Race Recap: St Paddy’s Day Half

If you read my training recap for the week, you know that I signed up for the St Paddy’s Day Half in Bolingbrook completely on a whim. As in, about 18 hours before the start of the event. After being unable to get to Nashville for the MCTU, I still wanted to get my race in; and this provided a good option.

I didn’t really take my race morning as serious as I normally do. Considering my breakfast consisted of coffee (duh), waffles, and pop tarts. No bagel and peanut butter, no pre-workout. Also, on a chilly morning (mid 30s) I opted for no warm-up either.

And in the first miles of the race, I could tell I didn’t warm up. My legs felt super heavy, which is in no small part due to having run 15 the day before. Still, I decided to get out just behind the 1:30 pacers and ease into the race.

Within the first mile, I was already getting dropped by that pace group. Very, very quickly I was questioning my decision to run this. If I couldn’t hang with a 6:52 pace in the first mile, it probably meant A) I wasn’t in good shape. and B) It was going to be a long morning.

As the pace group continued to pull away, we crossed Mile 1, and I checked my watch (I don’t have auto lap on) to see how far over 7 minutes I was clearing that mile.

Hit Mile 1 in 6:45.

Wait, what? You’ve all been there before. The pacers got out hot, and I was still ahead of where I envisioned I would be. This was also a massive confidence boost early in the race. Turns out, I wasn’t sucking. At least, not yet.

Per the usual, I took a bathroom pit stop in the second mile, resulting in a 7:08 pace for that one. It’s also worth noting, I’m grabbing my splits off Strava, I had no idea what I was splitting during the race.

Miles 3-6 clicked off at: 6:41, 6:48, 6:44, and 6:48. I had found a groove.

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Me: “Why did I sign up for this??”

At the Aid Station during Mile 7, I grabbed my second water of the day, and quickly pounded my gel. In non goal races (like this one) I’m pretty liberal with the amount of time it takes to grab water and take my gel. Mile 7 still came through at a 7:01.

Here we were setting out on an out and back portion of the course. The “out” portion was either on a 5% downhill grade or flat roads. This settled me back in at 6:49 as we were on our way again.

But what goes down, must come up. The “back” portion going up the hill was far less pleasant. I also grabbed a quick water back at the same AS all in that mile, laying down a 7:07 in what was easily the most challenging mile of the race.

From there it was back along the same path we ran miles 2-5 on. I got passed by a dude who was absolutely hammering this home stretch, and dropped another 6:49 of my own on Mile 10.

The last three miles were easily the toughest on me. My legs were starting to feel this race (and my poor pre-race fueling) along with the 15 from the day before. Slowed a bit the last three, going 6:59, 6:56, and 6:55.

Overall, I came in a shade over 1:30 (27 seconds over…officially). But I raced extremely evenly, and mostly in the high 6:40s, except for my deliberate stops in the race. All that on an unplanned race after 15 the day before was an immense confidence booster.

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Next up, of course, is the Shamrock Shuffle 8k, and the Mile the day before. We’ll see if I can up the leg speed this weekend.

Otherwise, we’re full steam ahead to the Illinois Marathon!!

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