Sunday, October 16, 2016

Iron Horse Half Marathon 2016 Race Recap

Ever since the 4th of July, I have been training for the Iron Horse Half Marathon. This race has a time limit of 3:04 (a 14:00/mi pace). I knew if I had problems with the run, I would be overtime, but trained, I had a good shot of finishing in the limits.

My goofy Tanna in the vet hospital.

This past week was my taper week, but one of my horses had a pasture accident that had him in the hospital for 4 days and still takes a good amount of work to keep up at home since he's stall-bound. So my taper week was a single 3 mile treadmill workout on Tuesday at an easy walk/run pace of 14:00/mi.

I also didn't get very much sleep this week, due to my horse and working till the wee early hours of the morning to meet a deadline. And of course, I didn't eat the best.

This all led to me just hoping to not get run over by the sweep vehicle...

My husband agreed to give my horse his meds and keep an eye on him so I could still go to the run. Since Midway, KY, is over 200 miles from Nashville, I got a hotel room in Shelbyville, KY. I drove over the day before and got a sub from Subway for my supper.

I laid out my clothes and breakfast food and went to bed early.

At 5:30 AM (4:30 Nashville time!), my alarm rang. I got a quick hot shower and put water on to boil for my grits. I added a Morningstar Farms "sausage" patty and a slice of American cheese. This is the meal I have for endurance rides and have started doing this for my races as well. I also added a mocha drink.

I ate while I repacked my suitcase and left my hotel room at 6:20. I checked out of the hotel and headed down Interstate 64 to Midway. I parked at Northside Elementary and proceeded to finish putting my HRM on and fill my pockets with fuel, my phone and ID.

Sunrise in Midway

Then I headed down the hill where everybody else was headed. I found the line of porta potties and waited my turn. It was a little chilly, but I had decided to forgo a headband or my arm covers. It was warmer than initially called for so I didn't need them. It only took a mile or so to warm up nicely. The weather was perfect for a run.

The start line is around the corner to the right.

Down to the start line. I stood well back around the corner. There were still plenty of people behind me though. I was wearing my rose inknburn t-shirt and got a few comments on it.

5 minutes before the start, I ate a gel and tucked the empty pack into my pocket since there wasn't a trash can handy.

When the gun went off, the crowd walked orderly to the start line and then began to jostle for position. I stayed far to the right, but people were still passing on the right in the grass.

My initial plan had been to run 13:29 each for the first four miles and speed up 10 seconds every 4 miles and then just run the last 1.1 mile. That went out the window pretty quick. My slowest mile for the race was mile 3 at 13:17.

Some horses in the field to the right.
My pace for the first 9 miles was all over the place, from 13:17 to 11:49. Some of that was the crowd, some of it terrain and some of it was just plain not controlling my pace. Finally, I settled into a better rhythm after I decided to run the terrain and not try to hold back as much. I also popped an earbud in and listened to my running playlist. I ran the next 3 miles at 11:57 each, then opened up a bit more for the last full mile at 11:02 and even more for the last bit at an average pace of 9:15.

Midway Railroad car

I wish I'd controlled my pace a little more for the first 9 miles, but hard to argue with myself looking at the last 4.1 miles, although, granted, there was more downhill for those miles. I ended up with a chip time of 2:42:45, which was better than I'd hoped.

And on the hills I was so scared of. Garmin Connect, with corrections enabled, shows only 516 feet of elevation gain, so while there was some elevation (felt like most of the course was up or down), it was gentle and I never got to the point where I had to walk during one of my run intervals. I loosely ran 4 minutes and walked 1 minute, adjusting a bit so I didn't walk downhill and in the last half, I just skipped a walking interval if it was downhill and ran straight through. I am super glad I trained hills and I will continue to train hills during my marathon training cycle. Definitely makes me a stronger runner!

The finish line. You finish on the road. I took this from my stretching place.

There were aid stations fairly often. The course leaves Midway downtown and goes west before doing a U-turn and coming back and going east to the last U-turn. Because of this, there were aid stations on both sides of the road. I carried my Nathan soft flask handheld, but used it sparingly until the last 3 miles, where I skipped the 3 of the last 4 aid stations to just keep running so by the time I hit the finish line, my water bottle was mostly empty.


It was a lot of fun to see the front runners coming back at me. While I was still at mile 2.5 or so, they were hitting mile 5! Amazing. :)

After I got done, I headed back down the course to cheer in a few runners, watching for a nice couple I'd chatted with during a few of the miles. After cheering them in, I meandered up to the race party and listened to the Off The Clock band while I picked out a couple of nice handmade items. I'm pretty sure they were by Kentucky Mudworks.

The band

Awesome mug I bought. It looks black, but the top is actually a pretty dark blue color.

Finally, I walked back to my truck, changed with the help of my Undress and drove home, stopping about 3 times to walk around and stretch a bit.

I had a great time, even though it seemed like a rushed trip. I was 3 minutes off my PR, but my HR was on average 10 bpm lower than my PR race and I finished strong.

Finisher's medal. It's big!

Me after the race

Me changed into my Iron Horse Half Marathon shirt and ready to drive home!

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