I headed down with my friend Becky and checked into our hotel. From there we went to the expo and picked up our packets and checked out a few of the vendors. We were waiting to meet up with Jodi and a few of her friends but traffic issues were causing them to run behind. We had 8:00 dinner reservations but Jodi and her group got to the hotel after 7:00 and were heading to the expo at about 7:45. Becky and I decided to head over to the restaurant to grab our table and wait for the rest of the group. Jodi and her friends made it and after all the introductions, ordered dinner.
During dinner, Jodi tells me she would like to run her own race instead of pacing me. The original plan had been for Jodi to pace me to a sub 2-hour half. I will be honest, I was a little disappointed just because it was the night before the half. But I told her it was fine as I understood she is still trying to get her sub 1:50 goal. After dinner, Becky and I went back to the hotel and got ready for the next morning. I was talking to her about the checkpoints (where you were able to track the runners during the race) and one of the checkpoints was the "Brickyard". I had NO IDEA what that was so Becky decided to explain to me what the Yard of Bricks was. If you don't know, I suggest you google it. It would be much better than having me try to explain it to you! :)
The next morning, Becky and I drove down to the race. We met up with Jodi and her friends in a hotel to use the bathrooms. I was starting in a different corral then the others and Becky walked me there. I wished her luck and got into my corral. Since I struggled with heat and dehydration at the Illinois Half Marathon the weekend before, I decided to carry a throw away bottle for this one. There are aid stations but if I'm trying to run fast, I'd rather not have to stop at the aid station for water (as I haven't mastered...or come close to mastering...the art of drinking and running). The temperature was a tad warm for my liking (about 60 degrees) but it was supposed to be overcast and so I was hoping that would help me out.
After a moment of silence and some other various stuff, the race started. I was in Corral F but I crossed the start line only about 4 mins into the race. Not sure what kind of corral start they were using! The run was a bit crowded in the beginning (after all...there were about 40,000 people registered!) but it wasn't that bad. I didn't want to try to do too much weaving in the beginning as I thought playing the beginning a bit on the conservative side (although still on pace) might be a better plan for me. I didn't want to waste too much energy weaving around people.
The first two miles were right on pace but the air felt really humid and I was struggling already to run at that pace. I kept trying to put that out of my mind but after having an even rougher 3rd mile (even though I pulled the pace up by the end of the 3rd mile), I was struggling even more. I basically gave up on the idea of getting my sub 2-hour half at that point. I didn't make the decision lightly but I could tell I was already starting to "hate" this half marathon because I was struggling to keep a certain pace. I didn't want to hate this half marathon. It was in a city I've never run in (or been in). We get to run around the race track. I wanted to enjoy myself. I didn't want to be miserable the entire half marathon, not get my goal, not even PR, hate everything about it, feel like crying at mile 10. I mean...what a miserable way to spend 2 hours. I shouldn't hate running. So I decided to "give up" on my goal at this half and just run for fun.
To tell you the truth, at points, I wasn't even having fun while trying to run for fun. I did walk often as well, definitely more than I needed to but I really just didn't care. But I mostly had fun. And I really was glad I wasn't racing when I saw the entrance to the speedway!! We ran a steep downhill and then right back up a steep uphill! I actually kind of giggled in a weird, manic "I'm happy I don't have to run fast up this uphill" kind of way. And even though I'm not a huge race car fan (although did go to the local track often as a child), it was really cool to be running around it. You could see other people's excitement too. And of course I did take a few pictures. We ran around the track from miles 6 through 8.5.
|Entering the speedway|
|Running on the track|
|Running over the "Yard of Bricks"|
I thought it was odd that Jodi had finished and made it all the way back to mile 10 to run with me. I knew I was going slower but didn't think I was going THAT slow!! I saw Jodi and we started running together. I asked her if she finished and came back or if she was waiting mile 10. She had some calf trouble in the speedway and had stopped at a medical station. Since I wasn't too far away, she decided it would be better to run with me than finish the run by herself. I was happy with the company but also knew running with her would make me not stop again and I probably had picked my pace up just a bit at that point.
And to tell you the truth, I was really tired. I kept thinking about stopping and walking. I knew Jodi would if I wanted to because she kept telling me she didn't care about pace at that point, but I don't like to "wimp out" around other people. Haha. So whereas I stopped about every mile for a few miles to walk without her, I ran straight through the last 4 miles since I ran with Jodi the last 5k.
|Running with Jodi - about mile 12 maybe|
|Me, Nikki, Jodi|
|Becky and I|