"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you, Whom you have received from God? ... So use every part of your body to give glory back to God..." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Monday, November 14, 2016

Clarkston Backroads Half Marathon Recap

I like routine.
I like traditions.

I am a very sentimental girl.

I could cling to a dog turd if it was shaped like a heart and make it special.

Joan and I have been running this race from the beginning. This was the 4th year.

Joan is 27.
I am 43.
Joan is a whipper snapper.
I am getting whipped.

Other than the Disney Half Marathon in January, this is my only Half marathon this year.
And it showed.

I picked up Joan and her husband Javon on the way to Independence Oaks, where the race was being held.

Weather Conditions:
40' and Sunny. We really had beautiful weather.

The Course:
Brown is the half marathon course.
We arrived in the park at 8am. They do a really nice job parking everyone. Being over an hour early we were fortunate to get a great parking spot.

Neither Joan or I were able to pick up our bibs on Saturday. Being there so early also made it easy breezy grabbing those.
This year they upgraded the shirts and it was quite a difference.
I am a procrastinator. My registration was over 90$ this year.

We hung out in my truck until I got a text from Erin.
"You at the start?'
I replied "I am heading there now."
Erin and I

Erin is a little wild child like me. I may have jumped in her arms and groped her and she may have responded with full acceptance.
She has the greatest smile. People like Erin bring out the crazy in me. I forget and half to reign it in.
Erin was running the 10k with a girlfriend. They had about 15 minutes, we were starting.

Joan gave us a goal of 1:47. This goal would beat our time from last year. This goal was way more kind then the goal Andy gave me, 1:35. He's crazy.
Both of us were still a little apprehensive as we tucked ourselves behind the 1:50 pacer.

Start to 3.
These may have been the quietest 3 miles we have ever ran together. We were sucking wind. We both kept looking at our Garmin thinking the pacer was running us at a sub 8 min mile.
Nope, our first mile he was almost spot on at 8:11.
Second mile, 8:14.
We were still holding on, gripping tightly. The third mile started getting a little hilly, breathless we fell back a bit at 8:27.
"Joan, this is so painful!"
Breathing heavy Joan replied, "Ya, lets get to mile 6,, then we will reevlaualte things!"
"Yeah, yeah, sound great.
It usually takes me about 6 miles to get warmed up. This sounded like a great idea.
We ran those 3 miles through Independence Oak. The trails were wide with light gravel topping them. Crooked Lake shared as a beautiful backdrop with a matching baby blue sky. The scenery was lovely even though I could hardly breath, in that case it is safe to say it was "Breathtaking!"

"You know Anita, maybe one of these years we should actually train for this."
I felt bad. This race is a traditional race that Joan and I do every year.  This is one of my last races in the year.
I am beat up, tore up and this race gets all my left overs.
"Lets just get to 6."

Mile 4, we were maintaining our pace and we were shocked.
Mile 5, we even shaved some time off pulling out a 8:02.
And finally huffing and puffing we still nailed a 8:16 min/mi. at mile 6.  "Joan, I feel like I normally feel at mile10, this may be a problem.
It wasn't a problem for Joan, she was in total agreement.

Together, we reevaluated our plan and decided that our side stitches, burning lungs and utter physical defeat was not much fun. Neither one of us felt warmed up. We definitely felt warm though. We were roasting, both over dressed with our vests on.

Our Re-evaluation to 10 miles.
We decided to settle back a bit. Get a respectable time without throwing up, or falling apart.
Running through the park is scenic but very challenging. The trails are well maintained and cleared from leaves and debris (Large rocks and roots). Part of running through the park is a small section on the grass. This doesn't last long and the change in the trail confuses you a bit. But eventually you are spit out on the dirt road.
"Anita, this is your kind of running." Joan was able to say clearly because we dropped our pace. I was still in recovery mode from the last 6 miles so my brain was not firing fast enough to know what she was getting at. My initial thought was that "My kind of running." was not gut wrenching, heart pounding puke in my esophagus. But Joan quickly clarified that it was in fact "running on the back roads."
"YES! I love running on the backroads."  With a little more energy I recognized a song coming out of a car that was cheering us on. Mary J.Blige "No more Drama." I wanted to turn back around and dance, forget this running, lets get a dance party going.
Mile 7, we slowed way down! 8:42.
We maintained that pace for the next 3 miles. Perry lake road is an out and back.
The backroads as flat as they are to run on, the hills were killer. The best thing about the hills are "What goes up must come down." We just had to tackle them going up.
We were not the only one driving hard. The 1:50 pacer was about 2 minutes ahead of us. We had the stragglers around us. We had been going back and forth with two girls. I could tell that Joan was keeping her eye on them.
As we headed up the hill to the turn around at mile 9, we lost one of the girls. Never to see her again.
I saw "Bill" from Baumans Running store, at the 9 mile turn around. This is a HORRIBLE place to see someone you know. " HI ANITA! How are you?"
ARE you KIDDING me, I have been climbing a hill for a half a mile, I cant even talk to you to reply. That is what I wanted to say, It came out more like "It HURTS SO BAD!"
"Just get to mile 10." Joan was my little coach.
Mile 10, was a lot easier to get to because we had that half a mile down . We shaved some time with a 8:26min/mi.

That competitive FINISH.
I was truly ok with the girl in the black and white high sock being in front of us. But Joan was not. Joan was passing her and the girl was not giving in to easy.
Miles 11 and 12 you are back in the park. These are the 2 hardest miles. You run 3 pretty nasty hills along the water. They are curvy and not in a sexy manner at all.
By the time we hit that 2nd hill "striped socks girl had passed us 2 times. We blew by her on the down hills. That last hill is like a double hill, just when you think you are at the top it dips and heads up again. "To that tree, I'm walking." I grumbled knowing "Striped socks girl" was close on our heals. She passed us running effortlessly. That was discouraging.
We hit mile 11 at 8:50min/mi
Mile 12 was a real struggle, 9:40min/mi.

I wish you could have seen Joan face. "OH H#!! NO!"
When I saw that fire in Joan's eyes I knew I was in trouble.
"Joan, Maintain." I was trying to tell Joan to let the girl do the work. Stay close behind and wear her down.
We hit that last aid station at mile 12. The girl was ahead of us and grabbed a drink. Joan, never letting her eyes off the girl "Nita, do you want a drink?"
"NO, Lets take it in."  We couldn't afford to loose even a second if we had a chance of catching the girl.
I couldn't slow Joan down, She passed the girl in "Striped Socks".
This panicked me a bit. I could hear the girl breathing, this let me know she was pushing it.

You come out of the trails unto the paved path the last half a mile. Together we picked it up but not enough, the girl PASSED US!
Joan and I stayed close by her. We were about 5 yards behind her. Far enough she couldn't hear us and couldn't see us.
"Last 3 tenths of a mile." Joan kept sharing our count down.
Joan pointed to the finishing tent.
We had to make our move. "Last TENTH..."
The finish was downhill. Joan and I had been nailing our down hills. In sync, we just knew it was time. I picked it up and Joan followed suit. That poor girl never saw us coming. We bolted so fast pass her she couldn't pick it up fast enough to catch up.
Mile 13. 8:28min/mi

"Anita Harless with a  time of 1:51...." I heard the speaker say as I was swallowing back the vomit in my mouth.

Finishing Details.
Working  in Clarkston I see a lot of people I know. My old neighbor was at the finish line waiting for me. That was pretty cool. Chris has always been a big road biker but is now transitioning over to running. And he  is great at it.
Chris from Weller Ct.

Joan had to work still, so we headed to the Mac and cheese sponsored by The Union. I gave my beer ticket away but was so happy to have the warm mac and cheese.
We found Erin and her girlfriend at a picnic table next to the band. I am EASILY triggered by loud music. Next thing I knew, I was dancing and clapping on the picnic table. It was like I was overtaken.  Erin was cracking up "Yeah, Anita isn't even drinking."
It was so fun.
Javon discovered that Joan and I had both placed in our age groups. 3rd place.
We won a really cool engraved mason jar.

It was a great Race, well organized. They stepped up their game this year. The shirts and the medals were both AWESOME!

Bib: 3159
Finishing time: 1:51:54
Overall: 68th of 361
Female: 20th of 220
F40-49: 3rd of 58



  1. You're amazing!!!!
    You'll like Glass City - great great course, pretty small race field, best post-race food - hot pasta, garlic bread, etc.

    1. Michelle, good FOOD...I'm in. Where would you recommend staying? I reserved a room at the Radisson. But could change it if you have a better suggestion.