Tuesday, June 3, 2014

DXA2 on a whim

Every week I write down what I need/want to do. It's usually boring things like laundry, vacuum, etc., but also includes all the exercise I have planned for the week. Last week I had Saturday: Run 4-6 miles < 10:00. Somehow that became the Dexter-Ann Arbor half marathon.

I knew the race existed, but I didn't put much thought in to it, until Bill emailed me a link on Thursday from the Ann Arbor News that mentioned it would be the Road Runners Club of America national championship half marathon, and they expected a field of 6,000 runners. He mentioned perhaps we spectate, but I decided that with a field that size, I was running it!

He decided to do the 5k as well, despite neither of us having trained for our race. I hadn't done more than 4.22 since the Flying Pig on May 4, but I figured I could manage 13.1. No big difference, right? Ha! We picked up our shirts and numbers on Saturday at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor and I was pleasantly surprised to see they had gender cut shirts. When I registered, I selected a size, but not if I wanted a mens or ladies shirt. I really appreciate when races have specific shirts, because the unisex shirts fit like a garbage bag, whereas ladies shirts have a v-neck and a tighter, more flattering fit. I don't love the sponsors all over the back, but since they surprised me with the ladies fit, I won't complain too loudly.

The course is a point-to-point race, so we parked downtown, then took separate buses to our start lines. The half start was at a school in Dexter, which was open so runners could wait in the gym, and have access to flush toilets. There were 30-40 porta-potties outside as well. They also had tables of beverages and a bag check area.

12.9 miles
My plan for the race was to PR. Is there ever a different plan??? At 5k, I was within 20 seconds of a PR, then at the 10k, I was again within 20 seconds of a PR for that distance. I hit 6.25 at 1 hour, which suggested I would be at 12.5 at 2 hours, and score another PR. Good plan, right?

Unfortunately, the weather interfered with my plan. It was HOT! It was in the mid-80s and sunny. Some parts of the race were in full shade, others were in full sun. It was hilly as well, but not as bad as the Pig. The hills were less of a problem than the heat. Thankfully there were water stops at miles 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. At a cooler race, I would drink maybe 4 times on a half, but at DXA2 I stopped every single time, grabbing two cups of water - one to drink and one to dump on my head, chest or back. Every time I did so, it slowed down my time a little, but I had to. I passed at least 10 runners laying on the side of the road, getting medical attention, and I did not want to be one of them, even if it meant I wouldn't PR. Presumably there were even more needing assistance behind me who had been on the course longer.

Bill was waiting for me at mile 12.9 and I was light headed when I saw him, but I wasn't stopping for anything. I crossed the finish line and just stopped. A medical volunteer was immediately at my side and gave me a bottle of water, which last for about 3 sips.

Bill met me very soon, and we mostly bypassed the food. There were small nutrition bars - yum, bagels cut in pieces, apples and pizza. I like pizza at 10:30 am as much as the next girl, but many years ago I had a bad reaction to pizza after a race, so I've avoided it since then.

My final time was 2:11:37, which is ok. It's less than 3 minutes off my PR for the half, and I hadn't been preparing for this race. Add in the crazy heat and related hydration breaks, and I'll take it. I felt strong and did great for the first six miles.
The medal is nice :) It didn't impress me when I saw it online, but the actual one is tons nicer than the picture. I finished 103/190 for my age group, which is about what I was expecting. I'm happy with it :)

The temperature and my time have a direction correlation - both increase together


  1. Congrats! And Again this is one of my favorite races. With my knee all mess up I opted not to run it. I did have a last minute brain fart though. At the 11th hour I started worrying that I had registered for this race. I check into to that Friday night before the race and was very relieved to see that I had NOT registered.
    I do however love this race. It is such a beautiful course. Running along the river and through he woods is very breathtaking. It helps trump the yearly heat and AWEFEUL UPHILL finish!
    Great JOB!

    1. Thanks! Hope to see you there next year! :)