I was not nervous about running 13.1 miles at the Clarkston Backroads HM. I was nervous I was going lose parts along the course trying to keep up with Joan. This was Joan and my 3rd year running this race. We have officially made it out yearly tradition.
Joan is in her early 20's
I am coming up on a birthday in December making me 42.
Joan is getting stronger and faster
I am getting older and slower.
Joan is training speed.
I have been training distance.
Joan was a stoked.
I was panicked!
Clarkston Backroads is what I would consider a local race. It is the largest race held in Clarkston.
The COURSE: It runs through Independence Oaks and the backroads of Clarkston. The route through Independence Oaks is both dirt trails and pavement.
This course is not for the faint of heart.
I picked up Joan and Javon on the way to the race at 8am. I loved that the start time for this race wasn't until 9:30am. This time allowed me to enjoy a cup of coffee, eat a little breakfast (Hard boiled egg and a Honey Stinger waffle) and go to the bathroom multiple times! A little coffee goes a long way!
We arrived to a mini Zumba party at the pavilion created to get you warmed up. I grabbed Joan and we put out best moves out on the ground.
The morning was perfect to start running in. The sun was blazing making the 40 degrees warmer than it really was.
Joan and I saw "Fritz" with the 1:50 pace group. We picked a spot behind them. I really didn't think I could run THIS course at sub 8 half marathon.
When the race started we settle back. I made the joke, "If we see the guy in orange we are going TOO fast, do not pass him!" The Guy in Orange was Fritz.
The first 6 miles were easy breezy. That first part of the route consisted of a very gravelly terrain. I wished I had wore my HOKA'S because the gravel was really rough on the soles of my Sauconys. My toes were irritated from the rough route. By the time we arrived on the dirt roads I knew a blister had formed. We laughed, reminded ourselves to not get too excited and chatted about Joans wedding plans.
At mile 7, Joan laughs and says "We are more than half way done!"
At this point we had actually caught up to the guy in Orange! The pacer did not look like he was doing good at pacing but then it didn't look like he had anyone left to pace with either.
Mile 9 was fun because we saw the faster runners coming back in our direction. They had made the turn around.
Hitting the turn around was literally a turning point for me. I was able to embrace the down hill and smooth backroads before entering back into the park.
We had caught up with "Fritz" who was buddied up with a first time half Marathoner. She was doing awesome, of course "Fritz" was probably really encouraging her.
The park at mile 11 sucked. There are 2 hills with the power to sabotage my stamina. My legs were fine, I was just a mess. Joan was in the lead chatting with "Fritz" and I enjoyed trailing behind until we came to that second satanic hill. The two of them danced up it. Without much thought I found myself waving Joan on and walking it. I didn't walk the whole thing before I realized I was walking it. It was as if my body went into ultra mode and my legs just did what they do naturally when they see a hill on the trails..Walk.
I pulled it together and tried to catch up to Joan and Fritz. Joan turned around and waited for me. "This is our run, we finish it together." I loved that she waited for me. We hit a downhill about mile 11 and Fritz was gone.
Joan was encouraging my whiny butt all the way to the Finish. The last half a mile really isn't that bad. You have about a half a mile on pavement and the finish is on a trail. I was able to pull it together enough to look down at my watch and see that we picked up the pace to about a 7:45m/m.
Seeing my pace actually encouraged me. I felt great with my power finish.
Fritz was at the finish cheering us on. One the left stood Javon also cheering us on.
The Medals: They were wooden. They were engraved and very unique.
The Food: We received a water, banana and a KIND Bar. My Favorite. The best part was the Mac and Cheese from The Union.
With the warmer temps we were able to sit and enjoy out food.
Anita Harless: bib#1151
OVERALL: 64 of 389
OVERALL FEMALE: 20th Overall of 229
Age Group: 3rd of 56
Masters :4th of 87
At the 9 mile split we were at 8:17min/mi and Finished at a 8:17min/mi. Super happy with my split.
Mile 12 was fastest mile: 7:54
Those last few miles my mind ached with the constant jab of reality, You get what you put in. It wasn't a piercing pain of truth, more like a slow churning of the painful reality I needed to do more speed work mixed with the ideas of age. The thought of age was more like putting salt on the wound.
Another lesson learned, but not so much pain that I allowed it to steal the joy of another run with Joan. A run where this time I was encouraged and cheered on. I really like that.