way to the right wearing a light gray tank and a white hat. You can see me already starting to dodge people.

Mile 1–3
Starting in the back was kind of cool because I felt like I was flying. Yeah, there were times I got stuck behind some oblivious folks, but it's not their fault. After all, they were lined up in the correct corral. Normally I speed during the first mile because I'm trying to keep up with pacers or the flow of traffic. This time, I was the weirdo sprinting by and it was kind of neat... I felt faster than normal, that's for sure. Despite that feeling, my first mile was my slowest.

This photo doesn't belong here, but it's the only pro photo of me from the entire race! 
Around mile 1 I caught up with the 1:15 pace group. Sometime after that I passed 1:10. For some reason, I never noticed 1:05 or 1:00. Around mile 2.5 the quarters turned left while the halves continued straight. I remember wanting to turn left with the quarters so badly last year. I'm not sure if it was the knowledge that I only had four miles remaining or if I'm in better shape, but this year I felt good at the split. I saw my first two miles clock in near A goal pace and I felt like I could maintain my speed.

The course
I'm bad at water stops
I never know how my races will go until mile 2. Last week, I walked at 1.5. During this race, I only walked at a water stop. By the way, this was my first time not carrying a water bottle in a race longer than 4 miles. It was great not having anything in my hand, but I am NOT good at drinking water while running. I learned this the hard way when I drenched my face at the second stop. I then tried to toss my cup in a trashcan and missed by at least two feet. At the third stop I walked while I drank. Yes, it cost me 5 to 10 seconds, but at least I got some water. (I skipped stops 1 and 4.)

Miles 36
Anyway, we were in a park from 3 to 4.5, covering the same trail I ran in last year's half. I was miserable during those miles so it was kind of fun to not want to die in the park this year. Every time I felt myself get tired I tried to remember I was nearly finished.

The last few miles are a straight shot down two roads and full sun. Had I run the half, I would have been melting. I was hot and sweaty, but I wasn't completely uncomfortable. I began to speed up with a mile to go. I was getting pretty tired right before the final turn into the finish and few 30 year old ladies passed me (argh!), but I was holding my own. My last mile was solidly in the 8s.

Pretty pleased
Finish and After
I crossed the line and the official clock read an hour and change, so I knew I'd finished under an hour. I was pretty excited. I met up with Alex and grabbed a cold towel to cool off. Then I collected my water, banana, granola bar, Gatorade, bagel, and chocolate milk (insert angels singing). We hung around socializing and met up with Angie. The after race party was at Buffalo Wild Wings (do you guys still call it BW3s because I do). Finishers received a vodka beverage (basically an Arnold Palmer) and free wings and chips.  It was 8am so it felt a little weird eating and drinking these things, but I won't say no to free stuff.

Final Stats and Thoughts
Don't you just love when weather and physical fitness come together? Had I started in the correct place I may have finished faster, but I ran by feeling and I kept a good pace and had a good time. Plus, this was the first race where I actually had energy to high-five spectators!

Final Time: 58:11(8:53/mi)
Overall: 240/1563 (15%)
Gender: 119/1152 (10%)
Age Group: 55/438 (12.5%)

Distance: 6.55 miles. This is a great distance. I may focus on 10Ks after this season!
Mile Splits:  9:11, 9:03, 9:01, 9:05, 9:02, 8:45, and 8:24 for the last half mile.

Up Next: Run 4 the Health of It 4 Miler on Labor Day. It'll be Alex's first race since May!   

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on surpassing your A goal despite the crowding. I love the medal! Glad you were able to meet another teammate!


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