No, I wasn’t Raptured. I stood out there ten yards past the finishing mats with my head thrown back, arms extended, and my shorts around my ankles (don’t ask why) and…nothing. No Rapture. Not even a slightly uplifting breeze to move me from a “leans left” to a “tilt right”. Just a few angry, jeering shouts such as “Get out of the way, you fool!”, “Look at this idiot!” and “You call that a penis?”
It was cold out. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
The weather was darn near perfect. The Bayshore races, oddly enough, take place along the shore of a bay. For the half marathon, they bus you out 13 miles to the middle of a farmer’s field where a mini shanty town of chilly runners spring up in the hour before the race. Then, you run back in from the peninsula. The hard straw is crunchy beneath the feet and the naturally growing ground brownies aren’t nearly as delicious as they sound. Very oaty. The buses pull up every few minutes depositing more shivering runner’s into the crisp, cool 50 degree morning air. The runner’s were dancing side to side trying to keep warm and chattering their chatterboxes while the cows mooed anxiously in the next corral. Everyone likes hamburgers and I think they knew it.
Grand Traverse peninsula: Home of wineries, cherry trees, and animal feces
It’s not exactly Hopkinton but it is a unique and charming race environment: The beautiful Grand Traverse Bay on one side and a myriad of cherry trees and livestock on the other. No one felt out of place pissing on the straw and cherry trees* either, which was nice. The rain pelted down in the final 30 minutes leading into the start of the race and I thought I was in for a wet one (t.w.s.s) After the national anthem two minutes before the race started, the hard rain gave way to a light, cooling mist. Really, it couldn’t have been more perfect. This mist held up for the duration of the half marathon. It was like someone running next to you the entire way with one of those misting fan bottles surrounding you in a cocoon of cooling breezy air. Damn, if I could bottle that race day weather, I would.
I won’t bore you with text of the mile by mile breakdown. Let’s just say that the race unfolded precisely as I had desired. I can’t follow a disciplined pace plan in a 5k, 10k, or marathon but, for some reason, half marathons I nail right to plan. Example? I targeted 59:40 at nine miles. Actual? 59:37. Also, I wanted slightly descending mile split times, starting easy for the first 3-4 miles, and then picking up the pace. I wasn’t nearly as consistent in my splits as last September’s half marathon but, overall, right to plan.
My goal was to beat 6:40 per mile pace and make Harold Camping appear the fool (again).
Here, in all of their glory, is my mind numbingly boring race splits (for my personal posterity):
Mile 01 6:43
Mile 02 6:49
Mile 03 6:45
Mile 04 6:41
Mile 05 6:25
Mile 06 6:37
Mile 07 6:31
Mile 08 6:29
Mile 09 6:37
Mile 10 6:37
Mile 11 6:33
Mile 12 6:39
Mile 13 6:27
Last bit 5:58 pace (46 seconds)
Numbers? Yes, numbers:
13.11 miles (Garmin sez 13.13 miles)
26th of 1652 overall
5th of 86 in age group
A new PR by 66 seconds! (drum roll, cymbal crash, and update my side bar…eventually). To be fair, my Garmin measured this course at a more accurate 13.13 miles compared to my race last September which recorded a 13.29 distance and led to me making all sorts of derisive comments about the length of the course. So, if you consider the .16 difference in Garmin between the races and a 66 second PR, realistically, I’m probably running about the same as I was last September. But, you can only run the course presented right? So, a PR is a PR! And now you know why I stood past the finishing mat with my arms out and pants down. In other words, I was in “PR pose”.
Overall, I am very pleased how this race turned out. Of the dozens of races I have run, there are only a handful where you feel completely satisfied afterwards…I had a plan, I followed it, the weather was perfect, I felt strong, PR resulted! Besides the lingering taste of ground brownie in my mouth, everything went right to plan.
Except the Rapture. Oh, and Camping’s prediction was wrong again.
Eventually I sheepishly pulled my pants back up and wandered through the refreshment line to grab some cookies (with a few eye rolls and “ewwww”s from the volunteers) and headed to my car. While I was enraptured with the results, I wasn’t Raptured. Enough were, however, to leave me in 5th place and awarded an age group medal.
Into the drawer it goes!
*Remember that the next time you buy tart cherries. They may just have been hydrated by hundreds of pre-race jittery runners. That’s what gives them the unique flavor.
Stay tuned next for a secondary race report about the rampant sexism I encountered while running this race. If you are easily offended, you’ll no doubt be horrifically offended by the off-color way in which I discuss this sensitive topic!