I woke up very early on Saturday morning. Chris picked me up at 4:45AM to drive out to the Lake Country Half Marathon. We drove through the dark and fog and started out 5 mile warm up, yes 5 mile warm up, at 5:47AM. It was still dark so we took a less traveled road to avoid all the cars coming to the race. Nothing destroys a race like getting hit by a car before it.
We ran the 5 miles really slow. I met up with Greg before the race began at 7:00AM. He was psyched for his first half marathon. The temps were cool at the start and the sun was coming up, no clouds and maybe upper 50's. The horn goes off and so do the rest of the 800+ half marathoners.
I was there to pace Greg but also get a good workout in with tired legs as I ran lots of miles this week including 14 the day before. The first mile was right on track at 9:02 and mile 2 was good as well at 9:06. Greg wanted to start this pace and then pick it up. There was no problem with Greg but there certainly was with me. 2 miles into the race and my legs were D E A D. I just couldn't keep up any good pace and I knew this wasn't going to be a help to Greg so i told him to go ahead and have a great race and I would try to catch up with him later. This was going to be a real problem since I could hardly keep any pace. I took a nice walk break and then another friend of mine, Wendy, passed me. We spoke for a bit and then she left ahead of me. I continued to walk a bit and then jog slowly as I was passed by lots of people. At this point in time, I was really contemplating jogging back to the start line and calling it a day. I convinced myself to keep going as this was a training run, not a race and my goal all week was to tire the legs out beforehand. I just didn't realize they would be THIS tired and dead.
Mile 3 was a whopping 10:15 but felt much slower. After mile 3, my legs suddenly felt a little better and I could get back to running. I wasn't going to let mile 3 keep me from finishing. I was amazed and completely surprised and how I was able to turn it around. I think it must have been the extra walk during mile 3 but as the miles went on, the legs felt better, yet still tired. Miles 4-12 were all sub 9:00 and I was passing people left and right. I kept looking ahead for Greg but didn't see him. This was good news as it means he was having a good race.
I got the mile 12 and took my last walk break and water and wondered if I could maybe break 8:00 for the final mile. I kept pushing it and faster I got. Mile 13 was was 7:58! I kept flying toward the finish and finished in 1:55:54. I still didn't see Greg but found him at the finish. He had run a 1:52 for his first half marathon. He was happy. Chris finished good as well. He took 16th overall in 1:23, a major PR for him. I am quite happy with how I ran considering the week. If I can react this way when I have tired legs in a race, all will be great. We will see in the coming months.
The race course here ranks #2 on my list for most beautiful courses I have run. We ran through nice neighborhoods and past many views of Lac La Belle. Crowds were sparse along the way but those who were out were cheering. In case you want to know what #1 is, it is the Twin Cities Marathon. This is a nice course with a few hills but nothing big. A nice mix of flat with hills mixed. I would definitely recommend this race to others.