Tuesday, March 25, 2008

2008 March Madness Half Marathon

March Madness Half Marathon
March 16, 2008

I ran my sixth March Madness Half Marathon a little over a week ago. My training has been pretty sporadic since the Chicago Marathon, mostly due to injury, as I finally decided to take the time to treat my sciatica problems (aka PITA) that have been plaguing me for the better part of a year. So, my goal for this race was to have fun and get out there to see others running the race.

I arrived to the race about an hour ahead of time with Brian and Paul (thanks for the ride, Paul!). We walked over to the gym to pick up our packets and then went back to the car to keep warm. The temps were in the upper 20’s and breezy. After a little bit we went back to the gym and looked around for others. Kevin stopped to say hi and to say Janeth was warming up, and then we spotted Jim, whom Paul was planning on running with. We headed over to the start line with about 10 minutes to spare. Brian and I were planning on running together and we lined up towards the back. Brian had run 20 muddy miles at Clinton Lake the day before, so he was treating this as an easy recovery run for him. We then saw Michael, exchanged good luck wishes with him, and waited as the race started shortly thereafter.

After about 40 seconds, Brian and I crossed the starting line and began our race. I warned him that this race is a “fast runner” race, and that crowds are pretty sparse in the 10-11mpm range. My plan was to make sure that we didn’t run too fast in the early miles, which is tempting as we saw the mass of runners leaving us in the dust ahead. Brian looked behind us and noted that there were maybe about 10-15 runners there. I knew that there would be plenty more behind us once we warmed up and sped up a little in the later miles. The first two went by in 10:56 and 10:58.

Once we turned onto Hickory Nut Grove, Brian mentioned that he wanted to hit the restroom at mile 2.5, so he decided to run ahead and would catch up with me after that point. My legs weren’t quite warmed up yet so I was a little concerned he would run too far ahead, stop at the restroom, and then run ahead before I even got there, so I decided to speed up a little and keep an eye on him to make sure that I didn’t lose him. Mile 3 passed by a bit faster in 10:36, and Brian caught up with me just after the bend. On this stretch there was another runner who was doing a very frequent walk/run sequence and was leap-frogging with us every minute or two, which was actually a bit distracting. I told Brian that we should speed up to pass her. I think she slowed a little, since we didn’t do much to lose her in the next mile. Miles 4 and 5 went by in 11:00 and 10:28. Mile 6 at 11:27 was a bit slower but there was also a pretty sizable hill and I think we were trying to adjust for the faster previous mile.

It was around this time that I started to feel foot pain that I actually experienced on and off since our ChiADeads training run on that same course on February 23. It was a dull ache that started on the outside of the foot and radiated towards the inside, all in the mid-foot area. It wasn’t bad enough to stop running, so I kept going and tried to focus on other things. Overall I was having a fun time running with Brian and enjoying the sunny (albeit still chilly) day. We started to speed a bit and were passing quite a few people, especially on the uphills. Miles 7, 8, and 9 went by in 10:33, 10:16, and 9:55, respectively. Not bad!

In spite of the lingering foot pain, I was still feeling pretty good. Then we got to the big hill at 9.5 and powered up that, leaving about 10-15 runners (all except one of whom were walking) in the dust. :-) With that hill and the water station (Shot Blok break for me), the split was slower at 10:54. The next mile was 10:34…and only two miles to go!

As we turned onto Mink from Rawson Bridge, my foot felt a bit worse and took me a little by surprise. Ugh! We had to slow down a little on this stretch and saw mile 12 with a 10:43 split. By then I was in the zone and wanted the race to be done at that point because of the foot pain (didn’t want to make things worse), so we sped up and the pain stabilized as the endorphins kicked in. ;-) We got back onto Three Oaks and pushed harder, see mile 13’s 9:57 (good!) and push towards the finish. Brian, always the gentleman :-), let me go through the finish chute first -- one of the very few times I have/will finish ahead of him in a race! -- with a finish time of 2:19:12 (officially 2:19:52). Not a PR, but a solid, well-executed effort nonetheless! We met up with Paul and Jim near the finish and congratulated them on their PR performances. It looks like everyone had a great race, as later on in the gym, I found out that Michael got a PR and that Janeth won overall female! Great job, guys!

Afterwards we met up at Panera Bread for a post-race lunch. Then Paul drove me and Brian home. After the race I was limping a bit, so I iced my foot, took some ibuprofen and then took a nice, long nap. :-)

My next race is the Shamrock Shuffle, but I won’t be racing it. Since I’ll be running with Brian in the last 10 miles of the Clinton Lake 30 miler the day before, I have a hunch my legs will be a bit sore from all the hills. It should be a fun-filled weekend!


Anonymous 3/25/2008 4:57 PM  

Congratulations on your well executed race and thank you for controlling my urges to run too fast. I needed to recover from the previous day's 20 miler and running with you made it all the more enjoyable.

RunBubbaRun 3/25/2008 8:14 PM  

Congrats at the half Mary. Definetly a fast crowd out there.

But glad you had fun, that is what it is all about..

Hope your foot is better.

I guess I will see you at Clinton on the trails for a little bit.


Paul Clement 3/25/2008 8:16 PM  

Nice job on the race report Kelly. You kind of jogged my memory on a few things I experienced during my own part of the race.

You did quite well considering the running injuries you've been dealing with. I anticipate the warmer weather will help get you back up to speed in the coming months, especially on the longer runs, where your potential is a little bit better than mine.

RunnerGirl 3/25/2008 9:43 PM  


Great report and congrats on your sixth March Madness Half.

I'm glad the foot issue didn't turn into something really bad.

Did I not say that the ninth mile is fast on this course?!! :-) Good thing cuz nothing after that is easy.

I really enjoyed that day and being with you all makes it that way!

Till Shamrock....


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