Sunday, January 16, 2011

topeka to auburn 1/2.

The Topeka to Auburn 1/2 Marathon is no joke, that sucker is rough. It chewed me up, but I didn't let it spit me out. I had no intention of "racing" this, and I didn't. I walked up the biggest hills, and ran a reasonable pace on the flat, or slightly inclined sections. I knew I needed to conserve myself and my legs on the hills since I NEVER run hills. EVER. I just started doing 'hill training' on the TM last week. Plus, I did plenty of racing the past few months and am committed to not race anything (although i have races i'll casually run) until the 'm' in April. Time to let my body focus on just the one race.

I'm thrilled I finally got to do the race I've been waiting five years to do. Clearly I could benefit from living where there are hills to run every day. But, the challenge for a flatlander was fun. I was happy with my finishing time and the fact that I met people along the way to chat with, something I've never done before in a race.

In fact, around mile six I came upon a guy walking up a hill at the same point that I was. We started chatting (read: exchanging expletives at the exact same moment) and ended up finishing the race together. It was nice to find a friend in the misery. I found that's the best part about a race that you aren't "racing." You can meet cool people along the way.

*cheesing at the top of urish hill with my new found race pal*

As for the course itself, it was hilly, there were about four miles of snow packed gravel, and it was hilly. Did I mention hilly? Just to show you what I mean, I present to you the elevation of T to A compared to my typical 'hilly' route that I run in Wichita. Yes, a route we consider hilly. Laugh. Because it is ridiculous in comparison. And as you'll see, there is a huge difference.

I won't lie, miles 8-10 felt like a breeze compared to the rest of the race, and that is where I actually picked up some time. It felt so flat and easy! Man, I wish I had hills like that to train on every week. I should mention that I also did this race in brand new, never before worn, trail shoes. Mizuno Cabrackens, which I loved. But it probably wasn't the smartest idea to do 13.1 miles in a brand new type of shoes. My calves and achilles were cramping by mile 12 and I have a feeling the hills, combined with new shoes, contributed to that. It hurt.

*happy to be at the finish line. it was getting cold, the sun went away, until then it was decent, in the 20's and sunny*

One last thought on the T to A race, just the other day I learned from someone writing in the Examiner, then posted on Facebook (so you know it MUST be real and pure truth.... right), that the Topeka to Auburn Half Marathon is ranked one of Runner's World's 10 most difficult half marathons. I tried to find the information to back that up, but I couldn't, so I don't trust that to be fact. It could also be that my research skills are just rusty.

However, even though I couldn't find the information to back it up, I'm going to pretend it's pure fact:
1) i'm obnoxious that way (even though it goes against my principles); because....

2) it totally benefits me and the fact that my finish time at T to A was only my third fastest half (but still faster than both trail half marathons i've done).

3) i am wishy-washy. clearly. and roll with what's most beneficial for me and my race times.

At the end of it all, I was hurting for nearly a week from the race, my legs were fatigued and my training last week overall was less than stellar (something i'll post about soon). But T to A is a race I will do again when I have the chance.

For this year, I will just view it as a challenging and fun training run that I did with 300 other people. Plus, I got to meet new runners and hang out with RunnurMark and a fellow Wichita runner (who runs barefoot and did the race in vibrams-ouch) for a little while after the race. All while I stuffed my face with pancakes (uh, runnurmark and barefoot dude finished way before me therefore enjoyed their pancakes before i even crossed the finish line. RUDE) and we watched/participated in the awards ceremony.

Official Results:
3/14 AG
207/300+ OA

*my third place AG prize. which was just pure luck.*


Hannah said...

Your coffee mug came with a teeny little man inside?! Cute! (Ok, it looks like there's a man inside in your picture. Inside your mug, I mean.)

Well done on a tough run, little lady. You did very well considering our lack of hills - just imagine the awesomeness if we DID have hills!

Pretend this is real said...

3rd in AG on those hills?!?! Great job!

J said...

Let me tell you from a person who lives in a hilly place- I wish I lived in a flat place! lol Great job on the race and congrats on the AG award!

Miranda said...

You did great!! I would have never been able to finish, we have one hill in town, a large one so when I am feeling ambitious I add it to my route, but that's rare. Gotta love flat Kansas!

The Turtle said...

Congrats on a great run! The mug is awesome.

Oz Runner said...

nice job on the hilly run, even age group placing...way to go..

Mark said...

Well I'm glad someone added a little validity to our whining! (whether it's true or not) I say that anyone who completes this one has certainly earned their finisher's medal. And anyone who comes away with a mug is more than lucky! Speaking of the sweet mugs, I'm still irked that mine is smudged :|

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

You look STINKIN adorable after your race.. Congrats on a TOUGH course.. Hmm walking up hills, I LOVE that strategy!

Angie said...

Congrats on the age group win!! Sounds like a really tough race! I may try to run this next year!

2 Slow 4 Boston said...

It must have some killer hills if they're big enough to have a name, like the one you mentioned. Sounds like you created names for a few of the hills too.

I had a fun time running with you and the group last week. Looking forward to running with you again!

californiameaghan said...

i've been looking forward to reading this port. having driven over some of those hills and run 3 mile down auburn road once, i am very proud of you! your mug (and picture) are adorable and it just makes me happy that you were running in auburn.