RACE REPORT: Christie Clinic Illinois Half Marathon

RACE: Christie Clinic Illinois Half Marathon
DISTANCE: 13.1
DATE: 04/26/2014
TIME: 01:15:08
PACE: 5:43/mi
PLACEMENT: 7th Overall/ 5,662 , 1st Age Group

This year has been terribly choppy for my running. Personal issues, a very extensive and drawn out surgery and of course dismal weather that we all faced contributed to a lack of fitness. Ive steadily gained weight despite maintaining decent mileage throughout this mess of a year. Everyone I speak to is an expert it seems, instantly stating , "oh its your carb intake", "your not eating enough" - well truth be told, none of these made any difference. In the five weeks leading to the race, I had gained 14lbs, absolutely disgusting. I had only completed 2-3 solid workouts , all tempo in nature leading up this race so I was on the fence with participating.

Julie Mills, the Elite Race Director for U of I did a fantastic job gathering up some of my favorite competitors this year. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to race with the pedigree of athletes present, despite illness. I was quite the sight on race morning , coughing and sneezing on everyone. I avoided contact with others. Classic Ryan - if it is chest high - race your heart out (and in some cases your lungs). I let Julie know that I may be absent, however it is poor sportsmanship to not show with the amount of time that these directors put into gathering an elite field. I would be eating humble pie today, sans carb boom apple pie.

I warmed up with a super easy 2.5 miles around campus in my Wave Rider 17's. The weather was absolutely perfect, temp/wind you name it - this was my type of day. I hustled back to the hotel where we had an outstanding setup for changing clothes, leaving our bags. Melisa came along and took some pictures as I did some choppy warm-up drills in my flashy (but discontinued) blue Ronin 5's which are ready for the donation bin. Thank goodness a half marathon is a slow pace. All of the elites (denoted with 40xx bib numbers) in the half looked so serious - i was apparently the only one not interested in the prize money today. I hopped the fence, said a prayer and we would be off soon. I had planned on racing by HR and Cadence only today - don't even have a pace screen on your watch other than the splits flash. Run even HR the entire run as nothing is worse than spiking and watching your pace fall. You really cannot negative spilt this course, although you should be close within reason.

Mile 1 - 5:31.6 -> Mile 1 is completely downhill - we split into two groups - the first group going through the mile in about 4:50 - this is beyond legit, unfortunately for that group - the leader wanted to break them (he did...).
Too quick however my HR slowly rose to the target 165. I fell back to at least 20th position - apparently ambitious group today. I soaked in the sun.

Mile 2 -> 5:39.7 -> Nothing eventful - tried to bring up some conversation to settle down some youngsters, no one was interested.

Mile 3-> 5:45.5 -> HR steady at 168, although bummed that this pace is 168, gosh I am sick. First 5k was around 17:25 - eek! Gained about 4 spots on this mile alone.

Mile 4 -> 5:46.8 -> pickup a few spots, thinking about what I would do later in the day. Gosh a half marathon is boring for the first 10k.

Mile 5 -> 5:35.9 0 -> Easy mile with lots of crowd support. Heard - what a big guy for the first time in the morning. nice.

Mile 6 -> 5:41.2 -> Now in no-man's land, pickup another spot. Guy looks like he is dying. ouch for him.

-> 10K - 34:48 -> 10th overall at this point. HR stuck at 169.

Mile 7 -> 5:53.8 -> This mile is all uphill leading from the 10k to the handoff for the relay - I dangerously dipped into the low 170's and relaxed my mind , brought it back down. Unfortunately my slowest mile due to the lack of effort.

Mile 8-> 5:40.1 -> deliberate effort increase after that dismal last mile. A bit thirsty (although I refuse to take fluids or fuel in a half marathon) oddly. Maybe I should stop drinking so much darn coffee.

Mile 9-> 5:50.9 -> Mile 9 is a tough mile, that being said, I was pushing it. The only truly disappointing mile on this day. Sick or not - this is how I finish my long runs with mike , come on Ryan suck it up. "Man that dude is huge", comment #2 on the morning. Keep em coming folks. It will only make me angrier , thus, faster.

Mile 10-> 5:46.3 -> Final 5k and final pass -> Ran by a guy that i later saw ran 33 flat for the first 10k, that was a painful second 11k for him. Tried to encourage him to come along, he did not. Time for business!

Mile 11-> 5:40.2 -> Easy pancake mile, however I cannot see a human in front of me, or behind me. This is a mental game now.

Mile 12 -> 5:45.5 -> Little girls at water station are apparently impressed that I can move my tank like body at this pace. "Wow did you see how big he was?" -> it wouldnt be a half if I didnt get regular comments about my size. Reinforce my eating disorder for the day!

Mile 13 -> 5:43.5 -> I really tried to pickup this mile, however not knowing where I was pace / time wise is a buggar here. I had no idea I was in the 75 range , I knew I was slow today but never thought that slow. Had I known, I would have rolled the dice at 12 and nailed it a bit harder. As it was, I was stuck in a position with no change and candidly, I was sore.

Mile 14 split -> :46 (5:29 average) -> Cruised into the stadium and was glad to be done. Saw the clock and my heart dropped.

Overall 1:15:08 , my slowest half in quite some time and slower than I would have went out in a marathon 6 months ago. I was still pleased with the effort given how sick I had been. Post race I took Melisa over to black dog BBQ , I was not hungry. I overdid it when I went home and rode the bike, worked on vehicles, etc. I have gained 8 lbs since this race. my doctor's cannot figure out whats going on so I had blood tests ran. I have a visit with an Endocrine Doc on the 27th.

Thank you to Matt and Mizuno USA for your contributions to my running. Mitch and Often Running for your continued support and of course my coach , the BA American Marathon stud Tyler McCandless. Thank you to Julie the Elite Director from Illinois for the amenities, compensated entry and chance to be part of the elite field. 7th Overall certainly doesn't warrant that kind of support. Congrats to Ron Lavaire for meeting his goal of a sub 70 - he continues to improve, I hope my days of shooting for sub 70 are not gone.

Sorry I missed everyone for Lake Run - I was in a wedding which was a very special and dear friend of Melisa and I. While I missed being part of that race, it will be here next year.

Next Race(s):

Quad Cities Distance Classic Half
Chillicothe River Run 5K
Steamboat Classic