I ran this race last year and during the race I vowed to never put myself through those torturous hills again. Well, I signed up for the same race again this year. Why? Well, it is challenging, hills make you stronger, and most importantly I believe that this race helped me to run my marathon in Detroit as well as I did. So. . . why not right?
Race morning, I get up, shower, eat a piece of toast with peanut butter, grab a bottle of water and I’m out the door right on time. That almost NEVER happens. I park and head in to get in the bathroom line. No line? I went and then chose to sit in a chair and relax. I had a hour or so before the start and it was chilly outside. Chilly by comparison to how it has been, about 50 and 20-30 mph wind gusts. I was SO sleepy. How was I ever going to run a 30K? After a few more trips to the bathroom, I stretched and headed out to the start line. Gun goes off right on time and off we went. My goal – 8:45 pace overall and not walk any of the hills.
Mile 1 – 8:40 – Slightly uphill to start. Wow! My legs feel really stiff. I hope they loosen up soon.
Mile 2 – 8:20 – Downhill mostly for this mile. This pace seems really easy. I’m loving this weather. It’s perfect!
Mile 3 – 8:23 – Heading through downtown and then the first couple big hills. Toward the end of the mile we start the climb.
Mile 4 – 8:39 – Uphill mostly. . . wow! Am I really still holding on to sub 8:45??? Thankfully, a downhill helped me to keep pace for the mile. On to the dirt/gravel/rocks. . .
Mile 5 – 8:39 – This mile was as flat as one could expect for this race and I was cruising along. The effort was not hard though. Plus, I was banking a little time for the almost 80 degree climb at the end of this mile.
Mile 6 – 9:00 – I didn’t walk up the big hill, but I certainly wasn’t running anywhere near my goal pace. Even the downhill toward the end of this mile didn’t get me below my goal pace of 8:45. But… I was totally okay with this. My legs felt better than I expected they would.
Mile 7 – 8:31 – Ah. . . rolling hills. The course is basically through a tunnel of trees. Thankfully, this tree cover helped keep the wind away for the most part. The weird thing was the wind through the leaves was so loud. I kept thinking there was a car or train coming up behind me. Crazy!
Mile 8 – 8:17 – More rolling hills and my legs have recovered from the big hill. I’m feeling great at this point, but still 12 1/2 miles to go. Lots of race left.
Mile 9 – 8:40 – The elevation chart shows that I was climbing for almost the entire mile, but it was quick up and downs as we climbed.
Mile 10 – 8:47 – Still climbing this mile too. More ups and downs. . . starting to take their toll, but I am still feeling good, just not as fast as I’d like.
Mile 11 – 8:32 – Ah, a fast downhill helped get me back down below goal pace. But, as with all downhills in this race there is an uphill to go with it.
Mile 12 – 8:14 – Woo Hoo!!! Compliments of a downhill for almost the entire mile!!! Feeling fast, but under control. Just riding the course. . . right back to town.
Mile 13 – 8:23 – A rolling hill in this mile too, running back behind the downtown area, back on the road. A welcome break to the gravelly roads under foot.
Mile 14 – 8:55 – Back on the dirt packed roads and surprise another climb. This one is killing me. Fight, Ang! You got this!
Mile 15 – 9:13 – Still climbing ever so slowly, though my effort is still there. Even the brief downhill bit didn’t help me to get back down to a sub 9. Not even close. . .
Mile 16 – 9:49 – Course levels off a bit and I took a bit of a walk break, maybe 15 seconds. I was back running, but my legs were struggling from the hills now and my back was starting to hurt too. Ouch!!!
Mile 17 – 8:58 – Thankfully, this was mostly downhill. My legs were still burning from the climbing, but slowly starting to feel like they might be able to hit my goal pace. . . or not.
Mile 18 – 8:53 – I see Milford Road!!! At this point, I knew I was going to PR and I was starting to recover from the hills on the back half of the course. Plus, I knew I had just a little further to go. Speeding up. . .
Last .66 – 5:12 (7:51 pace) – Making the turn onto Milford Road, back on the blacktop I picked up the pace. I knew I had just a little over a half mile left at this point and I was trying to keep an 8 minute pace. About 100 yds from the finish I kicked, causing my Bangle Pump to be a little lopsided. Official finish time – 2:42:20 (8:43 pace)!!!
Post Race rocked! In spite of the wind blowing and my teeth chattering, I enjoyed a beer and veggie burger before heading home. Then it was up north for a little family time.