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NewBo Fest HM ~ Sept. 4, 2011 (HM #6 ~ Successful long run)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

About a week ago I got to thinking ahead and discovered I had a 13 mile long run coming this Labor Day weekend which is also my birthday weekend. Then I discovered that there happened to be a half marathon fairly close so after thinking and pondering decided I would pursue this idea. Since I had raced a HM two weeks earlier, I had a quick consultation with my Jeff Galloway running buddies who are very wise, they thought that if I promise to run this HM at my long run training pace, why not go for it. Then I consulted my driver, gear handler and photographer hubby and he said why not. Then I consulted with daughter in law Emily (emilyrose1244) if she would be interested in running it with me. With very little (if any) arm twisting she said yes. The only thing we had to get her back home for an afternoon bridal shower. No problem! This would also fall on my 53rd birthday so that was just another exciting event that happened during this weekend.

This would be NewBo Fest Half Marathon located in Cedar Rapids, IA and would be the second year of running and is a small race. Last year they gave out no finisher’s medals but this year they did. Score! On September 4, Sunday morning bright and early we hop in the car with all my gear and pick Emily up on the way. The area this HM would take place is right smack dab where the devastating floods of June 2008 inundated a great portion of Cedar Rapids and in fact you can still see where scars remain.

We arrive in plenty of time, pick up our packet and proceed to get all geared up including timing chip. It had to be quite comedic to watch us fumble around with our timing chips and it was as if we each had five hands and none were working. Finally, we are ready to go as we head to the starting line.

Fellow Sparker Jenn (jenn26point2) was running this HM also and we meet up with her at the start. We pretty much hang together sorta kinda for most of the race.

Emily and I were chatting away so much that the miles were literally clicking away and before we knew it an hour had past! We could not believe it! I also had a constant watch on my Garmin because I knew that I had a big group of JG Spark team members “keeping an eye” on me to see if in fact, I could actually run a HM at training pace and not race pace. I also wanted to prove it to myself because if successful, I would do this again. I started out a little fast but did get myself in to a nice slow pace. It didn’t even bother me that at times there was just one guy behind us.

Eventually, our race course turned into a trail and Emily and I don’t do trails for a reason…we don’t like them. I am not sure how long we ran on the trail but it was too long. We were starting to feel the change in surface which got us to talking about Coach Nancy’s Daily Spark blog on this matter. We did finally get back to our normal pavement.

At this point, were were in almost double digit miles in the HM and we were feeling awesome! Of course we would at the pace were were running. At one point in the course there is a train crossing and by golly there was a train coming! There was a water stop before that and I was refilling my handheld water bottle NOT knowing the train was coming. As soon as I hear the whistle I run FAST across the tracks and just make it as the crossing arms were coming down. The race volunteer cleared me to cross so it was all good.

At this point in time, Emily was starting to pick up her pace as she was not running this at training pace and we say our “see ya laters”. I believe we had about 2 miles to go and I was feeling hardly taxed at all which is the way it should be!

In the last mile, most of the volunteers had gone since the course was closed at the 2:30:00 mark but you could still finish. I was starting to panic because the runners were now so spread out and with no markings I was not sure where to go. At one point, I was guessing and thank goodness for good intuition. Finally, I spot a volunteer as I was nearing the end.

Come to find out, I had some office friends that showed up to greet me at the finish as they live in Cedar Rapids. I was so touched and very grateful that they came!!! I finish feeling so awesome with hardly any aches or anything just like a long run. My finish time was about 2:48-ish which is about spot on to my training pace. SCORE!!!! See, I CAN do this! I also received my finisher’s medal, gave sweaty {{{hugs}}}, took photos and Emily and I headed to the beer!

It was a great HM because I now know I can run HM’s at a training pace and yes, I will do this again!!! Emily and I had such a great time running together as we are both solo runners but found just how fast a run goes when you are that distracted.

For me, I now have one of the most anticipated HM’s for me coming up in 2 weeks. The Air Force Marathon located at Wright-Patt AFB, Dayton, OH will be very special since we are Air Force parents. Jim will be running the 5k Friday evening and I will be running the Half marathon Saturday morning along with a large group of fellow Sparkers.

For now, I will savor the success of running HM #6 at training pace and the fun that Emily and I had. What a wonderful birthday it truly was!!

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