The Snowman Half certainly didn’t disappoint. There were a few additional inches of fresh snow, 20 degrees (give or take a few) and plenty of wind (15-20 mph is my best guess). It was TOUGH. I’d venture to say tougher than any marathon that I’ve ran so far. I blame this mostly on the wind and the uneven footing on country dirt roads. Both of those factors take a toll on you when you aren’t used to it. In addition, I really haven’t been putting in the miles by doing long runs lately, keeping to 6 miles or so for the most part. My expectations weren’t high as far as my performance. The plan was to give it what I had and see what happens.
As it turns out races like this bring out mostly the hardcore, really fast, BA runners. We are talking several sub 3 hour marathoners, which I discovered post race as the race director pointed out a few of them. Phew! Very impressive looking crowd of 76 of us running the half. I have to say that the laid back, small town feel of this certainly made it seem cozy and fun, not stressful and nerve racking. After a few announcements we headed out to the parking lot to a chalk line that marked the start and we were off. . .
Mile 1 – Wow! I’m going WAY too fast to keep this pace up, but this mile was mostly pavement so I knew that I would slow down soon as I got onto the dirt roads and the snow. 8:18
Mile 2 – Still some good footing for the first half mile or so. Wind in my face, but I am trying to find a good pace to settle into and then onto the snowy, dirt roads. 8:59
Mile 3 – Still running a bit into the wind and working on my footing in the snow. This usually takes me a little bit to get adjusted. As I turned the corner about mile 2.5 there was a little reprieve from the wind. At the mile marker, I grabbed a tiny bottled water, took a sip and stuffed it in my pocket 9:25
Mile 4 – Sort of annoyed by the water bottle in my pocket, but whatever. . . with the wind slightly at my back and right side, I settled into some tire ruts and enjoyed some of the scenery. Snowy white farm land for as far as I could see. 9:13
Mile 5 – With my first gel, I got a little boost of energy. I was adjusting to the footing and trying to get down to 9 min miles. With the help of some wind at my back at the 4.5 mile – 5 mile mark I ran this mile in 8:57.
Mile 6 – Getting to see the lead runners on their way back from the turnaround point at 5.5 or so was invigorating. Lots of “Looking Goods” were exchanged. I was trying to pick up the speed until I reach the turn and headed back into the wind. At the turn the wind nearly put me at a standstill. 9:20
Mile 7 – During this mile there was what appeared to be a small hill, but with the wind blowing into your face and snowy footing, this mile felt like my legs were working SO hard, but I was barely moving at all. Toughest mile of the day. 10:07
Mile 8 – Still battling, but encouraged by the other runners coming back after the turn at mile 7.5 or so. I knew I would get another reprieve from the wind if I could just keep pushing. I reminded myself to run based on effort, not focus on time. 9:58
Mile 9 – Took a gel here and enjoyed the wind at my back for a bit before making the turn to head back up the upside down “T” of the race course. Then it was wind slightly at my back, but mostly blowing at the left side of my face. I swapped my empty water bottle with a full one at mile 8.5, but drinking even a sip here or there was tough. The water seemed to turn to slush before it made it in my mouth. 9:20
Mile 10 – The wind was becoming exhausting again. My cheeks were frozen and my mitted hands were having trouble prying my ninja mask back up over my face. While struggling with getting my cheeks covered back up, I hear cheers from a car coming up behind me. It’s my sis, BIL and Celine! They tell me I’m looking good. I laugh and say something to the effect of “This wind (bad word) sucks! 9:25
Mile 11 – Only a little bit more of the wind in my face and I would be almost back to the pavement. Dig in here! Dig in! 9:23
Mile 12 – Only 2.1 to go! Time to try to pick up the pace. Spots of pavement and hard packed snow make footing a ton better. Never mind that my body is exhausted from battling the wind and my lower back is aching from the footing. Pick it up! 8:48
Mile 13 – I was trying to catch up to the guy about 200 yds in front of me, but he seemed to be enjoying the better footing as well. I couldn’t gain on him, but I kept trying. 8:51
Last .1 – Right around the corner and straight to the finish. I see my sis, BIL, and niece cheering me on. I dig with all I have left, which certainly isn’t much. :39 (7:53 pace).
I BP’d at the finish. 2:00:49 (9:14 pace) according to my Garmin and 2:00:51 clock time. I was VERY happy with my effort. I would’ve liked to have finished in under 2, but all in all I loved it! It was tough, the wind battles were hard, but I did it! One Winter Warrior Race in the books.
36th out of 76 – Overall
8th out of 35 – Women
3rd out of 6 – 29-34 Age Group