Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Iron Horse Half Marathon - Race Report

Originally, I had planned to do this race “for fun.”  Jay and I vacationed in the Midway, Kentucky area last year on our anniversary and loved it!  I had planned do this race to set a marker.   I would then train to better my time for the December Secret City Marathon. 
Somewhere along the way, I decided to train for this race.  Then my darling love decided to pass along the nasty virus he had, and my training took a major hit. While I was still getting my long runs in, I was only able to get a little over 2 weeks worth of quality work in.   
Going into the race, I knew this wouldn’t be a PR for me.  I was fairly confident it would be my slowest run of the year.  My major hang up was how to set a goal, I gave lip service to at least being faster than last year’s half but the goal really had no heart behind it.

The night before the race Kelly, Christal, and I had a chance to meet up with a twitter buddy Jay, his friend Chris, and their families.  The morning of the race, we met back up and got a bit of a warm up before the race started.

One thing I love about the area is the small town feel.  Unfortunately, that translates into small and crowded roads.  The race entry was capped at just over 1,000 people, but the first mile was very congested.  My pace was slow, but I was hopeful to make it up in later miles

Mile 1 - 10:00 

The congestion kept up and found myself getting frustrated.  This was a rolling course and I didn’t feel like I was full able to make use of the down hills.  Other runners were steady both up and down, while I’m slower up hill and faster down.    Working to pass them on the downs only for them to pass me on the ups felt a bit counter-productive, but I had to run my own race how I was comfortable. 

Mile 2 - 9:30

As the front runners made the turn, the roads became even more congested.  A lady runner who’d already made the turn around shouted angrily because people weren’t getting out of her way, but there really wasn’t much of any where to go to get out of the way.  Mostly though, this early out and back (around the 3.5 mile marker) made for a good way to pass the time cheering on the leaders.

Mile 3 - 9:19 

When I saw Kelly coming back, I realized I was pretty close to the turn and was excited to experience the downhill portion.  Most of the first out portion seemed uphill.  As it turned out, this course is up hill both ways.  Or all 4 ways given the double out and back layout.

Mile 4 - 9:19
In previous races, I’ve forgotten to take gels soon enough and felt energy slacking.  I took one before the start of the race, and then had planned to take another at the turn around. At 4.25, I realized I still hadn’t taken one.

I am a goofy person.  I very much enjoy my goofy nature.  So to make fun of myself, I started singing “I will remember goo, will you remember me?”
Mile 5 - 9:50
My plan going into the race was tackle the first out and back at a steady pace, then attack the next 2 portions strong, and then hard.  By this point, the hills were starting to make themselves known.  I was hoping my strong effort would translate into a strong pace. 

Mile 6 - 9:59
For all the challenges the course offered, it provided some good scenery.  I didn’t stop to take pictures along the way (although at some points it would have been tempting), so I was glad to have driven the course the day before to get several.
Mile 7 - 9:25
The portion of the race in the downtown Midway area had great crowd support.  For the start, a lady held a sign reading “We’re bananas for you” and had dressed her dog up in a banana costume.  As we finished the first out and back, the dog was dressed in a Santa costume and the lady was holding a sign reading “Congrats – You’re not slower than Christmas!”  Near the finish she changed the dog into an airplane costume with a sign that read “It’s a bird, it’s a play, it’s you & you’re flying!”  
Mile 8 - 9:35

Typically I find someone in the early portion of the race to chat with, making the miles go back.  That’s probably one of my few regrets for this race.  I never felt like I settled into a steady pace in order to run with someone.

Early on, however, I did play with my music a bit.  Rather than let it play continuously and allow it to grow monotonous, I limited myself to a song every mile or so.  This seemed to work well until I got into the later mileage.

Mile 9 - 10:22

The hills started to get tough at this point, but I consoled myself with the thoughts of going downhill on the way back.  Once again I got to see the front runners, followed by Kelly and Jay as they passed the 2nd turn around (I never did see Christal or Chris after the start.)

Mile 10 - 9:37

Mile 11 - 10:10

Around this point, I started doing math in my head.  The hills seemed relentless and my pace was slowing.  I knew this was my slowest race of the year – nothing I could do about it at this point. 

Mile 12 - 10:18

I was beating myself up.  However after a bit of figuring, I realized I could still best last year’s October race if I pushed it.  Given the difficulty of this race, if I managed to just hang on to the same pace I’d have improved.   

Mile 13 - 9:14
I kept looking for that nice downhill break, but I never saw it.  It is, however, reflected in my pace – the fastest of the race. 

Final 0:54 {8:43}

I saw the finish line, turned the corner, and ran it in. 

Chip time: 2:07:43
I’m very proud of this race.  I ran it essentially on 4 long runs and 2 ½ weeks of training.  AND I know (once again) I mentally beat myself in portions.  I feel like I can definitely build on this base and run strong for my next half. 

 bling + post race massage +some ice cream = win 



  1. Great recap! And it was great getting to meet you IRL!

  2. Great recap and great run, Brooke

  3. Great recap! I love reading them as I will never progress past a 5k :)

  4. Great job!! And your lookin skinny girl!

  5. Very nice job especially on such little training! Wahoo!

  6. I think you did super, especially without the training you typically put in. That's a pretty amazing time!

  7. That's an awesome run!!! You did great!