Editor’s note: For real, I can’t seem to type the word hustle without adding an r onto the end of it. But I’m leaving the typo because I think it’s funny.
So. The Santa HUSTLE.
Some of the particulars: it was really, really unseasonably warm. Partly sunny and in the 50s, so although I felt a bit like a Scrooge for not wearing the (admittedly adorable) long sleeve technical race shirt, Santa hat and beard, I felt much better about it later on in the race as I watched people shedding their layers of Santa regalia.
But it’s still the best race shirt I’ve ever gotten. The medal was alright too, although I have never done a race just for the stuff and I don’t intend to start now.
In Indianapolis, this was the second year for the 5k and the first year for the half. The course wound through White River State Park along the…White River, and it was pretty low-key. No roar of spectators like in the Mini, no roar of downtown like in the Monumental. Instead it was oddly tranquil and I spent the majority of the race inside my own head.
For a race series still in its infancy, it was well organized with great volunteers and support along the course, including water and Gatorade stations, a GU station, and even a few candy and cookie stations (although the idea of eating a cookie during a race made me want to barf.) Something else in which I unfortunately didn’t get to partake was the free buffet and not-free beers at the Rathskeller after-party! My dumb luck, I had to get home to relieve my MIL who was babysitting.
Some details that are probably useless: I had a pace bracelet (like a dork, I created one online, printed it off and waterproofed it with Scotch tape, and I did this five days before the race and then every day I looked at it and touched it and talked to it and thought about what it would be like to finish a half marathon in less than two hours) and my plan was to use that primarily and the Garmin as backup.
Well. There weren’t clocks at the mile markers and I idiotically forgot to sync the Garmin before the start, so I spent probably way too much of this race checking the time, checking my pace and doing math instead of being present or immersing myself in my surroundings or whatever the shit you’re supposed to be doing during a race besides math. (Even though let’s face it, most of us are just doing math, right?)
Some things about the actual race: my goal finish time of 1:59:59 called for a 9:09 pace but I started out a little more conservatively than that, confident that I could negative split and finish the last few miles comfortably at an 8:45-8:50 pace.
I was about two minutes behind my goal pace until about Mile 9 when I really started pushing to stay under a 9:00 pace. Again, I don’t have accurate splits because I flaked out, but roughly, Miles 1 -4 were in the 9:10-9:20 range, Miles 5-8 were about 8:50 – 9:05, Miles 9 was a 9:09 (ew), Miles 10 – 12 were in the 8:40s and the last mile was very close to 8:00.
A tangent: I recognized a few people in those last miles who had passed me at the very beginning of the race. Namely, an adorable girl in a Santa hat, tutu, and red and green argyle knee socks with long, luscious, curly brown hair that wasn’t tied back. I thought about how uncomfortable I’d feel running with my hair down, and I just felt sorry for her. (I should probably do a whole ‘nother blog post about people who run in tutus, don’t you think?)
Post-race reflection time: Chip time: 1:58:36. (SO MANY COLONS JUST NOW!) Home guzzling leftover champagne from Kenzie’s birthday party by noon. Who serves champagne at a child’s birthday party? THIS BITCH RIGHT HERE.
My big takeaway is that I was prepared for this race and felt comfortable running at an uncomfortably hard pace. I’m still a relative noob when it comes to racing, so don’t bust my chops too hard about this: I’m not sure I really know how to run hard. I had sort of a reality check a few weeks ago when RoseRunner said she’s virtually crippled for the three days following a marathon because she runs so hard. I realize this was just a half, but still. That’s never happened to me (with the exception of races in which I’m miserably under-trained or injured). I’m not saying you need to hurt yourself to run a good race (and she wasn’t either), but you also don’t need to run so conservatively that you could go out and do it again the very next day. In my mind, that’s just a waste of 50 bucks.
Going into this, I wanted to run hard, be kind of ballsy and see where it would get me, and it paid off. And I’m glad to report that the next day I was sore enough to feel like I’d done something significant, but not so sore that I couldn’t lower myself down onto the toilet seat with reasonable ease. (Stole that lovely visual from RR.)
The plan now is to keep working on my base and continue with the strengthening and conditioning and at some point decide what might not be a ridiculous goal for a Spring half marathon. (Also! Funsies! A Spring relay!)
[image stolen – with an adequate amount of remorse – from racephotonetwork.com]
Giveaway update: I’m told Four Loko is no longer the good shit, so we may have to come up with some new terms. But if you want to enter at your own risk, I’ll accept comments until let’s say 11:59 p.m. EST, December 25.