Crystal Lake Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Crystal Lake, Illinois
United States
60F / 16C
Total Time = 1h 40m 33s
Overall Rank = 62/269
Age Group = M35-39
Age Group Rank = 15/40
Pre-race routine:

Got up early, went to Dunkin' Donuts to treat my wife and kids to breakfast and left it on the kitchen counter for them. The benefit for me here is this gave my body time to wake up so I could take care of, uh, THAT at home instead of at the race site. Headed to the race. I was way earlier than I needed to be, but it was worth it for one thing. When I arrived I was the 4th car in the lot and I parked next to a guy getting into his firefighting gear. I didn't know about this, but apparently this guy was going to walk the course in full gear to honor fallen comrades from 9/11. Full gear means everything - even the heavy oxygen tank and rubber boots. Well the race didn't start for everyone else until 8am but he took off around 6:40am in the cold and rain. Amazing.
Event warmup:

Hung out, asked about aid stations and waited for the other BT'ers to show up. Cindy and Mark K, Schmize and Laura. We all found each other pretty easily as it was a fairly small event. We all did more chatting than stretching or running, but I wouldn't have wanted to do anything else to get ready.
  • 1h 40m 33s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 41s  min/mile

Cold and rainy, this was just my style. I actually could have gone for a little more rain. Keeping cool was not a problem. As usual, I feel I need to give a little background here. A month ago my goal for this race was 1:45. Then at Pleasant Prairie I got the concussion and then a few days later got sick and it completely derailed my training. The three weeks in between these two races were basically a waste for me. It wasn't until last weekend that I finally felt like I could run again and I still wasn't 100%. So going in to this race I knew I could finish, but based on my post-PP training I didn't feel comfortable hoping for anything better than 9 minute miles, or 1:57. I just didn't know what I was going to get out of myself. I knew that Scott's (shmize) plan was to go out easy for the first half so I was just hoping to hang with him until he decided to pick up the pace and then let him go.

By the way, in all of this cold and rain and wind, my wife and kids, Schmize's family and my folks and MIL all came out to cheer us on. What a great bunch of jockstrappers!

So they line us up and we're off. MarkK is gone like a rocket. 10 seconds later Scott is a 100 yds ahead of me. Oh well, I think, so much for that plan. I thought the whole crowd went out too fast. I was really surprised because of how far we had to run. I just kind of hung in the pack and rode along with it. As I got comfortable I began to pick it up a little and pass people. I matched up with a guy who was running strong and ran with him for a mile or two. He asked how I was doing and I said I'm running way over my head but I'm just trying to catch that guy in the white hat. By then I was only about 50ft behind Schmize. I was really surprised I caught him. I gave him our familiar greeting (I just can't quit you!) and then we ran together for a mile or so. We got into some rolling hills. I told him I was running at my maximum and it was just a question of when I would fade. Mile 4 or mile 10? We'll see. This is where the race got fun for me. As we got into some rolling hills I approached them with a plan. I concentrated very hard on shortening my stride, maintaining form and picking up the pace on the uphills. It worked and I climbed great. But the downhills were the best. I always let my legs "roll out" on the downhills. I go way faster than my normal pace but if you maintain form and do it right it doesn't take any more effort. It's way easier than fighting the hill all the way down. But as I was doing it I realized nobody else was! This gave me a huge advantage on the other people we were running with. Scott even commented on it after the race and said he started copying me because he could see what was happening. It feels like you're on wheels compared to the people chugging down the hill fighting the pull.

So we get to mile 4 (first mile marker) and we're cruising along. We see our families and say hi which is a boost, especially since I've managed to keep up with Scott to this point. In the pictures I'm actually a little ahead but he looks way more relaxed.

Miles 6-10 were basically the same. Maintain form, pace, eat a gel, keep running. At some point in there we passed the leaders coming back (Winner was 1:13) and also saw the fireman walking back. Saw Cindy and Laura, they both looked great. One notable event here. One of my long term goals has always been to run 8 miles in an hour. I wasn't even thinking about that and at the 8 mile mark I happened to look at my watch. It said exactly 1:00:00. How about that? I can mark that goal off and that gave me quite a boost.

At mile 10 I started wondering when Scott was going to pass me. (Also at some point in here I looked at my watch and saw 1:25 and thought "If I was Joel I'd be done by now!) I knew Schmize was right behind me. I decided to just try to keep the pace going to make him work a little harder to pass me. Finally at 11.5 he caught me. As he want past I told him I'm done, go get it. He passed me but with no rabbit to chase he mentally relaxed and I began to catch up to him again. I got right behind him and (politely) told him to get his ass in gear. I didn't rabbit this whole time for him just so he could relax now! :) The last mile and a half I broke down. Lost form, lost focus and began to hurt. I started grunting like Sharapova with every breath. I kept my promise to myself that whatever happened I would push so hard that I was a mindless slobbering idiot when I crossed the line so I feel good about that.
What would you do differently?:

Not a damn thing.
Post race
Warm down:

Was greeted by Mark and Scott at the finish. Laid down in the grass for a few seconds. How come nobody else does this? Everyone else stands around, I think it feels so good to lay down. I do it every race but I never see anyone else do it. Stood around in the cold and rain and took pics with the friends and family. Waited for Cindy and Laura to come in.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Nothing. I went as fast as I could.

Event comments:

I had a lot of fun and really suprised myself with a great race. I think the rest over the last two weeks did my body more good than any more training would have. I feel fortunate that my base allowed me to pull of this run. I had absolutely no idea I was capable of keeping that kind of pace for the first 11 miles. I thought I would die at 6. I'm extremely pleased with this, especially after what I felt was a disappointing effort at Pleasant Prairie.

Note - pics added - Mark K finishing strong, Schmize finishing strong, me finishing. In the one close up I look better than I feel :)

Oh - I almost forgot. That firefighter? He finished in 3:17, not long after us due to his early start, and I went over and shook hands and congratulated him on his effort. It was remarkable.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2006-08-21 12:00 AM
01:40:33 | 13.1 miles | 07m 41s  min/mile
Age Group: 15/40
Overall: 62/269
Performance: Good
Course: Mostly flat, some rollers and one hill. Out and back, sort of. I liked it, this run suited me well. And as it is basically in my training grounds I felt like I was on home court.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4