Arrived in Mt. Pleasant about 8 PM Friday evening. Winds gusting up to 40 mph, temps in the upper 30s, little sister ready to accompany me on my 3 miler (thanks Garbo!). Toughness or as some may say stubbornness runs in the family because neither of us were going to back down from the crazy wind and retreat to her basement ‘mill. About a mile in she asks me if we keep on at this pace (10:15-10:30) would I mind going 5 (she had 5 on her schedule)? Hahaha! I said sure, why not? I love running with her and we don’t get to run together too often, so why not? At times we were running so “fast” yet barely moving forward. It was funny, but we were having a good time, so whatever wind. . .
Saturday morning – 7AM alarm goes off and I hear my little niece crying. I get her up and give her some kisses. WAY too cute! I just love spending time with her. With my race start not til 10 it gave me plenty of time to relax and wake up. Had some peanut butter on toast and a few swallows of coffee and soon it was time to make the 5 minute drive to the race start. So convenient and stress free.
With temps in the mid to upper 20s and wind at about a constant 15-20 mph it felt like 15-20 degrees, I went with my capris, short sleeve tech tee, Brooks jacket, and my wind mitts. The sun was shining brightly and I was worried about overheating, so I figured the capris would help in that department and I could always unzip the jacket a bit. My clothing choice for this race was tough, but knowing just how brutal and chilly the Mt. Pleasant wind can be, I stuck with the jacket and in the end I was glad I did.
The race course was the same as the Snowman that I ran in January, shaped like a “T.” You run down, to the left, turn around, to the right, turn around, back up, and then a bit of winding roads until you turn toward the finish. After a few words from the race director, a siren from the bullhorn, we were off. I crossed the “start line” (crack in the pavement of the parking lot) about 6 seconds later. It was hard not to get swept up in the lead pack, but since the race is not chip timed I didn’t want to be too far back either. It took a minute or so, but thanks to some ice on the sidewalk I settled into my goal pace of 8:30 (Thanks Bangle). Mile 1 – 8:28
I was having a difficult time keeping my pace down and not “chasing” after people in front of me. I kept reminding myself to “RUN YOUR RACE.” Since several people were running the 5K and 10K as well, clearly they were going to be going faster than me. It was a battle but, I perservered with mile 2 coming in at 8:31.
Up until this point, the wind hadn’t been an issue. That would all change upon turning onto Lincoln. It was here I was greeted by Mr. Wind, not completely in my face head on but, kind of. A pleasant greeting of 20 mph, which I thought, “Sweet, the last few miles the wind will be at my back. Right now it is my friend and it will help me keep my pace down.” I found a pack of people to tuck in behind (thankfully going my pace) and it was here I stayed for most of mile 3 and mile 4 – 8:26 and 8:30
I was feeling pretty good up to this point, in spite of the wind. Tucking behind the group had worked well so far and I stuck with them a while longer, but they were beginning to fade and I had to make a move to stay on pace. After all my goal was to RUN MY RACE right? So, I made my way past them shortly after turning right onto Walton. It was here I was greeted with a reprieve from Mr. Wind. With the wind at my back from Mile 4.5 – Mile 5.5 or so and the boost of seeing the leaders coming in the opposite direction, I had one of my fastest splits of the day. Of course, I got back on track once I was back running into the wind, seemingly head on. Miles 5 and 6 – 8:14 and 8:27
My plan was to try to pick up the pace a bit at this point of the race, but the wind was so strong that I thought sticking to 8:30s would be okay too. I couldn’t believe how loud the wind was. I could barely hear a thing. I knew mile 7 contained the only steepish climb on the course. Not a tough hill, but with the wind coming at you, well. . . let’s just say at least this time it was easier than when it was covered in icy, snowy slushiness. Just KEEP SWIMMING!!! Even effort, don’t waste too much effort on keeping the pace down or else you risk a crash and burn. Mile 7 – 8:45
Knowing the turn around and a break from the wind was coming soon, I kept with the even effort (8:30 effort) and put my head down and gritted it out. If I could just keep this up, I had the PR in the bag. It was here where I was contemplating my strategy from this point. I decided to see how I felt at mile 8, having the wind at my back again for almost a half mile. I figured a half mile would give me a chance to recover from the wind a bit. Mile 8 – 8:28
That half mile wasn’t nearly enough to help me “catch my breath,” but I knew that making the turn back onto Lincoln the wind would be mostly at my back, so maybe at mile 9 I could pick it up slowly, perhaps 8:25, 8:20, 8:15, then an all out last 1.1? Getting excited about executing this plan and an impending PR, perhaps even a sub 1:50 I pressed on. Sadly, as I turned onto Lincoln I was greeted yet again by Mr. Wind. What??? Welcome to Mt. Pleasant! Home of the Ever Changing Wind! Okay, I made that up, but it fit today. Mile 9 – 8:36
Just when I wanted to pick it up, my body was starting to struggle. The wind was taking it’s toll and seemed to just keep getting stronger. Relax, relax, relax is what I kept repeating. Thankfully, a couple barns and a house blocked the wind for a minute, but this was my slowest mile of the day. Battling the wind for Mile 10 – 8:51
I had to pick up the pace. I couldn’t falter now. Wind or not, Mile 11 would be faster than Mile 10. Seriously, only a 5K to go. Time to toughen up. About 3/4 of a mile before I would get another reprieve from the wind. Once the turn onto Deerfield was in sight, I picked it up, made the turn and came in Mile 11 at 8:45.
Feeling stronger and knowing only 2.1 to go, I picked up the pace here. I caught up to a guy that had passed me in the previous race at mile 4. He says, “Still got that cough, huh?” I laughed and we chatted a bit. I stuck with him for a bit, but his pace started to falter. I still had to RUN MY RACE. I bid him good luck and was off. Mile 12 – 8:14
Just need to stick with this pace for 1.1 or go a little faster and I just might get my sub 1:50. Not a problem as I’m feeling good. Of course, 20 mph at your back is a help. I was hoping that I was done with the wind battles for the day at this point, as we were getting closer to CMU’s campus, so the buildings in theory should break the wind a bit. Well, not so much. Mile 13 sadly was NOT faster than Mile 12, but the effort was equal if not more. Dang wind! Mile 13 – 8:24
The last .1 I gave it all I had left. I could see the FINISH banner. PR in the bag, but not the sub 1:50. I was happy though. I had RAN MY RACE! I had stuck with my plan. In spite of the wind, I had ran a methodical, well planned race. I crossed the finish clock time of 1:51:17, Garmin (Chip) Time – 1:51:11. A PR by almost 2 minutes!
To my surprise, not only had my sister, BIL, and niece Celine came to the finish, but so had a couple of my BIL’s brothers. Hugs all around to celebrate my PR! I was SO ECSTATIC!!! Mostly, proud of myself for running a smart race and not getting derailed by anything to the point of falling off course. I may not have won my age group or any award or a free pair of shoes in the raffle, but I came away with a well earned, shiny new PR!
Post race, I enjoyed a $5 off coupon (passed out at the finish line) for Tropical Smoothie, where I enjoyed a peanut butter/banana/chocolate smoothie and a grilled flatbread peanut butter/granola/honey/banana sandwich. Yummy!!!
Then it was off to shower and help my sister clean up for her house showing. Yeppers! I ran a pikermi AND helped my sister clean her house. Her and my BIL paid me for my help by buying me dinner at the Cabin though. Cabin Sticks (little cheese filled bread pieces) and a Greek Veggie Pizza. Yummy!!! I couldn’t have asked for a better day. I’m still basking in my PR glow, but next time I’m going to get that sub 1:50! You can bet on it!