The longest race that I competed this year was the Fox
Cities Half marathon. The Fox Cities is my local big race whether it is a half
or full marathon. Even being totally out of shape I knew I had to do it this
year. I had a lot of friends running it and also my home town was being
featured on the medal. Needless to say that I did the race. So I thought I
would do a little race review of it to wrap up the races from the summer.
Believe it or not this is the fourth time I have run in this
Fox Cities race series. It’s hard to believe that I have been trying to do this
running stuff for that long now. The race was not as I had planned it many
months ago but it was still one I had to do no matter what shape I was it. Way
back in the spring a handful of us at work decided to run in the Fox Cities.
Most selected the half marathon to do this year and not repeat the full
marathon as most had done last year. For this year a coworkers was looking at
pushing herself and to jump from the 5k to the half. I promised her that I
would be there with her the entire way from training to the finish line. So we
were all happy about the fall when we would run the race together. I was also
hoping that helping her train would keep me on track as well.
Well most of you know the story after that. Between work,
life and a general funk not a lot of training was done on my end. A couple of
times I did go out and do some half marathon training runs that were set up by
a local running club. I made the distances easily but it was purely walking. My
coworkers all were putting in the real training and getting into great shape
for the race. I kept thinking I would snap out of the funk and at least get into
some sort of shape but I didn’t have the physical time once I got work and life
in a better balance. So before I knew it I was standing there as I had done a
few times before waiting for the horn to sound to start the race.
As in years past the start of the race was at 7am. For late September
the mornings can be and are brisk. Most people have jackets and or heavier gear
on. But more serous runners certainly are in shorts and a singlet as well.
Compared to last year when I did the full marathon I didn’t really fear the
course and the unknown. I had done the half at the Fox two times before and
knew the sections well. I moved to the back and talked to myself about not
pushing it this year. I knew that I was way out of shape; the heaviest I had
even ran in a race and had not trained at all for this race. I knew I had to go
with whatever pace I could and simply do the best I could. From moment one that
is exactly what I did. I took a good steady and relaxed walking pace and just
enjoyed the morning and the race.
To some degree the race seemed different this year. No big
fanfare or even family there to cheer me on. It was one where I came to survive
and just get across the finish line. I even changed up my breakfast routine due
to this slower pace. I ate a fairly normal breakfast of yogurt, granola and
some Hammer Heed. I packed as well a bottle of Hammer Heed for the race. With
this approach I actually felt really good during the race. No real spikes in
energy and I did drink a fair amount of water as well. I had taken some energy
chews and other food with me to do an in race product review but never felt
like I needed them.
For much of the race I turned on my Nano and listened to a
handful of podcasts that I was behind on. First some running related ones and
then cycling related ones. It seemed strange to be listening to someone talking
about cycling in the middle of a half marathon. As the day went on I discovered
as I always do that I was way over dressed. The day began in the 30’s but would
be in the 60’s by the time I finish. So my Under Armor cold weather gear was
slowly being peeled off and wrapped around me. By the time I finished I looked
like I had completely different clothes on as I was down to my base layer. For
the finish I did want to finish strong. Having walked the entire race I wanted
to at least run it in to the finish. About the last quarter to half a mile I
started to jog and then run it in. It was nice to at least appear to have tried
for the race. I came in at roughly 3:40 for the race. Very slow for even me.
But I figured that I was smart not to push it this year with the extra weight.
Not a big deal to be that slow. Months ago I had hoped that I would break at least
2:30 if not 2:15 at this race. A new PR for me if that would have happened. But
I ended up with a new PR on the other end of the scale.
As for my co-worker she was there to welcome me to the
finish line. Another co-worker had picked up the role of pacer months ago and
did a great job bringing her to the finish of her first half marathon. If I
remember correctly she came in around 2:15 for the half. What a great job! I am
so proud of her and all that she has accomplished this year. Which reminds me
that she had the spotlight on her for the entire race as well. Why you ask? Due
to her weight loss and motivational story of becoming healthier and fit she was
selected as one of the “Women of the Race”. She got to wear a special pink
singlet during the race. An even with all of this going on she was classy
enough to wait for another hour and a half for my slow backside to finish. What
a friend to have. I feel so bad that I let her down like I did. But friendship
work in mysterious ways. So thank you once again for being there at the finish.
Some people have asked if I will do this race again next
year. The answer for the moment is most likely yes. It is kind of the home
course major race and I do enjoy it and know a lot of people associated with
it. So yes, I think I will run one of the races next year. I mean really run
one of them next year to see what I can truly do. But after that I don’t know
if it will be a regular one on the calendar. Some other races that I would love
to do are held on that same weekend. So maybe in the future I’ll give some of the
others a try.