Sunday, May 18, 2014

Marion Arts Festival Half Marathon 2014 - Marion, Iowa - Saturday, May 17, 2013

If you could ever have a super perfect day for running, this day would be that day.  Jason and I woke up around 5ish a.m. to start getting ready for our long run.   I heard the usual from him, "Why did you sign me up for this?"  I laughed.  He always says that and then he will continue all morning and throughout the run saying things like that until we are done, then he is very happy.

The weather was perfect.  The wind was only 3-5 m.p.h.  It was sunny for once since a week ago.  All we've had is rain and cold lately, so seeing the sun was so nice.  It was cold, when I say cold, perfect running cold.  The morning started out around 38 degrees, and for May in Iowa, that is really crazy.  By race start it was around 45, maybe colder.  I had chosen a tank to run in because I knew it was warming up to low 50's and I'd get hot, plus my compression sleeves on my legs, shorts and then I put my running skins over my shorts.  Now this is where I went wrong.  My legs got warm, thankfully not too warm.  However, I didn't need the extra skins on.  I could have ran the entire way in shorts with that warm sun out.

Jason and I ran together.  I felt amazing and I felt I could run his speed now, so we ran together.  This was nice to help each other along.  We started out WAY too fast though with a 9:21 mile pace.  Now if this was a 5K, then that would have been fine, but we still had 12 more miles, so we needed to pull back a little.
At mile 5 we heard a rooster make it's cock a doodle do noise and I said, "Jason, even the roosters are here cheering us on."  At mile 7 there was a long hill of over .50 of a mile.  It was a hard climb and slowed us a little.  Mile 8 was up and down hilly.  Mile 9 was mostly downhill and we had one of our fastest miles of the race.  Mile 10 we both felt calf pain and decided to take 10 second to stretch each leg.  Mile 13 I was falling apart, especially in the last mile that was mostly uphill.  I was complaining that my body hurt outloud.  Jason said to me, "Michelle, everyone hurts right now."  We pushed to the end and finished great.

The awesome thing was I beat all my mile splits from the race 2 weeks prior, except for mile 9 and 13, this time my mile 9 was 2 seconds slower, and mile 13 was 14 seconds slower, still pretty consistent with most of the mile splits in the 9 minute something range.

By mile 9 we both knew if we could keep up this amazing pace then we would both get new Personal records, and we did.   My individual race results are HERE!  Jason's individual race results are HERE !

Full results are HERE!

Great things about this race:
1.  It started on time
2.  There was a option to get a dry fit shirt or not.  I choose to save money and just get the cotton one.
3.  Chip timed with a built in chip on your bib so you don't have to worry about giving your chip back.
4.  Bib for your scrapbook
5.  Plenty of food after the race to re-fuel
6.  The weather was perfect. (Race directors LOVE this)
7.  Accurate times yelled out at EVERY mile split.
8.  Plenty of water stops.
9.  Packet with goodies in it like a granola bar, fruit treats, chapstick, lots of race advertisements, samples of Bio-freeze, Advil, Leg Cramp.
10.  Ton of volunteers everywhere.  Even the Mormons showed up to help
11.  Finishing medal

Things that could be improved:
1.  HEED at the water stops.  Sick, this stuff needs thrown out.  It doesn't taste good and everyone complains about it.  As one racer we overheard saying, "This tastes just like the stuff they make you drink before a colonoscopy.
2.  Take the hills away, there were quite a few of them.  Ha
3.  Nothing more, it's such a great race and worth traveling to.

Two years ago I ran this race and my time was 2:32:05.  This year my time was 2:09:04.   This was a 23 minute 1 second improvement on this course!  Such a great day and here are some pictures:
Jason and I before the race.   See how we are dressed in long pants and sweatshirts/jackets.  It was COLD for May.

Elder Ellsworth and Elder Elder.   We were so happy to see them volunteering for this race.  Elder Ellsworth used to be in our ward (congregation) and had dinner at our house a few times.  It was great to him again.  This race had many of the "Mormon Helping hands volunteers" helping out.  How nice of them to get up super early.

This is something you RARELY see.  A missionary name tag with ELDER ELDER.  Super cool.

Post race with our medals on.  Happy to be done.

Home in our race shirts that we earned after taking a shower and relaxing a bunch.  My shirt was WAY too big.  Should have gotten a small, cause I was swimming in this shirt.  Hope it shrinks a ton.

Jason's bib, finishing medal and instant race stats.

Michelle's bib, finishing medal and instant race stats.
Close up of the awesome looking finishing medal!

Back of the shirt with all the sponsors listed.  I feel this is important on a race shirt.  All of the sponsors do tons to make a race happen and should be recognized on the shirt in my opinion.
A variety of fun things in the race packet.  There was a sample of Advil as well, but I already took it.

Our race splits:

Mile 1.    9:21
Mile 2.    9:42
Mile 3.    9:37
Mile 4.    9:44
Mile 5.    9:33
Mile 6.    9:44
Mile 6.55    there were timing mats that said:  1:03:12
Mile 7.   9:53
Mile 8.  10:02
Mile 9.   9:36
Mile 10.  10:16
Mile 11.  9:55
Mile 12.  9:57
Mile 13.  10:07
.19 on my Garmin watch we had an 8:55 pace going
2nd half of race was 1:06:10   so as you can see we slowed down by 3 minutes for the 2nd half of the race.

Race final time at end of 2:09:04  

I beat my personal half marathon record by 7 minutes 26 seconds.   Jason beat his record by 1 minute 5 seconds!

Such a sweet day!  


The Duke said...

Wow! that's a huge improvement in time for you Michelle! Sounds like it was a really good run.
Congratulations to both of you. You have far more fortitude than I would ever be able to pull out of my mind or body - ever.

Michelle said...

Hi Chris, Yes it was a huge improvement for me. It was the perfect day for weather and how my body felt. I didn't hurt while running until the last 3 miles and those pains were minor. I'm hoping that for our marathon that the weather turns out as awesome as the weather was for this race.