Friday, May 11, 2012

The Hometown Half

This past weekend was a pretty damn good one! The tale goes something like this.....

One year ago I ran my first half marathon, the 2011 Borgess Run for the Health of it. I'd run one marathon a couple years before (and it didn't go as planned) but I'd never run a half before. I'm backwards like that from time to time. My first half by all means was a success. I hit my time goal and felt great doing it. I had also begun to make many new friendships in the running community that I'm happy to say have grown ten fold since.

Fast forward to this year and I wanted to run the Borgess 1/2 again. I was really tempted to run the full Kalamazoo Marathon but I decided that I wanted to see just how much I had progressed in the past year. One thing is for sure, even though I have been a runner off and on since jr. high, the experience I've gained in the past 12 months is vastly more than I had before. Since my first half, I've run 2 marathons, 5 half marathons, and a handful of shorter races. I recently even won my first race ever, a local 5k!

So I wanted to know what I could do. How much have I grown, how much have I learned? Well I still aparently haven't learned to tie my shoes...but I'll get to that. Let's back up to Saturday shall we?

I volunteered to work the race expo for Saturday. I'd never volunteered at a race before so I was both excited and nervous going into it, but c'mon how much could I really screw up... They started me off passing out race bibs and shirts to pre-registered runners. This is when I finally got to briefly meet Redhead and Spike! Our pre planning wasn't so extensive. In fact we just decided to keep an eye out for eachother at the expo since they knew I'd be there. Problem is of course as soon as they got there I got hit with person after person wanting their darn bibs! Don't they realize I'm trying to meet people! Jeeze! j/k. So we had a quick hello, Red called me out on shaving my beard...I know, I know I should be whipped! Fear not though it's already begun to fill in nicely.
I got to pass out bibs for a quick bit before being moved over to the late registration table and spent the last 3 hours of my shift there. It was pretty cool and I actually had a lot of fun doing it!

After the expo I headed out to the EPIC Crew pasta party at a fellow runnerd's house in town. We stuffed our faces with carbs and chatted away about past and future races. There was even a man there from Sweden who was invited by Dave our host who had met him at previous marathons. Anders, the Swede is working on marathoning in all fifty states and this weekend he was going to check Michigan off his list. Pretty cool to have someone from across the pond at our humble little shin-dig!

Good Morning EPIC Crew!

The EPIC *ahem* Lady *cough* pacers...well most of them haha
Sunday morning rolled around bright and early. I met up with the rest of the crew at the race. A good number of EPIC members were pacing either the half or full marathons so we decided to meet outside the pacers room for our group shot. The women pacers had pink singlets and the men had orange...well mostly. They apparently ran out of medium mens singlets so rather than go up a size a few of the guys decided to show off their inner femininity and sported some lovely pink pacer singlets! It was rather funny to see them as you might imagine.
And we're off! Start of the 1/2 marathon, Joe is next to me in green, fellow EPIC runner Ryan is in red to Joe's left

I got a nice three mile warm up in with my friend Christen (my coed relay partner from last month) and we made it back to the start/finish area about five minutes before the gun. Perfect timing. We stripped off our warmups, pushed our way to the front of the pack and waited for the magic words. While standing there I had a sudden thought back to my last 1/2 marathon and how my shoe came untied in the first half mile. Not wanting this to happen again I decided to re-tie them then and there...worst. idea. ever. They had already made it 3 miles with no problem so I probably shouldn't eff with them...well I did, and a half mile into the race one came untied. again. grrr!!!! I was running along with my friend Joe and we had planned on sticking together since we had similar time goals in mind but when I was forced to stop and re-tie, a gap opened up between us and I never closed it.

The beginning of the race wasn't all bad though, I spotted Redhead on the side as she was cheering for me so that was awesome and then not long after that I realized that one of the guys right in front of me was my freshmen and sophomore year cross country coach! It was really good to see him and pretty cool to be running with him even if for a short bit after all these years!
Joe and I, stride for stride before the "incident" (Ryan is hiding behind the guy in red shorts)

After the stupid shoe lace debacle I tried pickin up my pace to make up lost time but I just never got all that comfortable. Not like at Martian, maybe it was the higher humidity, the quicker first miles or the couple hills, but I definitely didn't feel as fresh in this race. I managed to keep Joe in sight for the most part though and kept trucking along. Rounding one of the last corners I saw Red with camera in hand and an awesome sign at her feet. I dug for whatever energy I had left ( the steepest hill in the race is in the last 3/4 mile and I was feeling spent) and tried to drop some time for my last mile. I had to sprint my tail off in the final 50 meters to pass two guys and outlast another to the finish.

And going! haha

All in all it was a successful race, my time of 1:25:01 was an improvement from last year by over 7 minutes and within 30 seconds of my PR I set at Martian a couple of weeks ago. It also got me to 21st out of roughly 2300 people (my goal was top 25) and unexpectedly 3rd in my age group! So while I didn't feel all that special during the race, I surely felt great afterwards.
Joe and I decided they're coasters for shot glasses....

Pretty cool medals. I like the cutout runner

I wasn't the only EPIC member to have a great day, we had two women finish first and second in the women's marathon and quite a few placed in their age groups. Nicole, who won the women's race broke the course record by I think 6 minutes! It was a great day all around and I sure enjoyed my day off from work yesterday. I spent my time off finishing book 2 in the Hunger Games trilogy and went for an easy 4 mile recovery run with a couple buddies who also had the day off. A great weekend indeed.

Oh I also found time to go see The Avengers and I must say it was pretty damn AWESOME. For the longest time I wasn't sure it would be any good but I was happily proven wrong. I recommend it if you enjoyed the Iron Man movies.

This weekend I'll be pacing the 8:00 group at the Riverbank 25k in Grand Rapids, so if you're gonna be there let me know and come say hi! Check out the Pacer Profiles!

One last thing... remember Anders, the Swedish runner? Well aparently he writes an official blog for Runner's World Sweden (which I was previously unaware existed) and he posted a couple pictures of the EPIC Crew and talked about us a little in his most recent post which you can check out here! That's right EPIC is goin international!!! haha

Thanks to Red for this picture!

Caught between the shirtless!!!! And I got em both before the checkered flag!


  1. Your running has been great this year! Very nice finish.

    My shoe lace has only come untied once during a race. I didn't want to stop, but I also didn't want the embarrassment of tripping.

  2. Your shoelace come untied and you still managed to kill that race! Well done buddy! Bout time we finally met, however brief it was. :)