Temp 62-65 Wind 12 mph - 16 mph. Humidity 98% Dew Point 60°.
Seneca Day. Opportunity met preparation, was able to call upon years of training and race experience (including 2014 disaster in Cotter), and got lucky to do something I've never done before. Win a half marathon overall.
Stressful drive over. Dark, pouring rain, and fog in spots. Left early and had plenty of time to drive an unseen section of the course around the high school, and also check out the timing mat set up. Helped to relax and had a good warm up. Feeling high-end "race ready" by 8:50 a.m.
Morning storms have past. About 20° - 30° warmer than its been last couple of weeks, so have no acclimation to this temperature. Humidity at 98%. Dew Point 60° making it deceptively muggy with 12-16 mph wind. First third of course is nasty hilly, almost unfair. Will be running into SSE wind most of miles 7-12.
Know hydration will be a factor this morning. Plan is to come to complete stop and drink at all seven stations. Took a shot of EFS before race. Had originally planned to fuel only with Glukos on the course. Have them ready in my pocket, but for some reason, decided last night when packing that I would go ahead and bring along the EFS...for whatever reason??
Just shy of 200 in 5K/10K/HM. Exactly 50 in HM.
Mile 1 -- 7:26
Mile 2 -- 7:19
Mile 3 -- 7:13
Mile 4 -- 7:09
A 19-year old former high school XC runner takes off with two of his buddies who are running the 5K. One of the 10K runners goes out at about 7:20. Glad to have the help though a difficult part of the course. Water 1.1 mile. Next station is at 2.1 mile point at high school. With the wind at my back, already feel my core temperature creep in the humidity. Go ahead and start to both drink AND pour water down my back/front at each station.
Pass the kid just shy of the three mile split after the hill coming out of the high school "pit" takes away his legs. He will eventually finish third overall in 1:38:41. I will begin my 10-mile solo effort. Had concerns about sight lines when attempting to run tangents. Know KEH had 13.16 miles last year on Garmin. Have noticed that there are state patrol and city police cars parked almost every mile. No one is going to be hauling ass anywhere near this course this morning. Screw it, I'm running strict tangents.
Mile 5 -- 7:24*
Mile 6 -- 6:58
Mile 7 -- 6:59
Mile 8 -- 7:20**
Settled in now. *Extended stay at 4.2 mile aid station. Fuel, drink, and another shower. Again...for whatever reason...decided last minute prior to race to fuel with EFS at four miles. Not liking the thought of Glukos sugar in my system for an hour in this warm, muggy air.
Rolled though the subdivision loop. Did feel my core temp begin to creep again with wind at my back on Brown Lane. Was able to briefly feed off runners coming the other way. More water on me than in me at the 6.5 mile station. Turned into headwind just shy of seven mile split and it actually felt good to feel the breeze. **Another extended stay at 7.7 mile station to make sure core temp was under control and mentally prepare for next few miles into the headwind.
Mile 9 -- 7:02
Mile 10 -- 7:00
Mile 11 -- 7:08
Best period of execution of race. Crossed the 15K mat. Everything feels exactly the way it should feel at this point...except hydration. Approaching Copper Top, feel the signs of a cramp in my right calf. Goes away immediately; however, memories of Cotter come into play. Adjust. Will ditch all Glukos plans. Cannot tolerate Gatorade on my stomach when racing, but EFS has the needed electrolytes. Will get to 10.1 mile station at Copper Top. Plan to hit EFS there and again at last aid station at 11.5 miles. Thinking I'm still primed and will be able to pick up my pace for the last 5K.
Pull away from the aid station head towards PP Highway and the long downhill. Felt a surge of new energy after last stop. Make the last turn before the highway and feel the second sign of an oncoming cramp. Been so focused that I've not paid attention to how far behind the second place runner is; however, confident this is mine to lose if I can stay calm and can execute for about 20:00 more minutes. Shorten my stride, attempt to reduce impacts, and maintain as fast of a turnover as possible in compromised position.
Mile 12 -- 7:06
OK on the downhill. Only feel twinges when over-striding. More EFS, water, and another shower at 11.5 mile aid station.
Mile 13 -- 7:15
Manage Kanell and Tucker fine. Problems on Shelby. Wind at my back, but gradual uphill. Calf not so much an issue, but quads have fried. Has become impossible to hold strict form. Shorten my stride more and try to maintain turnover by firing my glutes. Able to keep things in the 7:15-7:00 range until last hill on Raider Way. Squeeze everything left in the tank to get to the top. Leg muscles on fire, get nauseous and lightheaded to the point where passing out seemed possible. Pace slowed all the way to 8:25. Had I not been so near the top, may have stopped to walk.
Mile 0.11 -- 0:43 (6:59)
Made the crest and coasted in. Brain and lungs had more to give. Body burnt to the ground. Second place runner, and 2016 overall winner, finishes 0:30 seconds behind me and was closing fast. Did not even know he was there.
Defended the HM crown for CBEGM. Got the OA win to complete my BOH Triple Crown. Won 10K in 2016, 5K in 2017, and now HM in 2018. Small HM with only 50 runners, but only takes one to beat you. Not too many runners get to win a HM, and very, very few at age 56. Blessed to get this life experience.
Estimated my fitness going in at no slower than 1:35:00, even with unfavorable conditions. Believed my ceiling to be 1:32:00 or just below.
Garmin distance 13.11 miles. Official time 1:34:02. Temp + Dew Point = 125. MPR's estimated effect on performance is 0:04 to 0:08 seconds per mile. Stopped completely and took my time at all seven water stations. Review of graph indicates I spent between 1:30-1:45 standing still. Solo effort for over 10 miles. Believe overall performance was at near peak potential this morning.
DM sees my SM Race Series tee at awards ceremony. Recognized how often I still wear his logo. Went back to his trailer, got a black SM hoodie, and gave it to me. Pretty cool gesture.