Thursday, April 14, 2016

Goat Mt. Gallop Half Marathon (4/9/16)

**Nothing like writing an entire race recap and then losing it to the Internet goblins. Yay.**

If you're looking for a gorgeous, hilly, challenging, half marathon, I've got just the race for you!

Last year's three-races-for-$89 deal introduced us to the Molalla Running Club. We had such a great time at all three events that we had to sign up again.
First up: Goat Mt. Gallop Half Marathon on April 9. The race starts at tiny Colton High School and ends at Molalla High School - with a bunch of hills in between. You park at Molalla and ride a shuttle to Colton. Our bus broke down on the way - steam/smoke pouring out the back - adding to the day's adventure. Fortunately, the first bus circled back and picked us up at a gas station. Crisis averted.

We used the indoor bathrooms before walking up the hill to the start line. There were just over 50 of us - fun little crowd!

I often do well the first time I run a course. A lack of knowledge and expectations keeps me casual, and I go with the flow. When I return for a second try, nerves and expectations take over, and sometimes my mental game suffers. 

Last year's race went surprisingly well. But this year, I'm mid-training cycle for a flat May half marathon so I'm not in great shape right now for those hilly long miles. I didn't want my brain to sabotage this attempt, so I planned to run by feel.
I kept my pace comfortable through the uphill start and the first hilly miles, slowing on the ups and picking up speed on the downs. As planned, I walked twice on the monstrous mile 5 hill. Things were going well until about mile 9 when the course flattens. I was tired and couldn't push the pace like I hoped. In fact, I couldn't hold my pace. Miles 9-10 felt SO long!

After we all settled in at the beginning, no one passed me. Even while walking up the big hill, I held off Orange Guy and Gray Guy. But both men passed me, along with a woman, in mile 10. Gray Guy was just a few steps ahead as we approached the mile 11 hill. My plan from the beginning was to walk up to conserve energy. But Gray Guy dropped back and told me he wasn't going to let me walk - we'd run it together. I should have stuck with my race plan, and my only disappointment from the day is giving in. Todd (we did brief introductions) was just trying to be nice and supportive. But running up that hill did me in, and I never recovered.

My 2016 splits:
  • Mile 1: 9:50
  • Mile 2: 9:15
  • Mile 3: 9:14
  • Mile 4: 9:47
  • Mile 5: 9:02
  • Mile 6: 12:39
  • Mile 7: 9:13
  • Mile 8: 9:27
  • Mile 9: 9:56
  • Mile 10: 9:53
  • Mile 11: 10:45
  • Mile 12: 10:43
  • Mile 13: 10:01

My first miles were a bit faster than last year. But where I sped up during last year's miles 9 and 10, this year I slowed. And my last year I was able to pick it back up after the mile 11 hill. Because I ran this time, I just didn't have anything left. Totally my mistake - I know better. Lesson learned for next time.

I did what I could in the last miles and finished in 2:10:27. I tried so hard to catch Todd in the final push but just missed:
Brad was waiting at the finish line to snap a couple pics as I sucked wind:
Brad and I both took a few minutes longer this year. I looked at results from a few others who also ran last year, and everyone seemed to be off a couple minutes. Interesting. It was warmer - maybe that contributed. Finishers' medals this year!!
After putting on some warm clothes, we headed inside for pancakes! YUMMO!
Overall, I'm happy with this race. I did what I could that day, given my training level and weather and such. I had fun running on a beautiful, difficult course, and only missed my time by 2 minutes. A PR is always nice, but having fun is more important :) I also learned a valuable lesson about sticking with my race plan. I know what I'm doing out there - I need to trust my experience and planning.

As before, the race was great! It's well marked and organized and supported with sheriff's deputies, volunteers and bicycles. However, the first aid station at mile 3 did not have water. I turned down the Gatorade for fear of upsetting my stomach and then regretted that decision when the next aid station wasn't  until the top of the giant hill at mile 6. Customarily, aid is every 2 miles, and water is always an option. I will likely carry my own water next year to make sure I have what I need. 

Also, the aid was several times on the opposite side of the road, forcing us to cross over. Not good planning.

Otherwise, it was a good day and a good race!

My stats:
My official time was 2:10:27, a 9:57 average pace. My TomTom watch had the course a little short at 13.04, so my GPS average was 10:00 on the nose.

I was 12/30 among females, 5/10 in my age category 35-39 and 2/6 in my division! Brad also finished 2nd in his division!

I love race swag:
Half marathon #23 in the books! :)

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