Today was the Vancouver Lake 1/2 Marathon and it's been about 10 years since I ran this event. It makes me feel old when I can talk about races in past tense with double digits. Back then this event was a PR for this distance and today it was same....a PR. 10 years ago I ran this in 1:42:?? and today it was 1:36:18. I guess it pays to older :).
The temperature was cold and the fog was thick but that just meant no rain and NO WIND! Vancouver Lake can have wind so the low lying fog meant we would have none today. Driving out to the lake was a bit of challenge since we were lost right of the bat. Not an unusual story when Stacey and I are in the same car but this time we at least left with directions. Before leaving my house we downloaded Mapquest instructions and followed them perfectly into a dead end street lined with houses, not a lake. We turn around and continue to drive aimlessly which is another trait of the Ronda/Stacey combination but with Trisha in the back seat looking at a map it became clear we were no where near our destination. We pull off and a very young man happened to be getting in his car. Stacey rolls down her window to ask for directions but instead of giving us the twists and turns he escorted us there. Again not surprising because this stuff happens to Stacey and I every time we leave our house together. We are laughing while Trisha seemed concerned because we are following a complete stranger without question and because he is young enough to be one of our kids, aaaannnnnd his driving speed was excessive for us old ladies. He drove us all way to the lake entrance where on arrival he rolled down his window while in the middle of a U turn, points to the entrance which was very obvious because 10 race volunteers and a dozen porta poties lined the street....yells, "here it is", then squeals off. Funny stuff!
We locate the check in, grab our bibs and head off for the warm-up. Trisha wanted to do her warm up in the car but we convinced her our method was better. Last minute potty stops and we line up. Right up front with the fast people Stacey and I get ready to give it our all. Off we went for a 1.5 mile out and back. My heart rate monitor is blinking 136 forever meaning there wasn't enough moisture to create a good connection. Without a heart rate all I have is mile markers to gauge my effort for the first 4 miles. My first mile was 6:58, the second 7:05 and the 3rd 7:11. Way too fast so I slow a bit trying to find my 7:20-7:25 pace. I could tell it was going to be a good day because I was having to hold back for the first 6 miles which were averaging around 7:17. Finally I had created enough sweat to get my heart rate monitor to give a solid reading but it was only 169! I gave it a mile or so and saw 171, 173, 170 so I knew the numbers were good. I should be around 174-176 so I had some room. I tried to pick it up but was still getting 7:17 maybe 7:14. As I left the 8 mile marker I was feeling good and strong and knew I could hold this pace to end. I was pretty pumped because I had room in the work zone meaning I could push 175 in the end easily. As I came to the turn I was expecting to see the 9 mile mark soon but after my watch clicked over to 7:30 I thought they must not have put out a 9 mile marker. I just kept chugging along then low and behold here it is! The 9 mile marker was right in my face but my watch said 8:30......what???....no way....impossible......my HR was 173 and above. Oh well, maybe it wrong so I won't take the split and wait for 10. Here comes the 10 but still my watch said 7:15 which was more like it. Bummer! That turn was in the wrong spot! I kept pushing and pushing hoping to miraculously have a short mile marker to make up for the mistake but it never came. At mile 11 I stopped hoping for the short marker and pushed up to 175 to make a decent time. The miles were still clicking off at 7:16 and the last mile at 7:14. I crossed in 1:36:18 or 7:21 per mile. Russ was at the finish and I immediately asked him if the cone was mis-placed and he said he thought it was. I figure it cost me only about 1 minute and some change but I still had a PR. I got 1st in my age group and the winner was over 40. All of us got mugs for placing in our age groups, fun, fun, fun! This road running is addictive!
As and RD I understand all the hard work and effort that goes into a event especially one that invites more than 350 people. What is so funny is that ultra runners could care less if the course is a bit long or short but man when your running a solid pace and you know what you can do every time a course is not on it's so noticeable. I don't really care but I love how much I have become aware of my pace/effort combination. Honestly it doesn't vary that much unless the course has hills. Since was pancake flat there is nothing that would explain a sudden 8:30 at the same workload......I just love that! It's like having a perfect speedometer attached to your BODY!
Another bonus was this race came on the heals of that gruelling 40 miler last weekend and I would have never known it! My body bounced backed so nicely. My mental outlook was great too so plus, plus, plus all around. We had our usual great time and we were treated by Sean M who came up to run after running the 31 mile Madass in Madras, OR yesterday. He was 13th boy! Seems his 30 miler barely made a dent in his speed. Way to go Sean! I predict a speedy WS100M this year for him.
It's getting close to OC100K and I believe I have a 30 mile pace run this Saturday just to be followed by a 20+ miler on Wednesday. This means I will only have a 10 day taper which is a new concept we are going to try. I guess there is some studies that show this might be an option for long distance running vs. the general 14 day taper. I am game for the trying new things so we will see if this works!