One of the perks of being a part of the Oiselle Volée is the instant network of runner girlfriends it connects you with. Part of the reason I made a new Instagram and blog was to be able to communicate with and follow other runners. It serves as a huge inspiration for me!
Back in December, another Bird, Kelly, who is the race director for the Hogsback Half-Marathon in Colebrook, CT, reached out to the Northeast Oiselle Birds and gave us each a promo code for 50% off our race registration. Meaning it was legit $25.50 to register, about a third of the price most races of the same distance are. So who cared that I was in the wee early stages of training for my second marathon, was drowning in our GI theme in my second year of med school, and had no idea what I was going to be doing with my life 9 months from then?! If I couldn’t make it, I couldn’t make it, I told myself.
Luckily, call during my current Peds rotation is only one weekday night from 5-10PM and one weekend call from 6AM-7PM during our two weeks on inpatient. I started with inpatient and got those buggers out of the way, so I was a free lady!
Only a couple hours drive from Albany, Phil picked me up from my house a little before 6:30AM, and we were there by 8:25AM (a little close for our 9AM start time if you ask me, but it ended up being fine). Because we were one of the late arrivers, we did have to park almost a mile from packet pick up. We turned the packet pick up trip into our warm-up, but coming back up the massive hill to the car after the race was a pain in the butt. And the quads. And the calves. You know what I mean!
I ate a heavy pasta dinner at 8:30PM the night before and had a bagel with a generous amount of peanut butter, too, for breakfast, and my stomach was not feeling good at the start. Like. A I kinda have to use the bathroom but I just can’t kinda feeling. (TMI? Perhaps). My nutrition’s been really stinky lately, and it’s definitely something I need to get a handle of.
There were pacers for goal times of 1:40 and up, separated by 10 minutes each. I wasn’t really sure what to expect with my race, but I thought 1:35 was a good goal for the day given the recent food poisoning circumstances, so I joined the small group in front of the first pacing group and tried to exude confidence and speed. I made a promise with myself the night before that I would NOT go out faster than 7 minute pace. Because when you go out too fast, you die and THEN have to crawl the rest of a race and that is not fun at all.
Did I listen to myself? Of course not!
I knew I was moving too quickly, but I tried to reason with myself: I feel as relaxed as I did on my 10-11 minute pace jog yesterday morning! Come on, the next girl in front of you is juuuust there! Are you really going to let that those boys beat you? #lol #jokes #watchwhathappens My watch has an awful habit of logging more distance than I actually run so the splits aren’t exactly accurate, but here’s a glimpse at how that went down:
To be honest, I felt decent the first 9 miles or so. I was cruising on those rolling hills and having a blast catching boys! I started off as the 6th-ish place woman, but knew I was in third by around mile 9. I could see I was gaining on the second place woman, so I set my sights on her and focused. I caught up to her around mile 9-9.5 and began running behind an older gentleman. He shrieked, “Do NOT slow down. Do NOT slow down. PASS ME. DO NOT SLOW DOWN.” Um. I wasn’t gonna, but you’re running freaking fast so I can’t pass you! I didn’t know what to do, so I surged just ahead of him, after which the man said in a news announcer voice (and I kid you not): “You are now the 9th runner and 2nd place woman. The 1st place woman is in 7th place.” What. Is. Happening.
I continued on. I heard the man repeat a similar pleasantry to the, now-third-place woman as she passed him: “You are now the 10th runner and third place woman. The 1st place woman is in 7th place. The second place woman is in 9th place. You guys should work together. The first place woman is dying. You two look strong.” Again. What. Is. Happening. Whatever happened to just having fun?! The weirdness of the situation must have freaked her out as much as it did me because before I knew it we were running side by side, pushing each other over the next mile.
The relentless rolling hills definitely caught up to me, and I lost her just a couple miles before the finish. The last mile was all uphill (in retrospect, was it actually a massive hill or did it just seem like it because we had already run 12 miles?!), and as reflected in my splits, I died. Once we made a left turn at the top, though, I realized I was heading towards the bridge and the finish was right there. I kicked it as hard as I could and not too long after, I had a 7 minute, 20 second PR to my name!
It was a fantastic event. The weather could not have been better with a 50-55ish starting temperature, the scenery was beautiful, and the event went off without a hitch. Phil and I had a great time after our races enjoying the food and just taking in the beauty of the changing leaves of the New England trees. I met a couple of new Bird friends (holla at Michelle and Kelly!), got to know to Cat (the second place woman I had run with for a couple miles; she also happens to be the Radiology Residency Coordinator at Mt. Sinai), and chatted with some other really nice ladies in line for a massage.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t think I was going to PR today (my old PR was 1:41:27 from last fall before I started really running again, and it would have to have been a really, really off day not to), but I would also be lying if I said I wasn’t wishfully hoping for a faster time. Still, after a sucky two weeks of training due to the food poisoning incident, I also can’t say that I’m too upset about the situation. I’m excited to have another chance at a PR at the Mohawk Hudson Half-Marathon in just two weeks!
Hogsback Half-Marathon (Colebrook, CT)
Time: 1:34:07 (7:12 pace) was a PR!
Overall Place: 9/356
Gender Place: 3/223
Age Group (25-29) Place: 2/17