Posted by: deerharas | November 2, 2010

Why President Obama Is to Blame for My “Official” Half Marathon Time

Well, it’s over.  12 weeks of training culminated in Sunday’s “Monster Dash,” Jayme’s first half marathon and my third.  If I had to sum up the morning in two words (alliterative, of course) those words would be “awesome” and “awful.”

Saturday night I got an email from the race coordinators informing all participants that “due to circumstances beyond their control,” there had been a last minute course alteration.  Instead of beginning in Grant Park and heading south along the lakefront and back, we would instead be running north and back.  I looked at the new course map and was actually pleased; it appeared that there would be a bit more variety and better scenery as the race would still begin in Grant Park but wind up past Navy Pier and up to Lincoln Park before turning back south.

I mentioned in my previous post that Jayme and I had a somewhat audacious half marathon goal for our time.  The hope was to break two hours.  Which, looking at our training long runs wasn’t out of the question, but also was a bit of a stretch.  Especially considering that we walked some on those runs.  But, what fun is a goal if it’s not somewhat out of reach?  🙂

In an effort not to get caught behind people running a slower pace and thus having to play “dodge and pass the runner,” we lined up in between the 8:00 minute and 8:30 minute pace corrals, meaning if anyone was getting dodged or passed, it was gonna be us.  🙂  Also, this put us closer to the start which allowed us to cross the starting line around 30 seconds after the gun went off.

One of the best things about running over the past two years has been my watch.  I love my Garmin.  I don’t have GPS for my car, but my GPS watch can tell me exactly how far I’ve run to a hundredth of a mile.  I appreciate not having to be dependent on the course’s mile markers, especially considering that #1, they were off, and #2, there were no time counters anywhere on the course.

Despite the lack of usual race amenities, the run as a whole was great.  Optimal running weather (temps in the high 30s, mid 40s) and not very windy except right on the lake.  I had some great tunes* thanks to your fabulous suggestions.  I timed my playlist at exactly two hours so that as soon as “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” came on, I’d know it’s time to end this thing.  🙂

We kept a pretty good pace most of the race, despite two bathroom breaks.  I was so proud of Jayme!  Man, that girl pushes me to the limit.  Honestly, the whole race was hard for me.  Come mile 9, I wasn’t sure I could keep it up, but Jayme was fast and steady.  I don’t know; there’s something about the Hufstedlers and competition.  🙂  So I plodded along beside her, my spirits lifting around mile 11 when we passed the two hour pace group.  According to my watch, our overall pace was decreasing and decreasing to where it looked as though we’d make our goal with room to spare.

At mile 12 Jayme nudged me, a huge smile on her face.  “One more!”  Or so we thought.  We picked up the pace a bit, anticipating only 1.1 more miles of pain.  The last stretch of the race spiraled through Grant Park, making it impossible to see the finish line.  As we were nearing the end, Jayme nudged me again, this time asking how much further.  According to my watch, we had exactly a quarter mile left.  And let me just say, at this point in a half, every hundredth of a mile is huge.  After a couple minutes had passed with still no finish line in sight, she nudged me again.  “WHERE is the finish?”  Looking at my watch, which at this point said we had run 13.2, I had to respond, “I don’t know!  We’re supposed to be done!”

13.44 later, we were done.  And I was NOT a happy camper … or runner.  After grabbing our bananas and chocolate graham crackers, we went to chat with the people at the information tent.  It turns out that the last minute course alteration was due to Obama’s campaigning for Illinois Democrats in Grant Park the day before.  Their choice was either to cancel, shorten, or alter the race course.  They went with alteration, knowing that the last 1.1 mile would in fact be closer to a mile and half.  Grrrr.

The mental anguish of that last “1.1” miles doesn’t irritate me as much as the fact that Jayme and I really did meet our goal, but our “official” time doesn’t reflect it.  According to the race results, we ran a 2:00:47 and 2:00:46 respectively.  We’ll call that our “ultra” half marathon time.  🙂  The amount of time it took us to run an actual 13.1 mile half marathon was 1:57:55.  And for that, we’re pretty proud.

Overall, it was a pretty good day.  I love that I got to spend so much quality time with one of my favorite people both in training and racing.  Lots of memories with that girl … add this one to the list.

*Race day playlist for all interested parties: 🙂
Eye of the Tiger – Survivor (Great start to any race)
Impossible Soul – Sufjan Stevens (Took up almost a quarter of my playlist, but worth it for the auto-tune alone)
Young Folks – Peter, Bjorn & John (If the whistling doesn’t get you pumped, I don’t know what will)
I Want You Back – Jackson 5 (Tracy’s pick for our VB warm up playlist senior year … never gets old)
Gasoline & Matches – Buddy and Julie Miller (Evidently the line is “You and me are gasoline and matches” and NOT “You and me against a leaning mattress”)
Roll Away Your Stone – Mumford & Sons (A banjo song I can run to?  Yes please.)
B.O.B. – OutKast (Commence rap/hip hop segment of race)
Quiet Dog – Mos Def (Simma down, simma down, simma down, simma down now)
Rude Boy – Rihanna (A hard choice between this and “Please Don’t Stop the Music”)
Toxic – Britney Spears (Commence guilty pleasure portion of the race …)
Jesus Is the Only Answer – Bela Fleck (More banjo!  And African harmonies!)
Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson (Ha … what girl hasn’t screamed this one at some point)
Sometime around Midnight – The Airborne Toxic Event  (I’m a sucker for the slow build …)
Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire (Right about this point I was wishing for a car to come and get me …)
Lisztomania – Phoenix (So happy, so poppy)
O Valencia! – The Decemberists (Sad story, but peppy tune)
Elevation – U2 (Randy, be proud!)
Let’s Hear It for the Boy – Deniece Williams (Every running playlist needs some 80s pop)
Single Ladies – Beyonce (Makes most people wanna dance … makes me wanna run)
They – Jem (Gah, the beat on this one …)
To the Dogs or Whoever – Josh Ritter (Fun, fun)
Telephone – Lady GaGa (Okay, this song makes me wanna dance, too …)
Angst in My Pants – Sparks (FABULOUS running song … I always put it on the last minute of my interval workouts)
You Make My Dreams – Hall & Oates (More 80s cheese)
Whip It – Devo (Loved it since 7th grade …)
Cousins – Vampire Weekend (Could there BE a more appropriate running song for Jayme & me?)
It’s the End of the World As We Know It – R.E.M. ( … and I feel FINE!)

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