Let me start by saying that is the third mile of the Lumberjack Endurance Run I swore off road racing. Pounding down paving lost its luster as I whipped through the forest and down muddy trails that weekend in April. While I am not changing my plans and suddenly scheduling road marathons again, I am glad to have made the trek to Chicago for the 2011 Rock'n'Roll half marathon.
This race went like most, through the streets of a great American city. When not thinks about pace and breath rate I was marveling at the architecture and people. Racers came in all shapes and size - one dude with a pink mohawk and short-shorts - as well as assorted homeless people. At various points along the course the sidewalks were either deserted or packed with throngs of spectators.
As most of the racers experienced on Sunday morning, GPS devices were largely useless amid the skyscrapers and under heavy skies. I resorted to using the clock function alone and running by feel.
My training has suffered of late due to my broken toe and the unbearable South Carolina humidity. The week leading up this race was horrific. My running form matched the weather. Yet by the morning of the race temperatures were in the low sixties and rain threatened the entire time we were on the course. Needless to say this fellow was nearly hypothermic post-race.
Any runners would be advised to watch their step in the downtown Chicago area. The roadways are pockmarked and the bridges are mostly metal grating - Vibram runners must tread lightly to avoid getting "bitten".
My projected finishing time afforded me a starting position in the second corral, a mere twenty yards off the starting line. The pre-race highlight was seeing former NFL running back and member of multiple Super Bowl winning teams as a San Franscisco 49er, Roger Craig.
As the race got underway and the field spread thin I was able to pace myself off a few other runners and try to maintain view of a few in particular. I recall one very short woman with a wildly flailing right arm. The final three miles was a near dead straight run to the end with the finish line visible for over a half mile, if not longer. At some point after the final turn into the last three miles I was nearly dead on my feet. The pace was unrealistic for my recent training. However I remembered the new wristband I was wearing for the weekend and decided doing "epic shit" did not include walking. So on I ran.
I had not intention of picking off other runners as I approached the finish, but I used them to keep my pace up and slingshot myself across the timing pad.
The recorded splits per the tracking system were:
5k - 20.52 or 6.43/mile
10k - 42.13 or 6.48/mile
10mi - 1.08.45 or 6.52/mile
13.1mi - 1.30.56 or 6.52/mile
My placement results were:
235th of 15259 total runners
190th of 5779 male runners
30th of 901 males 35-39 AG
Needless to say, I am blown away by this effort. I was never nervous. I was never doubtful. Maybe that is due to the fact I came into this race with absolutely no expectations. "Epic shit" was done indeed.