On Saturday, May 10th, I ran in my 3rd relay race. I've done a 200 mile relay (The Fred - LOVED) and the Grand Rapids Marathon Relay (Eh). This one also fell into the "Eh" category, but there were definitely aspects to the weekend that I loved. Getting to spend the weekend with Corey and finally meet her hubby were 2 of the highlights for sure. The run? For me, notsomuch.
Anyhoo...Going to write a recap that's probably a little long so if you want to grab your beverage of choice or just skim the pictures, I'm totally ok with that. A 25k is a long-ass race, so the recap is going to be similar.
Friday afternoon, Mike and I met up with Corey and Glen and our friend Joe at the expo. Since this wasn't my first River Bank Run expo, I knew exactly where we needed to head and what I wanted to see. Corey and Glen loved the expo because there was all sorts of free stuff like water bottles and samples that they don't get in Trinidad. It was cute watching them go from booth to booth. We grabbed our packets and when the guy at the relay booth handed us a bright blue track baton, we were both like "WTF???" Yes, we had to run the entire relay carrying an actual track baton. It was not awesome. One thing that was full of awesome was this free green-screen photo booth where Corey and I practiced our handoff :)
After we got our packets and grabbed lunch at Freshii (sorry, bad blogger didn't take a picture), Mike and I headed to our daughter's conference track meet while Corey and Glen headed back to their hotel. We met up later that night for some carb loading at Founder's Brewing. I mean, where else would you take out-of-towners for beer??? (Side note - carb loading minus bread really defeats the purpose. I was very pissy most of the night and finally said "screw it" and had beer - the lowest carb/calorie one they make. Eating my sandwich minus the incredible sourdough was both difficult and sad.)
|Aren't we cute? |
Race evening was my usual zero sleep (ok, maybe an hour between 3 and 4) and an extremely early wake up because my son was volunteering and needed to be downtown by 5:15. I ate my usual bowl of oatmeal (but a full cup vs the 1/2 cup I usually have) and coffee at about 4:15 am. I wasn't going to be racing until close to 9:30. Not planning for more food was a mistake.
I do love Grand Rapids in the early morning hours. The river is beautiful and we were able to chill at Corey and Glen's hotel before we needed to head down for the 25k. Glen was running the 5k and we actually saw him on the TV coverage. Corey got video and it was quite hilarious. While at the hotel, I ate a hard boiled egg, but by the time I was boarding the bus at 8:15 to go to the exchange zone, I was starving. They had bananas and granola bars on the bus so I ate a banana but I skipped the granola since I didn't know what it might do to my stomach.
|Had to get a pre-race team photo :)|
My bus left for the first exchange zone right around the time Corey started running her 6.8 mile leg. We were figuring it would take her a good hour between the time it would take to get across the start and then run her section. I was able to see the elites come flying through, which was very cool. The lead guys did that leg in about 32 minutes and the lead female in 36:30. It was unreal. Then, guess what? She CRUSHED leg 1 and showed up about 5 minutes before I was expecting her! Crazy girl held an 8:26 average pace and set a huge PR for that distance. I grabbed the baton and was off.
I already posted about my run on DailyMile and I don't want to re-post a bunch of it here, because frankly, it really sucked. I know starting in the middle of the 8:20/8:30 pace pack really messed with my head because I started way too fast (there were high 8s and low 9s the first 1/2 mile) and then when EVERYONE is passing you, it's pretty defeating. I felt like I was slow and in everyone's way. I also was running immediately into all the hills without much of a warm up. My legs (and my head) were pretty much trashed 2 miles in so once I hit the bigger hills, I was done. I even made a stop at the first aid station for sunscreen because I didn't put any on at zero:dark:30 in the morning and my entire 8.8 miles were going to be in direct sun. I walked so many times that I seriously thought about just sitting down. Between my head, the heat (it had gotten into the high 50s/low 60s by the time I started), and the hills, I was beat down and really discouraged. After Corey did so great on the first half, I completely tanked the 2nd half.
|All those blue dips down were the times I walked. Fail.|
Once we hit the flat sections again about 6 miles into my run, I started to get bad cramps in my legs and even took Gatorade at about the 14 mile mark (my 7ish). I could not will my legs to move and was getting really pissed at myself. I'd watched the 8:30, 9:00, and 9:30 pace teams pass me and I was determined NOT to see the 10:00 pacers. I really wanted to maintain under an 11:00 pace for this run and I failed. I averaged an 11:07, but when I looked back at my Garmin data, it looks like when I was moving, I was running at a pretty good clip - definitely in the 10s with some 9s. Just all those walk breaks screwed me.
|seeing my splits with "best pace" breakdown made me feel a bit better|
I managed to pull it together somehow and ran my last .8 miles at almost the same pace I ran my first mile. Nothing like bringing the horse into the barn - even on the stupid uphill last 1/4 mile to the finish line. I crossed the finish and went to the girls handing out medals. They told me the relay ones were all the way at the end where I had to turn in my baton. Did you forget? I'd been carrying that f*cking baton for almost 9 miles! I wandered up and down the finish shoot and never saw where to get our medals but I did find a banana. Everything else I saw was stuff I wasn't supposed to eat. I also saw another relay girl wandering and looking lost and confused. We finally found someone who directed us to a tent OUTSIDE the finish area where we got our medals and ditched our stupid batons.
I ran my 8.3 miles in 1:37:11. A very disappointing 11:07 pace. I met up with Glen in the finisher area and then a couple minutes later, Mike showed up. Corey had gone back to the hotel to shower so I got in line to get my free beer (a gross Michelob Ultra because by the time my slow ass finished there were out of anything better) and bitched about my race to my friend Pete.
Overall, Team Made in Michigan did really well. We even managed to place 1st in our AG (however they figured that out) and since the team was listed under my name, I had a bunch of friends messaging me that I got first in my AG. Um, NO. That was just some weird fluke in how they reported the scores. I will never see a "1" by my name again though, and honestly, I don't like it in this instance. The relay results should have been listed by team name - not by team captain or however they chose to do this. Now, I have a bunch of people thinking I ran a 25k at a 9:60 pace (also dumb - isn't that a 10:00 pace???), which is a total lie. I didn't run this, Team Made in Michigan did. We finished in the top 30% or so for all-women teams and just under 50% overall. Considering how badly I tanked, it's a wonder we weren't DFL.
|Loved the shirt design but it's HUGE. Last year they ran small|
so I sized up this year. Big mistake and I'll never wear a shirt
I paid extra for now.
After the race, we headed back to Corey and Glen's hotel to shower while they hung out at the post-race party. We met up with them for lunch at San Chez, which is one of my favorite restaurants ever and even more so now since they brought me the most incredible gluten free bread. The food, my bloody mary and Corey's bubbly were pretty great too. So, other than a crappy run for me, this was a really nice weekend. I'm not sure I'll ever run the 25k relay again because I wasn't crazy about the whole finish line crap and running with runners way above my pace, but at least I went out there and ran almost 9 miles of hills in the blazing sun and got to hang with Corey and Glen in the process.
Did you run the 5/3 River Bank Run or another race this weekend? How did it go for you?