Monday, May 5, 2014

The Novi Half Marathon--

Who decides to run a race less than 24 hours before the race starts? That would be this girl. I had been going back and forth about races for this last weekend for a couple months. I had really wanted to do the Hightail to Ale downtown, Run with the Cops, not from them and the Novi Half. For some reason I just kept putting it off. Hightail to Ale sold out (and I am still mad at myself about this one) and the weather was icky so I skipped Run with the Cops but I wanted to run.

Saturday morning I talked to my mom and we decided to head out to South Lyon and see if we could still sign up for the Novi races (Half and 10K). Kona running company was running this so I knew it would be well run. I am not in love with the repeat square medals but this one was cute. My plan was if the half was sold out, I would go for the 10K for time for Wine & Dine placement.

Well, luck was on my side and I was able to get in for the Half (mom went with the 10K since it fit in her training plan). Now, I had not planned this well. I didn't know a lot about the course, what was going to be available on the course or even the area. I was just going to run for fun and not worry about time.

We got there early and were able to park right at South Lyon East High School so no need for the shuttle bus. We got ready, went inside to use the bathroom and then it was time for me to head to the start line. I got there as they were talking and it was neat to hear that a local athlete was trying to qualify for the Olympic team. He needed a 1:04 half time, YEP 1:04, that beats my 10K time!!

I got lined up and somehow I thought I was further back than I was. About 1/2 mile in I realized I had not used my inhaler and I did not even have it with me. Oops, this was not good but it was cool, no humidity and it wasn't like I had a lot of choice so I pushed on. The beginning of the race was on road but moved quickly to packed dirt roads. I knew some of the course was like this and I also knew that the rain had made potholes but I was not ready for how it was. The roads were in bad shape though Kona did a good job of marking bad spots and it was not a problem for me, not ideal but not an issue and it did not last too long.

At mile 1 I looked at my watch and realized I had just done an 8:45 mile. Another oops, I have never done a mile in under 9 minutes and I still had 12.1 more to go. I was in trouble. At this point I switched to intervals since I knew I had to slow down. I stuck to a mix of 5:1 and 2:1 based on where I was on the course. There were some cramped areas on the sidewalks but not too bad.

Overall I did not love the course. The paved parts were through neighborhoods around Island Lake which just didn't do a lot for me. There were some people out but not many and it was boring. I was just focused on me. At the 10K mark I realized I was at 1:04!! 1:04? WHAT, if I had done the 10K it would have been a PR. I was kicking myself a little but I had another half of the race to go.

Now, with hydration I have been trying to cut down on how often I stop for water. I skipped the first 2 stops since they were really close to the start. By mile 6 I realized that I had not had any Nuun which was supposed to be on the course. Not sure how I missed it but I got a small cut and kept going. At Mile 8 we got back on the dirt roads and I actually preferred this part of the course even though it was HARD on me.

At mile 10 I realized I had a great chance to PR. This was not what I had set out to do but I was super excited. I will say the rough roads took a lot out of me but as we hit the paved road to head back to the high school and the finish I knew I could do it!!!

I finished strong and came in at 2:23:36!!! I beat my Detroit Women's Half time by 3 full minutes and this was a harder course. I got my medal and headed back across the field to grab some water, a banana, a cookie and to head home.

Overall this was not my favorite race. I think I am spoiled with races with perks. GU on the course, Sports Drink at every stop (or every other one), entertainment on the course, even a better medal instead of one that looks a lot like the ones from other Kona races. I mean it was not horrible but I guess I just expected more and I am not even sure what I wanted. I just know when I left Niagara Falls Women's Half, RunTheBluegrass and the Detroit Women's Half, I felt special and like I had a great time (this is even taking Disney Races out of the mix). I could not stop talking about them and I was eager to sign up again. This one just left me blah though I am over the top excited about my PR!!!

I know the speed work is helping and I am ready to get better! Now time to take it easy before my first 25K on Saturday!!

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