Sunday, November 3, 2013

Back at it Again - Moose Pond Half

It's been three weeks since the Hartford Marathon. Foot is still funky and the legs are still is a weird state of recovery. But after last week's debacle (read all about it here.), my mind was yearning for some hard core pavement grinding. I am not one to sign up for a race and not give it everything I've got on race day, but I was seriously wondering how my body was going to hold up for this half. I've run a half 3-4 weeks out from most of the marathons I've done, and it's done wonders to get my head back in the game and convince me that I can, again, return to running and enjoy it. I was hoping Moose Pond would do the same.

We did a very short warmup (.6 miles, oops, way too short for a half), but none of us really seemed to care. The weather was perfect (just under 60 degrees, a warm sun and a cool, light breeze). The first mile or two of this race were mostly flat with some light ups and downs. Right out of the gun I was able to count to see that I was about the 10th woman, give or take. The first hill came at mile 2 and I whizzed by three girls. Another at mile 3 and I took down another two girls. I could see the next two girls running together in front of my about two-tenths of a mile away, when I hit a random wall at mile 4. I felt like I had no energy left and my legs felt like lead. I was about to accept the fact that my body was just not ready for this pace yet when I hit "the hill" at mile 5. A nearly mile long, fairly steep, hill. (Seriously, check out this BANGIN' hill - Moose Pond Half - Garmin Connect). The hill refreshed my legs, and by the top I had passed the other two women. A man on the top told me I was the third place woman, and my brain kicked into it's "GAME ON" mode.

The rest of the course was more rolling hills - a few pretty decent climbs, and a few pretty harsh downhills that hurt just as much as the ups. I got to the mile 10 mark and looked down to see a 7:08 mile. I have no clue where that came from (probably some good downhills in that mile), but still, I knew I was going to pay dearly for that, and I did. By mile 11 I was struggling big time to hold on, but there was no way I was losing 3rd place that easy. I stuck it out to come in at 1:40:33. No PR, but 3rd place female and 1st in my age group. Given the hills on this monster, and the state of my body in the last three weeks, I was extremely pleased with this time.

Despite the bitchin' hills on this course, I really enjoyed it. Out of my 23 half marathons, this was by far the most challenging. But, it was also peaceful and serene. Many miles it was just me and 1-2 other people on the road. The weather was perfect, and the challenging hills were just what I needed to 1) get my head back to knowing that I CAN race again after a marathon 2)grind out some serious built up aggression on the road and 3) focus on future running goals and training, and start moving forward again.

The absolute best part of this race though was the BBQ after. Racing with my trackies is the best...but being able to hang out, soak up some vitamin D and enjoy fabulous company after a blood pumping long run is a therapy of a new kind.

3rd in Age Group - 6th Overall

2nd in Age Group - 5th Overall

1st in Age Group - 2nd Female Overall!

<3 Soaking up the Vitamin D and Trackie Love