Hoosier Half Marathon recap

Monday, April 08, 2013

1:54:44

I missed a PR by 58 seconds.

For a girl who gave herself the simple goal of just FINISHING the Hoosier Half without walking, coming that close to setting a personal record blew me away.

I honestly didn't think I'd come in under 2 hours. I was hoping I could squeak it in 1:59:59, but I wasn't holding my breath. I didn't know what to expect with this race course, although I obviously had expected the worse.

The perfect medal for a Hoosier girl like me!
I talked to a few of my runner friends after the race, women I consider to be among the elite in our city's running community, and they both shared that this is one of the hardest courses they've run, too. One of them stated that the Hoosier Half is more or less a training course, a prerequisite to setting a PR on your next half because hey, no way your next race is going to be this hilly.

So knowing that I rocked the socks off a race that even extremely seasoned runners have trouble with made me feel like a million bucks.

To say the Hoosier Half marathon is kinda hilly is like saying the ocean is kinda deep. Not only were several hills crammed into each and every mile of that half marathon course, for every uphill climb there was an equal downhill fall that felt equally taxing on my thighs. Believe it or not, running downhill takes a lot of control to keep your body from subcomming to the downward motion and falling flat on your face.

About 6 miles into the race, I checked my watch and was shocked to see that my pace was about 5 seconds per mile faster than my previous PR at the Monumental Half Marathon. Whatever seconds I was losing going uphill were clearly coming back as I flew downhill.

At about mile 9 there was a short beast of a hill that I totally forgot existed. I've driven down that particular road several times throughout my years living here, but when you're happily driving in your car and not putting in any physical effort to move, monstrous downgrades tend to go unnoticed.

This was the point where I started to notice several runners stopping to walk. The hill was wicked steep and this late in the race, a lot of us were suffering from severely depleted energy sources. While I was severely lacking in physical energy, I had a surplus of determination and I ran up that hill like a boss. As I said before, my goal was to finish without walking and when I say I'm going to do something, dang-it, I do it!

By about mile 10 it was harder to recoup the seconds I was losing on the hills. Climbing the hills was becoming a painful, slow process and I just couldn't make up the time coming back down on the other side. The entirety of mile 12 was a steady, uphill climb that felt like a cruel, cruel joke after almost 2 hours of pushing your thighs to their absolute limit.

It was a much smaller race than what I'm used to (sometimes I felt like I was running by myself) and only a handful of spectators peppered the route. But I do remember one woman who was standing about a half mile from the finish line, clapping for runners as they came to the final bend of the race. I had been trying my best to smile at anyone who took the time to stand around and cheer for us, and as I met her eye she exclaimed with an air of seriousness, "You guys have no idea how incredible you are. I am so impressed!"

Her statement of admiration is definitely what carried me through to the very end. I was the closest I've ever been to throwing up during a run (every hiccup was touch-and-go there for awhile) and the idea of sprinting the final stretch before the finish line (which of course, was uphill) seemed like a physical impossibility, but that woman's comment gave me one more small burst of energy.

I finished strong.

And then I watched the girl who finished just before me puke her guts up in some bushes.

Maria did awesome in the 5k!


I'm going to need a new medal rack soon!

Later that afternoon, I was more exhausted than I've ever been after a race. I napped for about 3 hours and when I woke up, my hips felt like they were locked in place. My range of motion was next to none and soreness was already setting in the muscles around my buttocks.

But I didn't complain. I was actually reveling in the aches and pains. I surprised myself, I exceed my expectations and as hokey and self-centered as it sounds, I was so ridiculously proud of myself (and still am!).

Making sure I ran on hills several times a week and during my longs run really, really made a difference. I'm so happy I never took it easy on myself and forced myself up and down that obnoxious hill behind my apartment every Saturday morning, even when it was the last thing my body and I wanted to do.

Running is such a mental sport and I think that's why I love it so much. I love the challenge of training your mind to run your body rather than letting your body run your mind.

General George S. Patton, a 1912 Olympian summarized this sentiment perfectly:

"If you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do... the body is never tired if the mind is not tired."

The rest of the weekend was spent in a happy daze that was only made sweeter by temperatures that crept into the low 70s. Joe-bizzles reaped the benefits of the beautiful weather and despite my rapidly expanding soreness, I couldn't resist taking him on long hike on the wooded trails on Saturday afternoon. I also brought him along for a sunny recovery walk early Sunday morning at Clear Creek Trail. The poor little guy had to stop a few times on the way back to the car to take a breather, but he's slowly regaining his endurance after such a long winter cooped up in the house.

My curious explorer ready to get out of the car and walk!

In between watching the Atlanta Braves beat the Cubs and organizing my closet, I did a lot of writing! I'm happy to report that I wrote 6 chapters for the dating eBook this week and despite the fact that ghostwriting means my name appears nowhere on the project, I'm still doing what I love and that feeling is just as good as earning another race medal. I've had a lot of creative freedom with my writing and it's been fun setting the tone of the book.

I met with the book club ladies on Sunday and we picked out our next book club read. Instead of venturing over to the Half-Priced Books Outlet like usual, we met at Barnes and Nobles in hopes of finding a better selection of books that piqued our collective interest. (We'd previously been at the mercy of whatever book happened to have more than 4 copies on the shelf at HPB, and we weren't exactly enthused about our choices). We put our suggestions in a random order and my pick (How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents) was selected first.

Maria and I also scored a great cookbook that was just too good of a deal to pass up. Martha Stewart's Martha's American Food cookbook was originally priced at a whopping $50, but became $12.99 with literally any purchase you made. A gorgeous, 432-page cookbook full of America's most beloved recipes is a STEAL at that price. I'm already drooling over the desserts section. This entire book screams "COMFORT FOOD!"

It's barely Monday and I've already spent my weekly budget. Whoops!

Though I had a marvelous weekend, I'm really looking forward to the upcoming work week. First of all, the weather is supposed to be warm and rainy (my favorite!) and I'm looking forward to running without the pressure of a looming race. Clayton's got some exciting things going on in his bearded world and in addition to a mid-week cookout with our friends, I'll be making my coaching debut in our first 8 and Under fast pitch softball practice on Wednesday.

Did you have a good weekend? What do you have going on this week?

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