This coming Sunday is the Spirit of Columbus half-marathon and 4 guys (Davis, Little, Poray, and myself) from our Tuesday night sessions are going out to race. I’m pretty excited about it for a number of reasons, though a bit wary of succumbing to a Dude Fest Summer Send-off! I kid, I’m actually looking forward to a weekend road trip dedicated entirely to racing with others of the same perspective. On the other hand, this will be the first race that Michelle will not be at as she will be photographing a wedding in Northern Indiana and will not be able to make it. That means no one to decompress the race with (she’s probably thrilled about that) and no good action photos to add to Flickr. Good with the bad I guess. Speaking of Michelle though, she has literally been to every single race I’ve run since we started dating….she’s just undeniably awesome.
This race is exciting for a number of reasons, the first being that I haven’t raced a half-marathon since back in May at the Geist 1/2 and so I’ve been antsy to test this distance again. For whatever reason, I feel extremely comfortable racing 1/2’s and am very suited to the distance more than any others, that is unless the marathon proves otherwise. I like the endurance factor of a 1/2 coupled with the ability to move fast almost the whole way through without the risk of total breakdown.
I’m also extremely curious to see how quickly I run this distance after the increase in mileage and intensity of my workouts. The math dictates that I should be in greater fitness than I have at any other 1/2 I’ve run, but then again, there is always the reality that I’m still in the process of “overtraining” for Chicago. There is always the potential that my body won’t respond to the effort in the midst of sore and non-reactive muscles. I’m still gonna go for it though. And although I would rather run a more legitimate course, this point to point race is comprised of a consistently descending grade, which although will generate very fast times, will also necessitate a qualifier if I set another PR. That’s annoying. I want my PR’s to be based on my own efforts and not any external aids. Running is about honesty, not circumstances.
Then there is the field. This particular race is extremely deep with speed as the prize money is quite substantial, which means that although I won’t be anywhere near the front pack I will certainly have a number of runners to pace me to a PR if I’ve got it in me. This field is potentially faster than the Indy Mini field and that caliber of racer can only help my performance.
Finally, this race is going to be a great gauge of pace for all of us running Chicago. Pretty much everyone in our group is running this to get a better estimate on our total marathon pace, the formula being our 1/2 time doubled with 6 – 9 minutes added. So a 1:10 1/2 PR amounts to a 2:26 – 2:29 marathon finish. Those in our group looking to make the Olympic Marathon Trials are hoping to get somewhere near 1:06, but not being in that group, I’m just looking to run my ass off. I’m also going to try something new….fuel.
The last time I tried to drink water, let alone gatorade, during a race was the Chicago Distance Classic just over a year ago. I remember it well as I came through mile 5 at personal record pace, grabbed a cup of water, tilted it to my mouth and immediately started coughing and gagging as it inhaled into the wrong pipes and came spraying back out. I coughed like a middle schooler trying to smoke weed for the first time. It was quite embarrassing and I’ve literally never touched a cup of water in a race since then. But this is the marathon we are training for and there is no skimping on fuel when racing for that long. Precious fluids taken early into the race can save your ass big time as you hit wall after wall towards the end. I do NOT want that to happen, so in my head I’ve been preparing to start practicing fluid intake during my training runs, even having a good friend offer to set up a race simulation for me soon. In the meantime though, this race is going to act as a trial run for determining just how much fluid I can get down while running at a fast pace, with my heart trying to leap from my chest and my legs on autopilot. I know the tips, grab gatorade AND water if you can, pinch the cup so the fluid doesn’t come flooding into your throat, regulate your breathing to get as much down as possible in sips, prepare to go into oxygen debt for a little bit, follow up with water before throwing the cup to the ground like a drunken irishman and get focused back into the race. Easier said than done though. We’ll see how it goes.
In all, I’m super excited about this road trip and ready to throw down come Sunday. I REALLY hope to come back with a race report that ends with a PR, but there is certainly no guarantee in running. Regardless, I’ll try my hardest.
Oh! And I almost forgot! If everything comes together with the printer, this might be my first race running with the Vegan Dandies singlet! The vegan power will be unleashed upon Columbus! I’ll make sure to get some personal photos at least, but they won’t be as good as Michelle’s of course. Send many encouraging thoughts my way.
12 easy miles – picked up towards the end
Breakfast – Oatmeal (w/ peanut butter, raisins, almonds, agave nectar), coffee
Lunch – Stir Fry w/ tofu, sweet potatoes, water
Dinner – Chickpeas w/ rice and peas, water
Snacks – Banana, tea w/ agave nectar, tortilla chips, coffee, soy mocha, Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Soy Chai
Maroon – Antagonist