RACE REPORT: North Shore Classic Half Marathon

RACE: North Shore Classic Half Marathon
LOCATION: Highland Park, IL
DATE: 06/01/2014
CONDITIONS: 74 at Race Start, 80's at Finish - Near 100% Humidity (Fun Sweaty Times)
TIME: 1:14:32
PLACEMENT: 8th Overall / Elite Field

These past few weeks I have been training hard and racing hard. Last week I ran one of my benchmark workouts at IWU consisting of 1600/1200/1000/800/600/400/200x4. I ran well with an opening mile of 451 and holding under 5 minutes per mile. The 200's were all 4 under 30 seconds. The workout left me beat so thinking about racing on Saturday was tough. I heard about a competitive elite level race with a huge prize purse in Highland Park on Friday. I emailed the race director and was fortunate to get in past the cutoff date.

Melisa and I woke up at 330AM to head to Highland Park. It was a fun morning chatting in the dark, watching a gorgeous sunrise. The weather was calm yet hot and muggy. I was looking for competition so the heat was more of an opportunity - I like running in the heat. We made it up to a gorgeous location filled with some seriously hilly terrain, I was a bit confused, I assumed chicagoland therefore flat. Wrong. I did a 3 mile warm-up in pants and long sleeves and was soaked. I popped on my beloved Mizuno Wave Ekiden's - a very light flat - hey I was tired and wanted a light shoe.

After a cool opening ceremony it was neat to hear my name called with Johnny Crain and a few other North Central runners. A cool retired pro that spoke very little english and some other college aged guys.

We headed out and I immediately dropped off the front pack - they were on a mission to kill some folks off, I would not be participating rather focused on even splits and catching others. I was never passed after the start so thats good I guess.

Mile 1 - 5:33
First Victim comes back - wow that was early. I immediately notice the terrain, long stretches of uphill, downhill, turns. There was really no flats.
Mile 2 - 5:32
We settle into a small pack of 4, the first of one long hills.
Mile 3 - 5:29 - 5K (17:00)
Another victim after the russian dude decides to try and kill us off. An enormous hill similar in stature as hills on the Bix 7 emerge. Why he pressed the pace - well to hurt me for one.
Mile 4 - 5:26
After taking a bullet on the lsat mile I cooled down.
Mile 5 - 5:33
I catch one of the north central guys who appeared to have went out far too fast. 9th overall.
Mile 6 - 5:33 - 10K (34:01)
A long stretch after seeing melisa, this race is relentless and it is getting warm. Danger will robinson. Pass another runner, settle into 8th place.
Mile 7 - 5:42
The mountain finally comes. So I was pumped as I am flying down this 20% grade at 430 pace thinking - FINALLY some time to relax. What a terrible thing to do - turn left and go back up? 20% grade at race pace is horrid.
Mile 8 - 5:45
Pretty excited i ran 545 after that beast.
Mile 9 - 5:44
Damage is done after another blow
-(15k was WAAAAY off on the course so I simply do not know what my time was)
Mile 10- 5:42
Ugly mile
Mile 11 - 5:52 Turn down the wrong way after I was dazed and the cones were setup funky. Stopped, turned around and ran back up a hill. Man did that suck.
Mile 12 - 6:03
Eek - the damage from sprinting back to speed is terrible. I cannot believe i just ran a 6 minute mile. When will this freakin end?
Mile 13 - 5:59
Death March - form jacked, dying. Cadence is horrid, feet hurt but I will last. I see Melisa and surge.
13.1 - 34.4

I am nauseous at the finish. The heat was a bit much so I quickly wrapped ice , put it on my head and headed back to congratulate the guy behind me at the finish.

I am overwhelmed with joy on this run. When running a 5k its common for folks to judge your performance by time. After all even a hilly course on a 5k is worth maybe 20 seconds so you are in the ball park. As you move up you lose minutes and so when I shared my 1:14 time some seemed hesitant to say anything for fear of me being upset.

Well I ran 80 miles last week, had a massive workout and then ran the hardest half marathon of my life. The course was awesome. I ran with an awesome group of Illinois Elite runners and was able to show how great Mizuno is amongst a nice sized half to boot. I received one of those cool big checks like in the movie Happy Gilmore or at a NASCAR race - it was pretty neat. All of the elites I spoke with were at least 3 minutes off of their norm which was positive to hear. I honestly had a great run , just felt awesome. I starved myself for 2 days prior to lose some weight so ran on basically vapor outside of honey packets the morning of the race.

I managed to rough in a few miles after and then some miles after we got back home.

It was great to meet Ryan, one of the tech rep's for Mizuno. We chatted and geeked out about shoes , had some fun chatting about the rare jersey's I seemed to have acquired.

Afterwards Melisa and I headed to sweet tomatoes. Unfortunately I nearly blacked out as I didn't eat post race either. I had to sit in the booth and our lunch became over an hour of sitting. Oh well. I got up and toughed it out as I took her shopping before heading home.

Thank you Matt @ Mizuno USA and Mitchell Hobbs @ Often Running. My gear is awesome, the brands are easy to support and I feel fortunate to receive and give back where I can.

Next Race(s)
Tremont Turkey Festival 5K
Steamboat Classic 4 Mile