The inaugural Scottsboro 1/2 Marathon was my last Boston “long, race-specific” run before the big day. I signed up to get a 1/2 race during my build-up and also to support the race director. Parker E. also put on 2 triathlons last year, the Lake Guntersville Oly and Goosepond Half-distance. He does a great job organizing these events and this one was no exception.
Little did I know that this run would be very race-specific. I drove over the Fleet Feet, Hsv on Friday to get my packet. Cool tech shirt and swag in our bags! I was on-call Friday night so I wasn’t sure if I would actually make the race in the morning. Fortunately, no late night calls or early admissions.
Up at dark-five o’clock and out the door by six, I got to Scottsboro a little after seven. Plenty of time to wait in the BR lines and get a little warm-up. The place was rocking. Loud thumping music, nervous conservation, and that special smell near the porta-potties…Ahhh! I love race mornings.
My race strategy was to run 7:00-7:05min/mi pace. If I could put down some sub-7:00 miles, all the better. A sub 1:33 would be a good time. I didn’t preview the course but I was familiar as some was shared with last year’s Goosepond 1/2 Iron. However, I didn’t realize how rolling miles 6-12 would be.
Temps were in the low 50s so just shorts and shirts were needed. I contemplated wearing my Ipod but passed, heading to start-line with my 2 Roctane gels (2 for 1 at Academy Sports this past week–Sweet!). We were off quickly.
The first 3 miles were rolling to small inclines. I felt fresh and settled into a nice rhythm. We passed by mile 3 in a little under 21 mins. The next few miles took us into the campgrounds and looped back out. First gel at aid station-mile @5.5. I passed a few people in the first 5 miles but then it thinned out and I was running alone. Sandy, a local fast runner-girl, was ahead of me through mile 6 and I paced off her for a while. She was running 2nd OV female at that point. The first female was about 1-2mins ahead. I caught up to Sandy just before mile 7. She was breathing as heavy as I was which was a odd comfort. The next few miles were challenging. Lots of up and down, down and up. My legs were tiring but I kept counting down the miles. I slowed to a walk at a couple of the last aid stations to take my gel and drink more water. It just felt like I was getting dry. The last 1.5 mile was flat to downhill. I picked up the pace but was consciously keeping my strides controlled. One guy passed me through this section despite running a 6:45min/mi pace. Unfortunately, he won my age-group…Doh!!
I didn’t feel crushed immediately after the race which was nice. Drank a bottle of water…needed that. Walked a little to stay loose then I changed shirts and socks for a cool-down run.
As it was my last “long-run” day, I decided to add another 4+ miles onto the total. Walking was fine…Took my first running step and sharp pain sliced through my quads. Ding, Ding! It was like the proverbial light bulb going off in my head. The downhills? Right! All the reviews of the Boston Marathon warn about respecting the downhills, especially in the first half of the race. If I push a pace like I did today, I’ll be walking by mile 21. Thank you, Scottsboro 1/2 marathon, for the timely lesson. My long runs included hill training but mostly I focused on miles 16-21 to simulate the Newton and Heartbreak hills. This run turned out to be a great prep.
Anyway, I did slowly limp along and my legs loosened up to finish 18+ miles for the day. Now, I’m resting my legs for April 15th. Coach has a 4hour endurance ride of schedule today. Sorry, I may only get in an hour spinning on the bike…legs is sore today.
Happy Easter. Thanks for reading,