Race Report: Ralston Creek Half Marathon

Holy Race Report, Batman! Could it be true? A race report that actually gets done on race day? Yes campers, it’s true. This morning I got up to enjoy your friendly neighborhood arctic blast by running with Racing Underground in the Ralston Creek Half Marathon. Once again, this is a race I might not have done had Paul not already been headed to the site when I texted him to say how uninterested I was. “Wuss” was the response I got back. After I located my “big boy” pants and pulled them firmly on, I then had to pull them back down several times as I finished race prep, a theme that often recurs on race morning. This was particularly the case since I forwent my normal pre-race routine because it was flipping cold out.

This race started out just like they all do. The gun goes off, the invisible man falls to the ground, and we’re off and running. My race plan firmly in place, I’m going to Negative split the whole thing! By negative split, I of course meant positive split the first 4 miles and then amble around until I could sprint to the finish. The course was mostly on trails, which contributed to creating one of the shittiest race courses I have ever had the misfortune of stumbling upon, and stumble I did. No fault to Racing Underground as they weren’t the ones who caused all the snow over the last few weeks and I don’t blame them for not chipping clean 13.1 miles of trail.

That said, WOW, it was freaking icy. The plus side is that it’s great training for running with your feet beneath you and keeping your balance firm and cadence high. The downside is that you work a lot of muscles you might otherwise not have planned on utilizing. While several sections of trail were clear, the low lying sections were almost all covered in snow and ice (more ice than snow, really). Even some of the climbs were plagued with ice as well as descents making the conditions alarmingly treacherous.

Did someone say climbs? About 1,000 ft of climbing according to my Timex Global Trainer Never Really Gets The Data Correct GPS. About mile 6 is when I started questioning my life decisions. As you can see on the map, there was a particularly nasty set of switchbacks that really helped pull the pain train into the station. I went into this race expecting a gentle cruise and not expecting to hurt much. I also expected to neg split, so there you have it.

With three miles left, I reminded myself that it was ok to hurt a little and that it was ok to bring the pace up. With 2 miles left, I reminded my legs of the nice little chat we had a mile back and they apologized for not listening but continued at the same pace as before and just for good measure slowed down a bit to ensure mile 12 was my 2nd slowest. With about half a mile to go, I was able to rally and get the legs moving, making a pass entering the finishing chute to close out the day on a high note. Then, while I was touring the lavish accommodations, Paul crossed the finish line, successfully beating his goal time. Proud of you, Paul! Great job out there today.

I’m still waiting on the official results to post online, so I have no idea where I finished other than it was around 1:55. I feel that’s a win for the conditions and was the time I was targeting. I didn’t stick around to see them posted because all the sweat that poured forth after crossing the finish line was starting to freeze.

All in all, thrilled to get an early season half out of the way and I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been in February. I have a long way to go before August, but I feel like I’m headed in the right direction.

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