On Saturday, March 2nd, I competed in my first race of 2013, the Hypothermic Half. It was sponsored by the “Running Room” and held down in Indian Battle Park by Fort Whoop-Up in Lethbridge. I was a little nervous to see how this race would go, since I had been sick since around February 20th. The last long run I had done when training was 9 miles and that was in Friday, February 15th, the day before I went to Los Angeles. I had mentioned in the last few posts here that I attempted running when sick, and that didn’t end well. So, to say I was anxious is an understatement.
Race start was 9:00 am, with the ‘sleepy-head’ race scheduled for 10:00 am. When I had gone to pick up my race packet up on Thursday, I became aware the route was pretty simple-run twice around the park, down past the police firing range and the country club, loop back, and do it again. However, when we were running, it became clear that this was slightly incorrect. You had to do the same loop three times, only you went around the park once instead of twice.
I had my Nike SportWatch on during the race, and after the first of three loops, it became clear that this was not going to add up to 13.1 miles. It was going to be under. This is the first time I have been in a race where the distance wasn’t as advertised. I don’t know if I were to go back to the Running Room website if there would be any note about this, but I guess I could have guessed it would be like this, given the low-key atmosphere of the start and finish line. It was not chip-timed, and there would be any 1-2-3 finishers age groupings. It was just for finisher’s medals. Since I am by no means an elite athlete, this didn’t bother me too much, but I do like having that more competitive feeling, and to have results to see at the end is always good. But, I decided I had to make the most of it.
My pace started off ridiculous-I did my first mile in 8:02 and my second in about 8:07. It started to slow down a few seconds each mile, getting towards my comfort zone pace of 8:45 minutes a mile. This was good in a way to make this rookie mistake of going out a bit fast, since it was my first race. It also showed me I was capable of it! The pack started to distance themselves after around mile 3. In our 9:00 am starting group, there was about 30 people. For the whole race, I was running in the #4 or #5 spot. This proved difficult since there was such a gap ahead of everyone else, and the few ahead of me were that much faster—I was pretty much pacing myself and running alone this whole race.
My legs started getting that heavy feeling around mile 7 and 8. If there had been people for me to “chase” and keep me moving it would have been great. It actually worked out timing-wise that the 10:00 am group, with around 20 runners, started just as I was heading in to start lap 3 of 3. This brought my pace back down to where it should have been, as I had slowed to a 9:20 for one of the miles. Having people to go after and keep up with strongly helped on the last lap.
In the end, the distance my watch mapped was 11 miles, 2.1 miles shorter than an actual half marathon. I finished with a time of 1:36:43. Had this been a true half marathon, I am confident I would have been under two hours, which was my goal given my sickness, and probably be more close to 1:55, which I would have been ecstatic about.
Race results are usually the one thing you can’t delete, or that you always find online. Since this wasn’t chip timed, I don’t know if there are any results being kept. I didn’t see anyone writing my bib number down as I crossed, but who knows. I know, though, that I started off this season strong. It was a great confidence builder! It felt really neat to finish #5 in this small group in our time slot. I actually finished #2 for the women in our group. This shows how small the race was, ha! But I felt strong and proud at the end.
I will be taking a solid week off of running to recover. I am still hacking up junk from my throat and chest, and I am heading to a mathematics conference on Wednesday in Philadelphia. So the week off will be perfect. My next race will be in April, the 10-Mile Road Race, sponsored by Runners Soul. I need to register for it today while I am thinking about it!
Also, thank you to everyone who has donated to my charities I am racing for, either American Heart Association or Heart & Stroke Foundation (Canada). A few friends donated the past couple days leading into the race! I have currently raised $585 for American Heart Association and $465 for Heart & Stroke Foundation! My goal is $1000 to each charity by the time I run my culminating race, the Goofy Challenge, in January 2014. I feel confident we can make this happen well before the race, and then keep raising money and awareness leading up to the event. Thank you to everyone who has shown support for my cause of running in memory of my father, Andrew A. Lammers. He would be so impressed with the donations people have made so far, and so proud to see all the races I have registered for. Thank to anyone who has donated money, read this web page, shared this web page, or just reflected on the memory of my dad. To infinity & beyond!