Race Report: The OUC Half Marathon
So on Saturday I finally ran The OUC.
It was a really strange one for me. I did not enjoy it AT all. I also ran a Post Surgical PR. Usually when I have a PR I love the race, but this one. Oh no.
So… Where do I start.
Firstly I kind of messed up the taper, so I went into the week with really sore beat up legs. It was held on a Saturday which is not the norm for races around here. So I felt a little odd on Friday trying to make sure things were ready.
I wasn’t feeling super positive about the race…I felt I wasn’t in optimal shape and well, I just felt not really ready. But there is always that tiny bit of magical thinking that creeps on in there for runners.
The OUC is a HUGE race.
I tried to line up at the back of the 10min mile group, but I had plans to run with a friend, and she pushed me to the front of the 10 mm group. Yes, I did just run a 9:35mm pace at a 5K, but a 5K is a heck of a lot shorter than a Half Marathon.
We all sang the National Anthem, while a ton of people jockeyed around for a “better place” I was kind of thinking, you know we are standing in the 10 min mile section….which one of us is going to bust out and need that “better place”?
And then Bam, we started. The first mile was like many in a crowded race, kind of difficult. There were people everywhere, all kind of rocketing out. After about the half mile mark people did start to drop off, having started too fast. I was trying to get exactly on the pace I had envisioned. Yep, that worked for a few seconds, and within that mile I ended up being about 40 seconds too fast, a hard way to start.
I Slowed down, and called to my friend that we were going too fast. She had never paced anyone in a race before and I realized she actually wasn’t going to do a good job of it. She wanted to run fast…but she also didn’t really want to leave me. So I was in a quandary. I wanted her to leave. I wanted her to just let me set my pace and run. At this point I was at mile 1.4ish and I realized with horror – I forgot breakfast-. Normally not a big issue. But really Try burning 1300 calories in one event without something. I took a gel, which tasted like well, gels taste, horrific. and got on with it.
After about mile 3 I really was feeling weird. Mostly probably from the lack of nutrients, and also the problem I was having holding pace with my pacer, who was poised to take off. I sort of let a few people get in between us and then Faded away.
At that point I felt a little better, I had a bit better control of how I was running, I didn’t have to look and try ot stay with anyone or do anything except run. Of course at that point the Brick pavers started. For this year’s OUC they stated that there were only 1.9 miles of Brick. Well. They Lied. Lied like rugs.
But at that point I merrily thought, “Oh Goody lets get this 1.9 miles of pain out of the way. Brick roads in Orlando are really charming, but hard for me to run on. They are not in the best of repair and in some sports they buckle and roll and in others the brick is actually broken.
After the brick, I had another gel, and actually some gatorade- trying to make up for the calorie deficit. I enjoyed this part of the race some. High fived some spectators, and enjoyed the cowbells. Dunno why but I love me some cowbell!
There started to be time clocks on the course at strategic points and I was pretty pleased with the times I was seeing. I started to think that OK yeah, not a great start but, “I got this”.
And I did.
Until about mile 10-11.
Brick pavers re-appeared. and some small inclines. The inclines were pretty nice. Since I train on hills, I just kind of went up em, and passed a ton of folks. the Brick, well. It hurt. I felt pretty jolted around. And I was not the only one! Tons of people went down hard. Almost everyone that I know who ran the race can told me about seeing someone take a spill there. I looked at the Garmin and knew this was more than 1.9 miles of uneven broken brick. And I was not so pleased. I could have run a different race, this one wasn’t special in any way.
I slowed down considerably. I was feeling some fatigue and I didn’t want to fall.
Eventually we looped around and I recognized that we were really getting close to the finish. It was up a slight incline and I went up it, passing a bunch of people as I went…I liked the inclines because I think they use different muscle groups so my legs felt a bit more “fresh” on the inclines.
As I started to run down the final stretch, I passed the Taiko Drummers.
Here is some Taiko Drumming…
and they were smiling and having a great time and I just enjoyed seeing them so much that I started smiling too! I looked up and saw my time and pushed as hard as I could there at the end…and I ended up with a time that was better than my past times 2:22.
So was it a perfect race? Nope. Was it a fun race? No, it actually was not. Will I do it again? Oh heck no, no gonna “enjoy” those pavers again. Am I happy I did it? To be honest not particularly, I feel like I could have had a better performance and certainly a more fun one, on a smoother surface!
Despite all that, I have to say.. stuff happens. not everything in life is fun. It is one of the few races I’ve done that I really did not much enjoy. (The other one was put on by the same running company, Hmmmm. I guess sometimes I can’t take a hint)
I’m looking forward to Ragnar Relays Miami to Key West in January, and then I have a “destination” race planned in Toledo in April, and the biggie- the Marathon in May!!!
My hip was really reactive to the brick surface, so I had to essentially take 1-2 days off from training, but…today I swam for an hour and I think I’m almost back in business. My wise coach is out of town but has emailed me and reminded me to take the hip easy.