Monday, October 10, 2011

Climbing Up On Solsbrooksie Hill...

Who's idea was this anyway?  I blame the Crim foundation for packaging this race in with the Crim race and tempting us to sign up for both.  When it's spring/summer and you're in your tip-top shape of the season, it's no big deal to say "Yeah, another half-marathon after the Crim and just after your big whoop."  I'm no longer in that zone.

Jason and I got an early jump as to not repeat the rush of the Martian Race.  We left way too early.  I also didn't prepare for the 40 degree temperatures, and unless I wanted to run in a large green corduroy GAP coat, I thought I was just going to have to let my teeth chatter for 2 hours before the race.  Luckily the Brooksie Way's shirt was a nice red long sleeve shirt, so that just got added under the running ensemble, which was just a "Little Lebowski Urban Acheiver" t-shirt.  I guess I just expected it to warm up like every other day had.
Red LS "Tech" Shirt
Even with that, Jason and I were still finding excuses to duck into the heated tents, and spent a lot of time in the big tent where my wedding's DJ was playing lots of classic rock tunes.  We eventually went to the outside world 10 minutes before the race and lined up just behind the 10 min pace, and then we waited through about 40 minutes of announcements about the race being delayed before the race actually started.  There goes my body temperature...

Of course that never lasts long.  Even with it probably being 45 degrees now, it only takes about 1/2 of a mile before I'm actually accumulating a few sweat droplets on my brow, and by 3/4 they're starting to flow toward gravity's pull.  The first sweat of the race has begun, and now it's time for the traditional look-around.  Who's looking at me sweating already and giving me the traditional pity look like "oh honey, you're not gonna make it."  Uh huh...there it is.  It never fails.  Do not be alarmed, ma'am, this is a normal occurence.  I will  might be fine.

For the first 4 miles, Jason and I went side-by-side at a seemingly slowish pace.  The way we've slacked off, the goal of this one was to "just finish."  That goal didn't get much loftier as we were getting caught by Riley the drubbler, who is awesome, granted, but is not exactly moving at warp speed because he's also dribbling 3 basketballs.  So when a man at least twice your age can dribble 3 balls and catch you, it gets in your head a bit.

I wasn't making it much further in the state I was in, though, so the second we hit a line of trees, I warned Jason I needed a leak break and told him to keep on going so he wouldn't think I got hurt and stop.  Then as soon as I saw an opening, I was off the trail.  I wasn't going to make the 13 miles without one, so I decided to get it out of the way and lighten the load, rather than feel like I had a very large surgically implanted Capri Sun pouch in my lower abdomen for 5-6 more miles and then have to go anyway.  That's a first, ladies and gents.  Never in my history have I had a mid-race break to go shoot the pink pistol at nature's firing range.

With that out of the way, I did a nice hard push to catch back up to Jason, which took about 2 miles or so.  I still suspect he held back for me to get back up there, because I shouldn't have caught up that quick given how long my break had been.  Even with my break, we still had a nice 1:05:00 split going at the halfway point in the park.  We had a short conversation about picking it up to try to get under 2:00:00, but my knowledge of what was left to come pretty much quashed that train of thought.

That was probably wise in the end, too.  The whole rest of that race is like this...
Rochester Hills, Brooksie miles 7-13 (visual approximation)

I don't think there was another 1/2 mile of straight land after mile 8.  It was all up and down, with very little down.  Every time you get to the top of a hill, there's another one right in sight.  There were several times where I said to myself "I swear, if I get up above this one, and there's another hill, I'm just going to quit."  Every time, there was another hill, but there was no quit.  Back when we first started running, Jason and I would lie to each other about a hill being the "last hill" just to keep the other going.  He did it to me on the trails.  I did it to him on the Crim course at the Boo-Radleys when we did our first run on that.  Of course, when you say it aloud and other racers believe you, they don't seem to be as amused.  The hills never really actually ended.  Sorry we're liars, but we only really meant to lie to ourselves.  You should stop eavesdropping.  Besides, the place is called Rochester Hills for a reason, did you really think there would only be 3 hills?

"Then it's not just a clever name..."
Even with a few of the hills in there being murder and almost making us want to stop, we talked after the race about this point being somewhat of a morale builder.  We've totally blown our training, but we were over halfway through and, even with all the hills, we knew at this point we were still going to make it.  We knew it so much that Jason and I allowed ourselves to be talked into a beer along the way about mile 8 or 9.  After that beer, we were a little less convinced, but we shook that off and, all-in-all, I was probably wrongly convinced that it helped me.  Another new thing to put on the list...first "during beer" ever.  Whatever, we were just having fun at this point.  Imagine that, having fun at a half-marathon while complaining how little you've done and how out of shape you are.  Who would have ever thought we'd see that day?

A couple 10 or 20 (5?) or so more "last hills" and we were done.  We both made a nice charge at the end to make sure that the front-runner speedwalker guy wasn't going to beat us (those hills really gave him the advantage at the end) and finished about a second apart.  We didn't feel like hanging out long, and I had places to be (church, family, friend's going away party).  So we left almost immediately after, got on the shuttle bus back to the parking lot (a real nice touch by the race to save our legs, I might add), and drove home. 
First time running over 10 miles and not sweating through ALL of my shirt

It was a great race, and it was a challenging one as well.  I'm glad it's over, though.  There won't be anything over a 10K from here out, and I'm good with that.  I'm also good with the 2:14:24, which, for the record is better than the goal I set to beat the DxA2 time, which I honestly in my heart-of-hearts knew I couldn't do, but still did.  Not as good as the Panda time, but that was in the dark on a totally flat course, and I wasn't expecting a miracle. 
Medal # uhh... who knows?

I skipped the Big House Big Heart to go to an orchard and pick pumpkins and have cider and doughnuts, but I'm sure I'll do the tailgate challenge this weekend.  I'm skipping Turkey Trot Detroit out of spite for them screwing my shirt situation last year, and will probably stay in Flint for the local one.  Other than that, don't expect too much from me.  I still have two goals on the board, including finishing a double loop on the Crim course and running a race out of state.  I doubt either will happen, but I will let you know if I manage to get a clean slate.  It could happen...

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