Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sunburst 1/2 Marathon June 2, 2012

So I took it as a sign that I needed to finally post about my 1/2 marathon race in June when I arrived home from work on Tuesday night to find a celebration dinner in honor of my PR and going under 2 hours for the 1/2.  My husband had planned a night of food, drinks and down time.  It was a great meal with great company.

Saturday June 2, 2012 I raced for the first time in the Sunburst 1/2 marathon in South Bend, Indiana.  I toed the line with my sister and husband.  It was a great morning to run- cool at the start and not too hot as the morning went on.  The race started downtown South Bend by the College Football of Hall of Fame.  My goal for this race was to run a negative split (first half slower than the second) and run it under 2 hours.  The week leading up to the race I struggled with sleep issues, not the best runs, and life stresses.  I was worried that the week was a foreshadowing of the race.

The race course was very pleasant, not overly flat, but not overly hilly.  The first half went well and I was a little over the 1 hour mark when I reached the halfway point.  I would reach my goal of running a negative split by running the last 1/2 in under one hour.  Water station and Gatorade was present frequently on the course, which I loved- love my hydration.  GU was present too at around the halfway mark, which I loved even more. I've never run with a water belt during races and it is somewhat a mental thing for me- maybe running without a water belt will make me run faster.  I know probably not, but I appreciate water stops throughout a race, because it is a point where I walk and drink and then get back in it.  Now my hubby thinks that walking slows me down and I'd finish with a faster time if I didn't walk through water stations, but due to my lack of coordination with drinking and running (I choke a lot and sputter if I try and run and drink out of open cups) I'll stick with walk and drink for now. 

  Running this race was different than other races for me, primarily because it didn't take place in a big city, a.k.a Chicago.  I've run almost all my races in Chi-Town and it gives an electric feel of constant things to look at and constant crowd participation.  This race was different.  I felt like I was running in a suburban neighborhood on my long run for the week, just add 1300 people running the same route.  
Overall the course was fine, the roads were in good shape and we even ran along this path by the river that flows throughout the town, which was quite peaceful.  There was no shoving or elbows out due to there only being 1300 runners running this race.  The course was a point to point, but quite a few of out n backs along similar streets which I enjoyed because it allowed me to see my husband once (he was of course ahead of me so as I was coming into mile 6 he was leaving the other way).  I also saw my sister twice and it is always a lift to get a wave from a fellow runner who is family.

The second half of the race went well for me.  I picked up the pace and although I ran with no Garmin I did bring my watch and so I just tried to figure out, with my challenged mathematical brain, where I was with mileage and time. My sister and brother in-law who had previously run the half had warned me about some hills toward the end of the race.  Two in particular- one you could see and I saw it.  I was running towards the side of the hill and watched runner ahead of me start to walk up the pretty steep incline.  Luckily, where I train there are tons of hills, so I was up for the challenge and enjoyed powering by the walkers.  My brother in-law had warned me that immediately following this hill you turn and hit a much shorter hill, but just as steep.  It was nice knowing this in advance, because when I turned the corner I was ready to keep climbing.  I felt like I did great on the hills in this course and running up them, not walking, was very empowering.   The race ends in Notre Dame football stadium and so I really started pushing it when I saw the stadium in my sites.  I entered the stadium and crossed the finish line in 1:59:38.  I knew I probably was a little faster than that, because of the time to be added that took me to cross the start line.  I was elated that I finished in under 2 and knew I also had to have run a negative split in order to run under 2.  My kids, my brother in-law and my niece and nephew were all in the stands cheering for us.  Although that stadium, in particular, wouldn't be my first choice in finishing places (Go Blue!) it was a great place to finish a great race.

That's me to the right in orange shirt crossing the finish line.

Me again- in orange side shot of crossing finish.

I was really impressed with this race and think I will likely run it again someday.  It was nice to be able to park a block from the start line and finish in a stadium where any spectator, including little kids, could actually see their friends and family finish.  

Separate note- My husband did awesome this race.  He ran a 1:35: 42 (finished 68 out of 1304).  My sister had a great race too- not a PR for her, but she had been struggling with some of her long runs and was worried she was going to take longer than usual- but ended up running it at her pace.  

One thing I would've done differently for this race- checked my Ipod prior to the race.  I have an old Nano Ipod and I have a clip that is attached to the Ipod, which then attaches to my shorts- can't stand those arm band things.  Anyways, about 4 miles into the race the rubber band that was holding this clip attached to my Ipod broke.  The clip is old and I've needed a replacement for a long time, just haven't taken the time to order another one- anyways, the rubber band holding clip and Ipod no longer functioning I then was forced to run holding my Ipod the remaining 9.1 miles.  Not my idea of fun, but without my music the race would've been less enjoyable.    In closing here is the Playlist I listened to during the race- I picked some great tunes that helped me run extra fast that second half.  Now the songs are not written in the order they are played.  I always hit shuffle at the beginning of the race so that I'm constantly surprised with the next song.  Now sometimes the songs don't do it for me that day so I just hit skip, but I really can't remember skipping any songs this race.  
Sunburst Playlist:
Airplanes     B.O.B
All These Things I've Done     Killers
Awakening Soul     Mumford and Sons
Bleeding Love     Leona Lewis
Both Sides Now    Joni Mitchell
The Cave     Mumford Sons
Crystal Ball     Pink
Dog Days Are Over     Florence and The Machine
Dynamite     Taio Cruz
Fearless    Taylor Swift
Gimme Some Lovin'    Spencer Davis Group
Good Enough    Sarah McLachlan
Hometown Glory     Adele
I Gotta Feeling     Black Eyed Peas
Learning to Fly     Tom Petty
Little Less Conversation    Elvis
Little Lion Man     Mumford and Sons
Long Way Around     Dixie Chicks
Mercy    Duffy
Part of Me     Katy Perry
Raise Your Glass    Pink
Rolling in Deep     Adele
Sigh No More     Mumford and Sons
Stronger     Kelly Clarkson
Tik Tok    Keisha
Unwritten     Natasha Bedingfield
Us    Regina Spektor
Viva Las Vegas   Elvis
Waking Up in Vegas     Katy Perry
1234     Feist
Notice I'm holding my Ipod- UGH!

 My finishing time: 1:59:08 (9:06 pace) and was 563 out of 1304 and 161 out of 638 for women.  

One final funny- the night before the race my sister and I were getting our racing outfits ready and she started to laugh.  I didn't know what was so funny, until she pulled out her race shirt.  Yep- we both had separately gone out and bought the same orange Trek Shirt from Kohl's.  So race day we were twins :).  

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