On Sunday, March 25, 2018 I ran my 10th half marathon. I actually signed up for this half marathon before Phoenix, it’s a half I knew I always wanted to do and very popular here in Michigan, the timing has just never worked out for us. This year I signed Justin and I up when the race registration opened in October. Rock CF is a non-profit organization for Cystic Fibrosis and they do such great work so anytime I can run for a great charity or non-profit I’m down.
In the last two weeks leading up to the race I decided I would not “race” the race but use it as a strong long up-tempo run. I got into a car accident the Friday after I returned from Phoenix and have a small strain on my ankle ligaments. I’ve been getting ART therapy and also doing CRYO so that has been helping a lot but with the Bayshore full in two months I just decided I wanted to not push myself to PR and to PR after Phoenix I would definitely be pushing the paces.
So plan- not going to race, just have fun, talk to everyone I know, and enjoy the day. The weather in Michigan had a different idea. The race is on Grosse ILE, Michigan which is a small island between Michigan and Canada. The day before the real feel temp was calling for 11 degrees at start time with 18 mph wind gusts. I honestly had a few moments of “screw this, I’m not doing it” but buckled up and decided to go with it.
We drove down to the expo at the middle school on Saturday and then back up to our house instead of staying down there so we could sleep in our own bed. Justin wanted a big PR in this race since he has not ran a healthy half marathon since one year ago so I just wanted to try to be supportive of that and not be negative about the weather.
Sunday morning we woke up at 4:30, got dressed in layers, and out the door by 5:30. It’s about 70 minutes from our house and you can’t park at the start line so we wanted to get there and get on a bus early enough to drink our UCAN in the car and go to the bathroom before the 8 am race start.
UCAN code for 10% off – 10% off Generation Ucan
We were lucky enough to run into our friends Rob and Jen that rode the same bus as us so it took my mind off how cold it was going to be. Once we got there, we checked our bag, went to the bathroom, and then back inside to warm up until the start. Race day events are a 5k, a 2 person relay, and the half marathon so quite a few people were packed into the school. We made it out while the national anthem was starting, said goodbye, and lined up. I bumped into Jen(Dreambelieverun on IG) who was running the first leg of the relay and we were lined up close to the 1:50 pacer. My goal was to still try for a sub 1:50 but again no expectations- just run strong and never stop.
Out the gates for the first 2 miles we were running straight into the wind, my first mile was a 7:51 and I knew I was running too fast for what I wanted to do. Mile 2 clocked at 8:00 even and my goal was to try to stay between an 8-8:30 for the race. I felt really good though and as we turned away from the wind I just let myself pick up the pace. Miles 3-7 were 7:52, 7:45, 7:51, 7:44, and 7:53. I unintentionally found the 1:45 group at this point and tried to stay behind them for some warmth. At mile 7 I passed them- mile 8 and 9 were 8:01 & 8:07. It’s funny because they are almost mirror miles to my Phoenix 8 & 9 miles. (Love seeing the guys behind me- although they did pass me in the wind around mile 10)
What I loved about not “racing” this was being tuned in with my body. I immediately thought about why miles 8-9 are tough for me and my first thought was that I do a lot of workouts that are 8-9 mile workouts with a two mile warm-up, four miles of speed, and then a two mile cooldown. Learning to be strong in those miles are going to be a new focus for me. Then something really FUN happened- we turned into the wind. WOW, it was windy and cold. I was running up a hill into the wind and I don’t think I could have moved my legs faster if I tried. I was so thankful when we turned again into a NAVEL AIRPORT HANGER. It was so awesome seeing all the planes and being out of the wind. The 5K starts here so they had a clock and mat. Mile 10(8:19) clocked at 1:19.20 – still fast compared to my actual 10 mile PR from the Crim last year.
However then you turn back around and I felt like I was running through a wind tunnel. My pace was dropping because I couldn’t move(at least I felt like I couldn’t) so mile 11 and 12 were both 8:37 minute miles. Like it was in a movie Eminem’s “Till I Collapse” came on right at mile 12. I had to just laugh at that. One more mile, you got this, Jess. It’s funny because I knew I wasn’t going to PR but right then I knew I wanted to get another sub 1:47. Mile 12 was right along the water, hilly, and straight in the wind but I kept chugging along. I said out loud- you are stronger than the wind, you are stronger than this hill, do not stop, keep going. Mile 13 was 8:23 and then we turned the corner to run around the middle school and finish and the .1 was a 7:19 pace. (Insert comment- this is probably the messiest I’ve ever looked for a race- I wanted to be warm and my hair was a crazy disaster, but it’s a race so who cares LOL)
Official final time was 1:46.01 and I was ecstatic with that! After a really good race in Phoenix, and then hurting my foot, I started to believe that Phoenix was a fluke and that maybe I would never run those type of paces again. I honestly believe if the wind wouldn’t have killed me the last few miles that I could have picked it back up but that race was exactly what I needed to carry me through the next two months of marathon training. Tough conditions create tough runners. For the first time ever I didn’t see Justin and got a little nervous since he usually is always waiting for me. I did see Laura & Natasha from IG and we talked for a few minutes until I went in and found Justin.
Justin had a 10 minute PR!!! 1:29! HOLY SMOKES, he killed it! I was so happy for him and glad that he was able to dial it in and get it done. He said all the marathon long runs with me is helping him- not sure whether to take that as a compliment or insult but either way so proud of him. I was almost as excited for him as I was for me in Phoenix…almost 😉
We talked with some friends, recapped how cold and windy it was, and then boarded the bus back to our car.
I’m so happy that I did not wimp out on this race. You can’t control the weather and I’ve ran some hot and humid races where I wished it was cold. I guess perfect weather days only come in Phoenix in February, just kidding. I live in Michigan and this is what we can expect- days when its freezing and days where the humidity is killer. You have to be able to be confident in your abilities and say you put it out there no matter what the conditions. Sure they will affect your run, but at the end if you run with your heart you will run the best race for that day and those conditions. With that being said- DEAR GOD give me good weather for Bayshore in May. 🙂
The race was so well-organized and brought in so many talented runners. To put it in perspective my husband finished 61st out of 976 people with a 6:52 overall pace. The race bring the speedy people out and I love that!
My official stats:
My watch was pretty close too. I must be getting better at running the tangents because it said 13.15 so right on again!
I think I’ll add this to my race schedule every year. Great cause- well-organized- and some of the best runners around!
Congrats to everyone who brought their A game and got a PR- especially my husband! 🙂 Keep on running those easy miles with me, Justin!
As always- RUN HAPPY!