On September 30th, I ran the Brooksie Way Half Marathon and it went exactly as planned, but in some ways it was different than I thought it would be.
I arrived early and got a primo parking space near the porta-potties (not too close thankfully) and was near the race start. This was much better than last year, when we had to take the shuttle in. I wandered around for a while, looking for people I knew and hung out in various tents to keep warm. It would be ideal running weather, but not so much ideal standing around weather.
I found the majority of my Brooksie Way Half Marathon teammates before the race as well as Jeff from Detroit Runner and Matt & Janet from Faster Than a Turtle among others. Once we got ready to go in the corral, we were talking about what we wanted to do in the race. I told everyone I planned to keep between a 8:10 to 8:20 per mile pace, going a little faster at the start and to hang on through the hills to finish below 1:50, my goal from the start of the year.
Soon, the race began and, after the first half mile cluster, things loosened up and I began to hit my stride. I have never felt so good during a race in my life. I was running about 8 min / mile pace for the next couple miles, but I felt like I could have gone so much faster. I think I would have PRed any distance this day and had to reign myself in as not to overdo it.
Felt pretty good for the first 6 miles and then felt the first signs of fatigue in my legs. It wasn't bad and came later than usual, but I thought to myself "So, this is how it's gonna be for the rest of the race." If only I were so lucky...
Paint Creek trail was nice and then you turn onto Tienken, where the hills start. Taken alone, each individual hill is not that bad. They're long but not ridiculously steep. What gets you is that they go on and on for about 4 miles with little relief. Sure, there are the downhills, but they don't make up for the uphills and serve a role in the tiring of legs. By mile 11, I had my energy, I was breathing well, but my legs were in pain. My whole upper leg hurt somethin' fierce. Thankfully, there was no injury, just pretty bad fatigue - even more than I felt during the Crim race.