Distance: 12.95 miles – Everyone had the course as short, annoying.
Pace: 6:59/mile per garmin, 6:54 per race results
Place: 14 / 796, 4/33 age group
Shiner, TX is a sleepy town of 2,000 or so people that is home to a fairly large brewery of the same name. Shiner! They brew a delicious fake bock and enough specialties and seasonal beers to make you take your shirt off and dance on the table singing “it’s raining men” – or so I’m told....by other people who aren’t me. So, when a few friends who live in Texas mentioned that the brewery was combining two of my favorite things (
As is usually the case with sleepy towns, Shiner is was far away from....everything. So, I stayed two hours away in Austin and hung out with a few friends – Steph, Lesley, and Tricia. It was essentially like an episode of real housewives of Austin, complete with too much drinking and leopard print bikinis.... not really sure what the girls where up to while I was doing all of that..... Anyway, we had a bit too much great wine and some just as amazing food. Just like it would say in the church bulletin: Good times and fellowship were had by all.
I was sitting on Santa’s lap kneeling down so you could see his face honest!!!
The sad thing? This was BEFORE wine
Ride ‘em cowboy
THIS is my kind of girl/guy ratio
Ok, this might have been AFTER wine. Maybe
After a day’s recovery and a solid 5 miler, Sunday morning found me driving 2 hours in POURING rain. Lightning, thunder, the works. In fact, I actually tweeted: “I’m so glad I’m driving to a half marathon in the pouring rain....said no one ever”. I had hoped that the rain would mean that it would cool off a bit and maybe provide a light breeze. Negative on both counts. The temps were around 70 and since it was still raining when I first got there, I’m going to assume that the humidity was around a billion percent.
The swag bag was actually really good for a small/mid sized race. We received a rubber pint glass, a dog tag style bottle opener, a Brooks technical tee, and a sexy hat. (Pictures later) Oh so very sexy.
Sexy and I know it
I need some fly fishing books under my arms or something
But, in spite of the humidity, since I haven’t raced in forever I knew that I had to at least TRY to go after it, so that is what I did. I ran a quick half mile warm up and lined up at the starting line.
The race started with a mix of 5K and half marathon runners, so I really tried to focus in on not going out too fast. Fortunately, the real fast 10 or so 5K guys bolted out front and left the 10 or so of us half marathoners to plod away. Unfortunately, in spite of not trying to go out too fast, the first mile or two WERE too fast. Probably 10 or so seconds a mile too fast. Which, doesn’t seem like a lot, but there were a number of uphills during that time so the effort was even faster. I was told I was running in 6th place around the 2.5 mile mark. That “feels” about right, and since I was on pace for a 1:25 at that time, I suppose based on the official results it is.
By mile 4, I knew that today wasn't going to be my day. I was pushing MUCH harder than I should have been for holding just barely goal pace which 1/3 of the way through ANY race is never a good sign. It didn't help that there was a pretty healthy uphill during this period (miles 5-6) that totally sucked the life out of me. We’d jump 100 ft up and then drop 50 feet – repeat more times that I would like to count. To add insult to injury, just as I was cresting one hill someone had written on the road "top of the hill!" - which would have been nice if there wasn't another right after it.
Right around the half way point, I packed it in and took a min long breather. (hence the drop in pace during miles 6 and 7.) The humidity was bad enough that I was soaked and the hills had totally sucked the life out of me. Of course, as I sit here trying to rationalize a walk break half way through a race, I know that there really isn't a GOOD excuse. I just packed it in.
As promised by the pre-race announcer, there was a dirt road section at mile 7 or 8 for a mile or so that at the same time provided some much needed diversion but also diverted my focus just enough that I couldn't capitalize on the slight downhill. I didn't lose too much footing because the massive rain had compacted the dirt just enough to provide good enough footing inbetween the golfball sized rocks that littered the course.
One thing that the pre-race announcer didn't mention was all of the extension cords across the road. I'll bet there were 50 throughout the 13 miles of the race. I'm convinced that one house in shiner has power and the rest are just plugged in via orange cord.
Oh, I'm going to have a DOOOOZY of a race pic. WHY WHY WHY do race photographers feel the need to sit at the top of a hill near the end of the race? Don't they know that while that may provide for the smallest crowds and the best picture, no one wants a picture of them grimacing like death!?
Anyway, these miles sucked. I had totally given up all hope for a good race and was essentially just getting round the course. Frustrating, but I suppose it happens. Note the 2 min walk break during mile 11 and the 30 second off pace mile during mile 12. Yay!
Overall, I’m very disappointed with a 1:30. Even though I walked a full 4 min during the race, it is probably 4-6 min slower than I am capable of running. Granted, the conditions were NOT ideal, and I didn’t race like I should have, (out a bit too fast, didn’t just pull back on the pace vs walking, re eval my goal as a result of the humidity) but I am not sure that I want to use those as excuses.
The good news is that since it WAS a beer run, there were not one but FOUR free beers waiting for you at the finish. Also, the race medal doubles as a bottle opener, which should be nice when I celebrate a massive PR at my next half marathon - the NewYearsDouble!
Free beer after a race is almost always worth waiting for