The third installation of the Winter Warrior Series was on the 11th of March. For the first time, I managed to convince G to drive up and watch the race with me so I was overly excited. It was nice having the first two as a “mini-getaway” for me; but since I turned 24 on the 9th, I told him all I wanted for my birthday was him to see one of my half marathons. Thus, hungover and tired from the celebration the night before, we began our journey up to CMU Saturday evening.
We arrived at O’Kelly’s Sports Bar right at the end of packet pickup. G waited in the car while I ran in to grab everything I needed. This time, for the final race of the series, we received rather nice Jerzee sweatshirt along with our Muddog pint glass. I was happy the sweatshirt ended up being nicer than I expected as well! Anyone from Michigan knows that once March comes along, it could be 25 and snowing at 6am but by 4pm it is 80 and sunny. As the week leading up to the half marathon predicted anywhere from 20-40 degrees F, I packed for the warmer end of the spectrum. Hoping that incase it did drop below freezing, the sweatshirt would be warm enough to race in.
By the time we checked in and were settled in at the Marriott, it was 8:30 pm. Being the great partner I was, I brought enough spaghetti, ground turkey, and edamame for G and I to share for dinner. Racing, especially as much as I am doing this year, can really take a toll out of your pocket, so I try to cut corners as much as possible to keep the cost down. G, however, wanted Chipotle, so I was settled in eating my packed dinner he ran out to pick up a burrito bowl. When he got back, I could hardly keep my eyes open I was so tired from the shenanigans of my birthday the night before. I ended up falling asleep at 9:30 pm to whatever movie G chose on Netflix.
I woke up the next day right at 7:20 am, which really was 6:20 am since the time change occurred the night before, and began getting dressed. Last month, at the Ice Cube Half, I PRed at 02:06:16. This time, I was planning on taking the course at a nice and easy pace. I wanted this one to be a “training” run. The nice part about having G with me meant I didn’t have to scramble to pack all of my things up before the race. Instead, I piled everything in a corner, woke G up to remind him that he MUST be outside the Marriott at 9 am to see my start, then headed to the start line at 8:30 am.
Since this was a “training” run, I planned to start the first mile at a 10:00minute mile time. Then fall back into a comfortable pace for me at 10:30. The start gun went off and I began to approach the Marriott, I was looking at all the people standing outside and couldn’t spot G. Anyone who knows him knows that he is a chronic “sleep inner” so I wasn’t going to be too upset if because the time change, he couldn’t wake up on time. As I rounded the corner to where the front entrance was, G came sprinting out the door. Perfect timing. He gave me a few claps and cheers while I passed by then headed back in to prepare for his 2-mile run.
I did a great job sticking to my running plan. Mile 1 was right around 9:54, and then miles 2 through 5 came in at the 10:30 pace. Going into mile 6 I could feel myself getting faster again, when the mile finished, it was at 9:58. Not a “bad time” but a bad time for when I was trying to keep this a constant easy pace. To try to slow down, I walked for a bit at mile 7 and began chatting with a fellow runner. We began talking about how I recently moved and she was giving me the details about all the places I needed to try and what running store has the best running club. This brought my pace back to a 10:30 pace, but then it was all downhill (or uphill?) from there. Miles 8 through 13 were anywhere from 9:12 to 9:48. I was feeling good and couldn’t stop myself from kicking it up a notch.
By the time I finished, G was nowhere near the finish line. I told him that I was planning on finishing at 2hours and 30minutes. But instead, I finished in 02:09:13.5. Once again, I placed 3rd in my division! I called G to let him know that I was finished and to pick me up at O’Kelly’s. Since we had a long drive back, I didn’t want to use my free token on a congratulatory beer. Instead, I wanted to get the free bagel from Big Apple Bagels. But, since I placed 3rd in my division, I needed to wait around for my prize. This time, we got a bottle opener keychain; but most importantly, the race planners did bring all of the Snowmans Half divisional placing t-shirts that were not claimed from the first race. Thankfully, there was one medium left and I snagged it!
Happy Running! 🙂