Another catch-up: Home Run for the Homeless & Berlin Amish Country Half

Another catch-up: Home Run for the Homeless & Berlin Amish Country Half

I’m beginning to realize I’m a horrible blogger.  I think it’s a problem of consistency.  If I blogged as often and as regularly as I ran, I’d be golden.  Alas…

Greetings from San Fran.  I’m here with C for his work (he works, I play, it’s a great thing we’ve got goin’), and this is coming off of two weeks we spent with the wee one in Ohio for Thanksgiving.  In the Buckeye State I raced twice– a Thanksgiving Day four-miler through a hilly cemetery, as I usually do if I’m in the state for Thanksgiving, and an inaugural half marathon through Amish Country in Berlin, Ohio.  Here’s a quick and dirty YT vid I did post-half marathon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPfgamtTfoA.

So… where to start?

Well, this was round three or four of doing the Home Run for the Homeless 4 miler in Akron.  It’s really a quite lovely and low-key race but really, pretty tough because the course is constant ascension and descension, from beginning to end.  The race is the organization’s one and only fundraiser all year, which is pretty impressive in and of itself, but even more so when you consider that the organization is completely volunteer-driven.

This year, the race got a bit abbreviated because of some work in the cemetery, so it ended up being 3.8 miles instead of 4; it doesn’t make a huge difference though because it was still a PR for me at the distance (3.8 miles or 4) and enough for me to net an age group award (3rd place I think– a ribbon, Santa coffee mug, and a frozen pumpkin pie!).

My time? 27:25, a 7:13 pace.

This race has really grown in the past few years, and I heard recently that it’s the second-largest race in Summit County, presumably second only to the Akron Marathon and Half Marathon.

What’s even cooler is that I got to meet and shake Butch Reynolds’ hand!  And if you don’t know who he is… well… read up on him.  Very cool and very TALL man.

Here’s a great lil race video about the 4-miler; check it out here.

While I was in Ohio from mid-to-late November, I streaked for about two solid weeks… surprising because even though I log my mileage every day, for some reason I didn’t catch on to it.  I felt well, though, aside from some minor tightness that comes with running hills in Ohio (because remember, there aren’t any to write home about in the city of wind).

Speaking of hills… let’s talk Berlin Amish Country Half Marathon.

Holy hell.

Holy HILLS!

My dad (not a runner), upon me telling him that I had signed up for this inaugural half marathon in Amish Country, in part because I had never been to Amish Country, kinda looked at me and said “really?  That’s really hilly there… ya know that, right?” Yea yea…I thought.

The next day, C and A and I went to a little hotel/inn there for packet pickup, so we got to drive through Amish Country and experience some of the hills for ourselves (from the comfort of a car)… and wow.

I knew my work was cut out for me.

One of the guys working at the packet pick-up said that on this course, times and PRs are completely irrelevant because it’s tough as nails.

My cocky self began to deteriorate rather quickly by that point and instead, some fear (but also a healthy dose of intrigue and “c’mon, try me”… I’m so damn competitive…) seeped in.

Well, come race day morning, circa 2am, my gastrointestinal system woke me up to give me a big F-U, so when I awoke later at 5:30 or 6 for the race (because I had a good 70 minute drive ahead of me), I debated whether I should take my earlier episode as a sign that I shouldn’t run.  I figured I was in the clear, but just like my episode at the women’s half in Chicago in June, I should learn to listen to my instincts more…

Yup, we went there again.

Four miles in, on the course, at an aid station.

It was awesome.

Fortunately, once my gastrointestinal system told me to fuck off for the second time on race day, I actually felt pretty well.  I lost a couple minutes in the porta-potty, and while I wasn’t able to recover my place in the race, I flew through the few flat sections there were, as well as some of the downhills, on a sub-8 pace.  By the end of the race, when it was clear that many other runners were dwindling on energy, I was passing folks pretty regularly on the hill climbs, of which there were PLENTY.

I really should have taken some pictures post-race of the hills, but I was pretty tired (because remember, by race’s end, I was running on empty, save for the few calories I had ingested from a small glass of orange juice a nice Amish lady gave me [why not??!] and some gels I had taken on the course) and cold because, oh yea… it snowed and/or wind-whipped us the whole time on the course.

Not bad for an inaugural race: snow, 30-degree temps, diarrhea, wind…

Talk about making some memories.

All told, though, I wanted to do a 1:35-1:45 at the race, expecting to do something closer to the 1:40s range, given the course difficulty, so I was happy with my 1:45 finish.  Had I not had my gastrointestinally-dictated pit stop, (which wasn’t an option, I couldn’t forgo it), it would have been a 1:43 for sure.  It was enough for a 5th woman OA finish and a 2nd or 3rd AG award, which is in the mail.

So, apparently, judging from this half and the one in June, I can start off running a half at a decent pace, get the big D, and still finish in a respectable mid-1:40s time.  Crazy how things change, seeing as how when I started running in 2007, mid-1:40s was the best I could do.  Now, it’s indicative of a shitty performance (horrible pun, I know, but I had to…).

The other, probably coolest, thing about the Berlin race was that I was running through very rural Ohio and actually ran alongside or got passed by horses and buggies!  You never see that in Chicago.

These guys in November will be my last races of 2012.  I wasn’t thrilled to end on a not-amazing note with the GI distress in the half, but I guess I gotta remember that I did the best I could with what was thrown at me that day, and ya never know, it could happen again, in a race or otherwise.  Just gotta roll with it, I suppose.

 

 

What'cha thinkin?