Pi Day River Rotation Trail Half Marathon Race Report...

This was the first time I'd ever run two events in the same weekend, so I went to bed Saturday night glad that I'd gone to see Jared Wisner (Wisner Chiropractic) on Friday.  I'd run Mrs. Robinson's Romp much harder than expected so I was just hoping I wouldn't be too sore when I woke up Sunday morning for the race.  I'll admit, I was a little nervous for this one.  First, as I said, this was my first time running two races in one weekend; secondly the completion of this race would make this my highest mileage week I've ever run; third I had only taken two days off this week.  I have been doing two long runs each weekend so I knew my mileage would be down with a 10k Sat and half marathon Sun so I ran 10 miles on Monday which I normally use as a rest day.  Was my body going to hold up through all these factors for a good run?  Well, it probably would since I knew the faster I got done the faster I'd get pie!!

Same as Saturday, it was a 9:00 AM start, but we were up early.  This time it was because we had to go take care of one of Kristy's pet sitting clients before we headed over to Lawrence for the race.  It's a dog named Hektor that I absolutely love!  He's a fairly old German Sheppard, he's very friendly and playful; especially considering his age.  Taking him for a walk down the block and back was a nice chance to loosen up the legs a little and see how they were feeling.  Surprisingly, they felt very loose and comfortable.  I started thinking this could be a pretty great run!  The trail this one was on I had run two weeks before with the Trail Hawks (the group I just joined that was putting on the race) including Gary (leader of the Hawks), Sherrie (my Ultra running mentor, fellow Hawk, Nerd & ORC member) and Jay (fellow Hawk, Nerd, ORC member and Ultra runner).  The trail is relatively flat, fast, not technical at all and sandy.  Not sandy enough to add resistance, just enough to make it soft and easy on the feet for the most part. 

We showed up at the race at about 8:15 or so and the weather was perfect.  It was sunny, about 43* and the wind was blocked completely by the trees.  I actually removed the compression shirt I was wearing because it was already obvious that I had way overdressed expecting it to be much colder.  I checked in and got my race packet (Trail Hawks bag, t-shirt and water bottle) and went back to the car to get my bib pinned on.  I was feeling great.  My legs were looser than expected, my energy level was high and the weather was near-perfect.  I met up with several friends that were running the race including Jen, Mel, Ryan, Sherrie, Jay and Chris.  It's great to be seeing so many great friends and inspirational people at races!

I was once again representing Team Red, White & Blue on my run.  I am still working to fund raise for them through the 50 miler I'll be running in September (see my fundraising page).  I had worn my Team RWB shirt at the race the day before as well, but Kristy washed it so I could wear it again for the half marathon.  This is an organization I am proud to represent.  They work hard to support our wounded veterans when they return home.  Volunteers get paired up with a veteran one-on-one so they can help them with anything they need; help shopping, babysitting, someone to talk to or even someone to help them keep active and train for an event.  I am truly grateful to the men and women that fight to give me the freedom to do what I love, so I am proud to represent them and to work to help raise funds for the organization.

As we were getting closer to start time I asked Sherrie what her plan was; would this be a slower recovery run or was she ready to run it hard now that she's about a month after her first 100 miler.  She said she felt good and was ready to run for a good speed.  I decided I'd try to keep up with her, but knew there was a decent chance that my legs would tire quickly after the week I'd had and the race the day before.  Jay and Chris said they did not plan to run for time; just a good training run.  I told them I wasn't sure I could keep up with Sherrie and if that were the case I'd drop back and run with them instead.  I was happy to know that however the day went I would have someone to run with.  We all headed up to the start line to get ready to go!

When we got started Sherrie and I took off!  I could tell from the start that Sherrie was feeling good, so I knew it'd be a challenge keeping up.  Once onto the trail I started getting pretty warm quickly.  Within about a half mile I had removed my gloves and I was already thinking about taking off my arm sleeves as well.  Sherrie was on cruise control; running even faster than she'd planned.  As far as energy level and breathing I felt great, but I could tell by a mile in that my legs were going to get sore too quickly to keep with her for the duration of a half marathon.  I was having fun running and I didn't want to either injury myself or burn out so quickly that I ruined the race so I decided it would be smart to go ahead and start dropping back.  Sherrie kept motoring along and was out of sight fairly quickly.  I was by myself for a little while as I dropped back so I just enjoyed the run and the view.  The trail runs right long the Kaw River as it runs through Lawrence, KS and the trail has lots of woods and nice views.  That along with the trail not being a technical one makes this a fairly good spot to enjoy the scenery as I settled into a lighter pace.  I was very excited that Sherrie was feeling good and running strong.

After about 10-15 minutes had gone by, I still had not seen Jay and Chris but I could hear Jay talking so I knew they weren't too far behind.  Then I hear Jay yell "I see you, Bryan!!!"  I laughed and gave him a wave to let him know I'd heard him.  Before too long Jay went barreling by me.  He'd been having some knee problems, but said it was feeling good and his legs were loose.  No kidding!  He was flying just like Sherrie was!  It was great to see him doing so well.  We chatted as long as we could, but it wasn't long before he'd left me in his dust and I continued to drop back to hook up with Chris.  He did catch me and I told him I was feeling pretty good, but not good enough to keep up with Sherrie & Jay.  He was feeling pretty good too so we kept up a pretty steady, solid pace.  If you want to really enjoy a run, run with Chris!  He is an unbelievably positive, excited person and his attitude is completely infectious.

We ran together most of the rest of the race.  Really this was a fairly uneventful race from that point on.  Just a great, enjoyable, gorgeous run.  Kristy wasn't running so she brought her camera and hung out on the trail taking pictures of the runners she knew and my friends Mark and Jill had come out to cheer for us.  Each loop we would see them and it was really great to have their support.  I pulled off my arm sleeves after the first aid station (about 5 miles (probably a little less than), and commented that I really wish I hadn't worn tights.  I was stunned by how warm it was!  Chris and I were having a blast though.  We chatted about everything; life, work, running, health, how good Sherrie & Jay were doing, etc.  This was probably one of the most enjoyable races I've done.  At one of the times through the aid station I got the chance to finally meet Coleen whom I've heard so much about.  She is a Trail Hawk and she was helping to run the aid station.  She's a fun, positive person and meeting her was a joy and really helped fire me up for the last 3 miles of the race.

As we got to about a mile and half or two miles to go I told Chris that I've been working hard on finishing every run strong, no matter how tired I might be.  I let him know that I wanted to do that again in this race so I was going to go ahead and speed up so I could finish strong.  I was really surprised that I was still feeling quite good.  I think all those miles with Chris had really helped keep me fairly fresh.  We had run a very good pace, but we had stayed at a conversational effort level so we were not burnt out.  I didn't sprint out to the end as I had the day before since I was a little tired, but I felt good and I was up to a pretty solid pace as I came out into the clearing off the trail to the finish line.  I saw and heard Sherrie, Jay, Kristy, Mark and Jill at the finish line cheering me to the end so I kicked up my pace again a little.  I finished in 2:12:39 over the 13.5 miles averaging a 9:50 pace per mile.  I was surprised on two fronts.  One I was surprised that I had done so well after all of the effort put out for the entire week.  Secondly, I really didn't feel like I had run that fast.  I guess the energy and enjoyment talking with Chris had kept me moving at a better pace than I thought I was going.  Not far behind me Chris came in to the finish as well and I joined the cheering squad as soon as we saw him!

One of the many great things about the Pi Day run was that after the end of the run not only did I get some water, I got a pretty good sized piece of French Silk pie!  Any of you that know me will know that I love chocolate and really love French Silk!!  After enjoying my pie I chatted with my friends that were there for a bit then headed over to the finish line again to wait for Mel and Jen to finish.  Mel came in first, running strong to the finish!  Then they started the awards so I grabbed the camera from Kristy so Mark and I could go walk out to meet Jen as she finished.  We got to her right as she was coming out of the trees so I took some pictures of her then handed the camera to Mark and ran with her.  Once we got pretty close to the finish I dropped off so she could have her moment finishing strong.  She had also run her most miles ever in a week yet she finished strong.  We all chatted, hung out, ate pie, etc!  It was such a beautiful day that it was hard to leave; we just wanted to hang out, enjoy the great company and the warm sun!

Overall it was an incredible event on a wonderful day.  I got about as much enjoyment out of this event from start to finish as I have in any event I've run.  After it was over Kristy, Sherrie, Jay, Jen, Mel and I headed over to Free State Brewery for lunch.  We had a great time, enjoyed some good beer, good company and good food.  This was an amazing weekend.  Two days of racing (which I love), but more importantly I got to spend that time with so many truly great people at both events.  I'm proud of myself for hitting my highest mileage week in such a tough fashion and for doing so well in both events.  I'm also very proud to call all of these amazing people friends.  After this weekend I was exhausted, but I was also energized.  THIS is why I love running.  It is an amazing community of people that I am proud to be a part of.

Comments

  1. Greta job this weekend! Great races with great friends are the best! Glad you got to meet Coleen too! She's awesome!!

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  2. Looking forward to some trail running with you, Kristy and Mark this spring -- that was a lot of fun Sunday seeing you. Way to go!

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  3. Awesome race report!! Congrats on a double race weekend.. and doing so great! You looked like you guys were having such a great time both times you came through the aid station... I LOVE happy trail runners! Fabulous to meet you... I will see you on the trails soon I'm sure!

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