Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rock CF Half Marathon 2013 - Rockin' the Ile

Today I ran on Grosse Ile at the Rock CF Half Marathon. It was my 4th half marathon and the second consecutive year I've done this race.

I greatly enjoyed this race last year and planned early on to do this race again this year. There were many things about this race, for me, that varied from last year's edition. For one, the weather was much cooler. It was relatively warm last year, starting in the low-mid 50's. This year, it was below freezing at the start. The other big difference is was my level of training. Last year, I had a good amount of winter running, was in peak shape (up to that point) and was shooting for a big PR (which I got by over 7 minutes). This year, my winter running could be described as erratic, I had a cold that finally is about gone and I had no real time goal (though I wanted to match my time from last year, if possible). I was hoping that experience would count for something this year.

Me, Kevin, Jeff (Detroit Runner), Ty (This is How Ty Runs) and Steph - SE MI run blogger pals
I arrived at Grosse Ile High School just early enough to park in the lot there. This is much preferred to parking and taking a shuttle, checking gear, etc. Check in was super easy with no line at all. It was great to be able to hang in the gym before the race and there I met up with our run blogger gang.

On Twitter, Kevin and Jeff were discussing their plan for Jeff to pace Kevin to a 1:55 finish. Sounded good to me, so I asked if I could join and they graciously accepted. Based on my training thus far, I knew this would be a bit difficult for me. I've been averaging about 45 miles a month since October and my long run had been only 10 miles.

About 15 minutes before the race we walked over to the middle school where the race was to start. Timing was perfect as we listed to the National Anthem and then were ready to go, but not before Jeff took this picture:

A very tentative thumbs up.
Once we got going, it was nice being able to run with Kevin and Jeff. We were running at a pace where we could talk a bit and Jeff was taking all sorts of pics. When I'm doing a race with spectators, I do think thing where, if they aren't cheering, I make them cheer for me. Sometimes it just takes a wave, but other times, a hearty "Wooooooooo!" is in order. Always works.

Grosse Ile is scenic with it being an island and all. There are huge houses, landmarks, boats, steel mills across the way, and you can see downtown Detroit in the distance.

My race experience, at various points during the race, was as follows:

Mile 1: It's cold, but I feel good!
Mile 3: I'm not cold anymore and I feel great!
Mile 5: I'm doin' fine, but the back of my legs are feeling tired.
Mile 6: Suddenly, I feel kinda crappy, but I can keep going.
Mile 7: Second wind! Feel OK again!
Mile 9: Starting to fade (this is when I told Jeff and Kevin to go so they could meet Kevin's goal).
Mile 10: What's with the clowns? This is disturbing! Cool hanger! Cool car!
Mile 11: If I stop running, I won't start again. The back of my legs hurt really bad.
Mile 12: One. more. mile. These people should not be passing me but I'm helpless to do anything.
Finish Line: I did it! Now to make pointy hand gestures for the camera - it will be a truly ugly and now even more stupid photo! I can't move my face - it is completely frozen. Glad to have this banana - I can barely chew!

I finished in 1:57:15, which is 8 minutes off my PR and about 40 seconds slower than last year. All things considered, it was a good race and I'm glad I ran it. Hopefully, this will be a building block toward a better showing at the Martian Half Marathon in just 3 weeks. Not sure if a PR is even a possibility, but would be happy with a decent improvement.


  1. Looks like we are in the same boat...trying to claw out a couple minutes for Martian over the next 3 weeks :)

  2. bummed that I didn't get to meet up with all of you. Great race, since your training was erratic! I thought the clowns were kind of creepy too haha.

  3. Hi,

    I currently operate, a running blog for adult beginning runners. I recently came across your blog and liked what I saw.
    I see that you also focus on running and have a lot of experience. Next week I’m putting together a blog post about key tips for a beginning runner. Rather, than run through the usual list, about shoes, doctors, and don’t run too fast, I was hoping to get some more unconventional, but truly valuable ideas.

    If you have any tips to share, I would really appreciate it. I’ll be sure they are included in my post, and in return, I’ll be sure to give you and your blog credit for your contribution.

    Thanks in advance!

    Kris Wenzel