Slacker Half Marathon Race Report
The afternoon of the Bolder Boulder, I started researching local races. I read about the Slacker Half Marathon, and then a few days later a Groupon deal came out lowering the price to only $25. I jumped at it!
I’ve been running, but nothing too targeted for the distance. Yesterday I actually didn’t even fuel very well: I had a dirty chai, frozen yogurt and a beer! (in addition to healthier options). I didn’t really have a great goal going into the race, roughly my plan was “run by feel, ideally sub-8s”.
I woke up at 5, got out of bed at about 5:15 to be on the road by 5:45. I ate an Ezekiel English muffin with peanut butter, and stopped at Starbucks for an old favorite, a white chocolate mocha with two pumps of hazelnut (I did make it nonfat, but I barely think that matters). I was excited for the drive, as I listened to the Endurance Planet podcasts to get myself in the zone. I was also careful to drink plenty of water as I didnt want to make the same mistake I did at the Bolder Boulder.
Parking for the race was right off the highway and really well organized. I grabbed my number and waited for the portapotty, and grabbed one of the last two buses to the start. I’d checked the forecast and it had predicted 50 at the start, so I’d worn a tank top and compression shorts, my arm sleeves and gloves. I also wore a long sleeved shirt I planned to take off before the race. Well, I’d guess it was actually closer to 70 than 50 at the start, so I left my arm sleeves and gloves with the long sleeved shirt. Soon enough I was packed up by the start. I don’t say “lined” up because it was really just a big mass of people, and because I was there not-early, I was sorta tucked in beside some folks. The race was chip-timed, so I wasn’t too worried about jockeying for position before the start.
The race started a bit late, to the dismay of many of the folks standing around me. But eventually we were off!
I don’t know how many of these folks are usually road racers, b/c I felt their race etiquette on a narrow path wasn’t great. The first 5 miles or so were on a paved bike path, which really could only take about 4-5 people across. People didn’t seem aware of the “stay to the right unless passing” rule that I think trail runners get really good at. It was a bit frustrating (and a waste of energy) to be trying to duck around someone plodding along sorta-kinda-on-the- left-but-with-not- quite-enough-room-for- one-person-to-pass- on-that-side. But after a couple miles of that, the runners thinned out and it became more about just running.
M1: 8:14 – dodging people as we ran through the parking lot before even hitting the path.
M3: 7:15 – a runner I’d had my eye on asked me my pace. When I told her abut 7:30s, she said she was going to stick by me. And then she took off.
The race only had listed water stops every couple miles, and on a warm day like today, I probably should have been carrying. Thankfully, it looked like most participants were in the same (dry) boat.
M5: 7:19 I didnt pay too much attention to my watch during the run, though I knew I was going at a decent clip. But that’s what a downhill race will do to you! The course was treelined and beautiful for the first few miles, and I felt so at peace.
M6: 7:57 I was glad I’d reviewed the course elevation at least a bit, because I knew there was a little “bump” around this time. Again, I marveled at the joy of the half marathon distance and the fact I was half done!
M7: 7:22 About here, I caught up with the girl who’d said she wanted to pace off me. I cruised by her on an uphill, and she exclaimed “oh good!”. (apparently she realized her pace had been faster than she wanted?) I never saw her again.
M8: 7:33 At this point the excitement of the run was starting to wear off a bit, and running on the hot pavement with no shade was starting to wear on me. But knowing there were only five miles to go was great!
M10: 7:38 We did a bit of a switchback and were blasted with a headwind. A gal in Team Snickers gear sailed by me, one of the few to pass me in the second half of the race.
M11: 7:15 With a couple miles to go, we returned to bike trails, and I smelled the barn. I pounded past some folks, eager to reach the finish. There is also a 4-mile race associated with this event, so now we saw their mile markers as well as our own. It just felt like things were passing quickly
M12: 6:59 I looked at my watch: 1:28. I knew my PR was 1:38:44, so I had 10 minutes to run 1.1 miles. 🙂 I was cruising and felt great!
M13: 8:09… and then I wasn’t. The last mile was a series of twists and turns through town, and it was really tough not to know how far there was. The roads were dirt and rocky, and they felt like they went on forever. Yes, I actually stopped and walked a moment. I think the rest of the race was so serene and straight-forward I’d been on auto-pilot, and now these twists and turns jarred me out of my mental state. When I stopped, I turned around and there were no females in sight, so I let myself catch my breath. In retrospect, I wish I’d have seen a female b/c I know I would have pushed!
.1: 5:29 pace. So, I did push at the end. Thankfully some guy put on the gas in the final stretch and so I hung with him. The crowd loved it! I think he beat me to the timing mat, but come on, his legs were probably 5 inches longer than mine! I noticed the timing clock as we came in: 1:37:50. Even gun time was a PR, and I knew my chip time would be even better!
According to the results posted shortly thereafter, I placed 4th in my AG, with a time of 1:37:27. The after-race party was fun, with freezie-pops, and local non-profits offering up beer, soda, hot dogs and fruit for donation. I hung around for a little while, and then grabbed the shuttle back to the car. What a great day!
So, this is the fastest time I’ve ever covered 13.1 miles, but I know the elevation drop surely helped. However, it’s still my legs that withstood the pounding, and there were plenty of little uphills through the course. I was actually really proud with how I handled them, I tended to pass a lot of people on the ascents without pushing too hard.
The course was really gorgeous (although a little warm – that can’t be helped), and well-organized. I’d definitely do it again!
I’m really happy with how the race went and I’m excited to see what the rest of the year holds. I just feel like I keep getting stronger and stronger, even without doing a ton of running. I think the faster workouts are really paying off… the next step is to make sure I am getting in the long runs I need to. This August I have the Pikes Peak Double, and I’m seriously considering the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge – but both of those require time on my feet!