Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Bill Synder Highway Half Marathon

Okay, so I have always wanted to do this race as it is 1) local and 2)is a big fundraiser for some awesome charities (much like Wicked), and 3) a great way to meet THE Bill Snyder, as he hands out awards and mills about taking pictures with people.  Plus bonus, the race is a point to point race at which you are bused out to the start and then finish at the football stadium, which I think is one of the most gorgeous stadiums ever built.  The first year I was doing too many races to run it, the second year I had a booth for the Wicked (and was also doing too many races in a row), so this year was the year!!!!  Plus, a friend was selling her bib and needed someone to take it so she didn't just loose her money.  I really took it as a sign that it was meant to be.  While I couldn't and shouldn't technically race it since I am still totally in recovery mode, I felt like I could do it, have fun, and take it easy.  Plus bonus, rocking robin was running with me, so I could ride with her to the start and then we could run together!

Got up around 4:45 am, which is super early, but around my usual time for getting up and running.  Robin was by shortly to pick me up and head to the start.  Coffee and belvitas for me.  I did make a flat michelle the night before, but totally slacked and did not get a pic.  The weather was suppose to be cloudy but 55-60, but just in case, I wore a tech T with my gypsy runner arm warmers, pro compression calf sleeves, my gypsy runner shorts, my new headsweat's hat (now being carried by gypsy runner), and my brook's jacket.  I also decided to carry a drop bag (provided by the race) and coat myself in Trail toes,  because I am still being brave and wearing my Juno Moving comfort bra that seriously use to chafe me bloody.  When we left Wamego, it was drizzling and COLD.  I like cold, but I am not a fan of cold + rain, and was having huge flashbacks to my 50 K yet again.

When we reached the buses, we quickly got on the first bus in a line of multiple buses.  Robin made a comment that maybe we should have gotten on the last bus to avoid standing outside in the drizzle and cold, but I just wanted to get to the start.  I hadn't, um, cleaned the system yet, and I knew once I got there, my nerves would kick in and I wouldn't have an issue.  Plus, I had my jacket and some gloves in my drop bag that i could use till time to stay warm.  The bus ride took us out onto I77, near where you get off of the interstate, to a nice area with a field and a bank of porta potties.  No lines for the porta potties yet, so I immediately got in one.  No go.  Sigh.  Anyway, it was pretty cold and windy and still drizzly, so huddled under the tent till we had about 10 minutes to go.  I did have success after the second try in the potty and still didn't have to wait in line, but right after I got out, WOW, the lines were LONG!  

We headed to our pacer that we had decided would be our guide for the race.  Since I had NO goals for this race and wanted to FINALLY do a full race with Robin, we picked the 2:25 pacer.  Her previous PR was 2:30, so anything under that would be awesome.  Plus, we had me the guy while we were huddling and he seemed super cool.  I honestly had no clue what my body was capable of post marathon and post 50 K, plus it has been a LONG time since I have done ANY speed work, but 2:25 seemed like a good safe idea.  Okay, so I had been hearing this was a huge down hill course over and over again. I will admit, I don't mind uphills, but down hills scare me.  My hip still isn't 100 percent and I just don't like going down.  I know, I am weird.  Anyway, while there is a nice down hill at a point in the race, there are still some pretty big rolling hills.  Duh, I should know this, I have driven on 177 numerous times.

I felt like it was a good idea to hold back and darn it, I have never been able to start slow.  We were both good till I saw the porta potties at mile 2.  Gulp.  Yep, that familiar feeling of needing to pee came back. I am seriously going to start peeing in my pants.  I am getting so sick of having to stop.  I really think it is a mental thing, even though I did indeed go and go and go when I stopped. All i had prior to the race was a little bit of coffee.  That is it.  No water and I didn't over hydrate the day before, like I have done in the past.  I made it to mile 4 where I HAD to stop.  I told Robin to go on and actually sprinted a bit ahead of her to get to the bathroom quicker.  Unfortunately, there were only 2 porta potties, and at least 4 people ahead of me for both.  Bummer.  I honestly wanted to go squat behind the cars that were parked there of volunteers, but I didn't want to risk having  something else come out  if you know what I mean.  So i waited.  The funny thing was the front 2:25 pacer also stopped to pee and he was behind me in line.  He was super fast running wise, so I knew he would be able to catch back up, and I was hoping i would as well.  

Look at mile 5.  That is where i stopped and waited.  Then look at mile 6 and 7.  In fact my watch told me I had a new record for the mile, whoops.  In my defense, I am pretty sure that is where the down hill started and I just let gravity do it's thing. Honestly, despite the hills, if the weather were cool again, this would be a GREAT course to try and PR on.  But we all know how weird spring in KS is.  We could have cool, or insanely hot and humid.  Today we cool and drizzly, and I will take it and not complain one bit.

The course meanders through town and campus and I just loved it.  Again, I don't mind hills and the big downhill was actually fun.  We went down 177, around the mall, down poyntz (down town), around city park, through aggieville, all around campus, and finished up by the stadium.  It was nice to not do loops or out and backs for once.  Unfortunately, I lost Robin  for a while, and when I caught up to her around mile 7, she was really struggling and was walking.  I went on without her, and now totally regret it. I had NO goals, so walking was not an issue, and it probably would have helped her to walk with her, but I just took off like an idiot.  I ended up catching up to the 2:20 pacer, who I think thought I was previously part of his group, and was cheering mightily to get me to catch up to him.  I complimented him and told him how awesome he was at motivating, and while I had no time goal thanks to my previous ultra and marathon, that he really spurred me on to catch up.  He really was a good back pacer, and I got in at 2:20 on the dot, which amazes me since I started out much further back, and stood in line at least 10 minutes in the line for the porta potty.  Yeah for that 8:55 mile LOL!!!!

After the race, we headed out fairly quickly, since we were all cold and tired.  Both of my traveling partners, Mel and Pat had great times.  Pat got a PR and fourth in his age group, and Mel was under 2 hours with a 1:55 and change.  I had to ride back with them because post running, Robin had a wedding to attend.

I did have time to change out my race shirt, which was women's cut and waayyy to small at the size I had requested, got some chocolate milk, which I spilled all over myself, and a water and a banana.  We also stopped at the coffee shop where I got my well earned grasshopper mocha WITH whipped cream.  I would definitely do this race again and highly recommend it!  I know the weather is fickle this time of year and we got lucky this year, BUT the scenery and the point to point course makes it well worth it, even with less than ideal weather!  Thanks Manhattan Running Company for putting on a very awesome race!  I hopefully will be back next year to race again!

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