Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Breaking it down in Birmingham! Mercedes Half Marathon Race Report

After my successful 14 mile run at an 8:22 pace I collectively kept thoughts in the back of my mind for the Mercedes Marathon/Half marathon on Feb 15. There were 8 others going down - so there was no doubt it was sure to be a GOOD time. 6 of them planning to do the full and 2 to do the half. So, the plan was -- just in case I decide that I wanted to go to Birmingham and shoot for a half marathon PR, I'd need to run around 10 miles on the Friday before. That's exactly what I did. Starting the week off with a hard core swim class on Monday, a 5 mile run on Tuesday, another run on Wednesday, a trainer ride on Thursday and Friday I met the group at 4:15am and they did 12 miles and I did 10. Somehow I managed to once again crank out an 8:22 pace for the 10 miles in 1:23. It was then that I planned to do Mercedes half. I planned this specifically shooting for a PR, which would mean that I'd need to break my 2006 Memphis half mary time of 1:55. I kept saying I was really going for a 1:50 though. I wanted a 1:50. After doing the math, better than a 1:50 was totally out of reach for me. I knew a 1:50 would be pretty darn painful.... but I wanted it.

So the following week I kinda tapered down a little and did two 5 mile runs, swim class on Monday and Wednesday night, Advanced spin class on Tuesday night and nothing on Friday or Saturday. Saturday the plan was that all of us runners met in town at 12 noon and headed to the 'ham. It was a fun ride down - flew by!! Tim can drive the fastest 72mph that I've ever seen. We got to the expo and I got registered, etc... we shopped around for awhile and then headed back to the hotel where my parents met us! :-) About an hour later we all decided dinner was in order. We headed to Olive Garden for a valentines/pre-race pasta feast. It was fantastic!!

I think I got in bed around 11 that night. Not ideal but about par for my course. Alarm went off at 5:15am... oh my... I'm tired. I got up around 5:45am and got dressed, ate an oats and honey bar, drank 2 cups of water and off to the lobby we go! Everyone converged, chit-chatted, took a few pics & headed to the start line.

The start line was cool. They were playing U2's "Where the Streets have no Name." All nine of us high-fived each other, wished each other luck, said our goodbyes and off we go!!! "BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP........BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.........BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP" The chips were ringing - my GOSH that is a beautiful sound!! MUSIC TO MY EARS!!!! :-) Gives me chills just thinking about it. I ran with Tim & Lee for about the first half mile, then Tammie, Holly & Jonathon until about mile 4. Then I was on my own - just me and the asphalt and the other bad asses huffing and puffing all around me trying to beat an 8 min pace. I was feeling great. I saw my parents again and they were cheering loud!!! It was so fun to have them there! My first 3 miles was 23 min & change. I took water at mile 3 water station. Water again at mile 5. Mile 6 I was feeling a bit uncomfortable. My 10K split time was 48:56. 7:54 pace overall. Hmmm... that tells me I have some time in the bank for a 1:50. However - anything can still happen. Mile 7 I took powerade. I was needing it - I could tell. Mile 8 - I felt like sh%t. I was really noticing the intensity of the pace I had been running. I was wondering if I would even make it!!! So I took a GU. Vanilla. I remembered Lana saying you MUST chase them with water or the stomach will reject. So I chased with H20 and thought "If this doesnt work a miracle I am toast. I have pushed too hard" I kept noticing prior to this on my garmin I was hitting several 7:45's. Right around mile 9.5 I suddenly found some life!!! My 10 mile time was exactly 1:20.I believe that is exactly an 8 min pace overall. I knew that the week prior I had run 10 miles in 1:23. It was encouraging to know I still had time in the bank for the 1:50! I felt somewhat decent but then at mile 11 I felt really rough again. But hey - it's mile 11!! You still gotta push. Do not give up now! I felt like I was stomping a few times - the hills were plentiful! The downhills were almost just as hard on me. I passed up the last water stop at mile 12 and went all out for the finish line!! I could hear the crowds, I could hear the announcer & I was PUMPED! I turned it on!!! This was it - right here! Get on your horse... I spotted my dad on the left side of the finish line and found my mom. Total finish time - 1:45:16. Wow! I was so shocked and SOOOO happy! :-) I never thought a 1:45 was in my reach. That is an overall pace of 8:03. Of course I'd like for my overall pace to start with a "7" but I'll take that 8:03 all day long!

After the race I hung around for a few minutes watching others finish, then mom and I went to the hotel room and I took about a 40 minute HOT shower! She fixed me some coffee and had it waiting on me when I got out! It was OH so good because I was FROZEN! I headed back down to the finish line just in time to see my peeps finish the full. They are all so awesome!!! These times are approximate. Jonathan did a 3:31, Holly J did a 3:44, Lee did a 3:46, Tim did a 3:52, Tammie did a 3:54, and Heather did a 4:11. Great races for all of them!!! Amazing! John D and Jay B also did the half with me - John pumped out a 1:54 & Jay brought it home with a 2:01!

When all of our guys got in, Dad and I headed to the free lunch/free beer party, then back to the hotel to pack up and come home! It was such a fun weekend and my 1:45 half mary time made it that much sweeter!

Monday when the final results were posted I saw that I had finished 27th out of 275 in my age group! Jonathan placed 6th in his age group and Tammie actually placed 3rd in her age group!!!! Congratulations everyone!

12 comments:

Lisa said...

Fantastic Half, Holly!

Bethany said...

WOW! Great Job Holly... This is going to be a great year for you. I just know it!

Michele said...

Congrats on a great race.

Want to run Tom King? I could PR just trying to chase you down!!!

Christine said...

WOW! Congrats!! that is freakin awesome :)

Anonymous said...

Way to SMOKE it, Holly!

Mae Anne

Missy said...

Listen you crazy beotch, you just took my 1:45. Dude, that rocks, way to go. I aspire to be you some day. I hope to get there. Oh, did you have make up on at the start of the run? You looked all perty and made up, not greasy and gross like I do:)

D10 said...

Great race report. You ran a great race. Well done.

Tim said...

Holly - I just read your race report. I did not want to read yours until i had completed mine. Great report. It makes mine sound elementary! And it took me 2 more weeks to write it. great memories from that weekend!

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