A Simple Running Log

October 22, 2016

Monster Mash Half Marathon recap

Filed under: Uncategorized — aschmid3 @ 11:49 am

It’s a bonus Saturday post! Turns out we are, in fact, leaving tomorrow for a weeklong road trip through New England, so I’d rather get this race report up now, before I take a week off from posting.

Yesterday, Pepper and I drove up to Dover to pick up my race packet at the track, which took three seconds. One of the volunteers asked if Pepper was going to run with me. I was pretty surprised to hear dogs were even allowed. I briefly thought about bringing him back for the race, but decided it probably wasn’t smart to make him run that far after his little episode earlier this week. Maybe next year though!

Here’s all my stuff:


Short-sleeved race shirt, bib, Halloween candy, magnet, bracelet and PEZ dispenser, which was a first for me.

I was a little torn on what to lay out to wear in the race. Yesterday was warm enough to wear shorts and flip-flops to packet pick-up, but a front was supposed to come through overnight with rain, wind and much cooler temps. I laid out shorts and a long-sleeved T-shirt, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure.

I had a big plate of spaghetti for dinner and tried to go to bed at 10:30, since I’d set an alarm for 4:30 a.m. (Ugh!) Of course, since I knew I had to be up so early, it was impossible to fall asleep. I hate that.

I woke up a few minutes before the alarm went off, and immediately went to the back door to step outside and check the weather. WTF! It was so cold and windy!

Change of plans! I swapped the shorts for capri-length tights and the light long-sleeved shirt for a heavier one.

I was out the door a little after 5. During the hour drive to Dover, I ate a plain bagel and drank water. As soon as I had the car parked at 6, an hour before race time, I took two Imodium.

I really had to pee, so I set out for the bathrooms under the grandstands. It felt a lot colder in Dover than it had at home, and it was raining on top of it.

When I got back to my car, already cold, wet and miserable, I seriously thought about how bad could it be if I just drove outta here, went back home and crawled back into bed with Clark and Pepper.

But, I paid for this. A lot, because I’d waited so late to register. The tightwad won out over the lazy ass. So I stayed.

At 6:30, they called everyone to the Miles the Monster monument for pre-race instructions. I could hear the loudspeaker just fine in my car, where it was warm and dry, so I stayed there until they wrapped up the instructions and told everyone to head to the start line on the track.

After one more pee on the way in, I made it to the start line, on pit road, about five minutes before the gun. I lined up with the 1:50 half/3:40 full pacers (same pace, different distances.) I was surprised how close to the front we were. I could’ve easily spit on the guys in singlets and split shorts about to go out and reel off 6:00 miles.

It was still about 20 minutes before sunrise at this point, so obviously pretty dark. Still, it was really cool just to be on the track! Things were looking up already.

We got the countdown and the command to go, and we were off!

I’d brought a heat sheet I’d saved from another race to use as a throwaway layer. I wore it like a cape the entire first mile around the track haha. Lots of other runners also had old heat sheets or garbage bags.

That first mile around the track was really cool. We stayed on the paved apron, since the concrete racing surface is so steeply banked.

I finished the first mile in 8:16, a bit faster than I’d intended, but how can you not put on just a little speed when you’re running around a NASCAR track?

We ran out of the track where we’d come in, passed the Miles the Monster monument and headed toward Dover.

The next few miles of the course were pretty cool, as we ran through downtown, definitely the nicest part of Dover. We passed Silver Lake, Wesley College (where I took some classes while on active duty) and the state government area, which has a lot of history, not surprising since it’s the capital of the first state.

The 1:50 half pacer had moved ahead, but I was hanging with the 3:40 full pace group. Miles 2, 3 and 4 were 8:10, 8:20 and 8:19.

At mile 4.3, we passed an aid station handing out Hammer Gels, so I took one. About a half-mile later, we crossed back over Route 13 and headed out of Dover, into the rural area that made up the rest of the course.

Mile 5 clocked in at 8:26, and mile 6 was 8:22.

At mile 6.3ish, the half and full courses split. Every single runner I’d been following turned right to continue on the full course. I went straight and suddenly found myself very, very lonely.

But not to worry! Soon I had a familiar friend to keep me company — my rumbling guts. Awesome. I’d been expecting it. I hadn’t been able to get out anything other than a lot of pee before the race started.

Unfortunately, every single corn field we were running past had been cut down already. Things weren’t at emergency levels yet, but I knew it was only a matter of time.

It dawned on me I hadn’t seen a single port-o-potty on the race course yet, and we were already halfway through it.

Anyway, I kept running. The wind was at our backs here, so I took advantage of it and ran an 8:07 seventh mile.

In the next mile, we passed an unharvested corn field, so I took advantage of that. I felt a little bad when I came busting back out of it like some kind of scarecrow come to life and startled the hell out another runner who just happened to be passing at that moment haha.

I felt much better though! I guess the bathroom stop took about two minutes, because mile 8 was 10:20, but the next two miles sped back up to 8:07 and 8:11.

Then we turned onto another road, and the wind was in our faces. My pace slowed a bit to an 8:25 11th mile.

But then we only had a couple miles to go! Halfway through the next mile, we made another turn and got out of the head-on wind. That felt amazing.

Mile 12 was 8:21. I could see the race track looming ahead. The end was near!

Before we got to the track, there was a very short out-and-back down a side street with a U-turn, which sucked, and then we had to run up an overpass with less than a half-mile to go. That sucked too.

Of course, the other side of the overpass was a sweet downhill. I ran 8:07 in the 13th mile and sprinted in the final 10th of a mile at a 6:23/mile pace to the finish line, finishing in 1:50:26, an 8:24/mile overall average.


Coming to the finish line.

I was pretty happy with my run! It was definitely faster than I should’ve done a long run, but I didn’t feel like I’d raced it.

I got my giant dinner plate-sized medal and then went to the massage tent. Usually, a free post-race massage lasts about two or three minutes, but those people were going to town on us! I asked my masseuse to only concentrate on my legs, and she prodded them for a solid 10 minutes. It felt amazing!

I went to my car and changed out of my cold wet clothes. I got back to the finish line just in time to see the marathon winner come through in 2:42.

Then I took some pictures.

The finish line in front of the monument:



Miles the Monster.

I don’t know when they put that fence around the plaques on the base. I found the plaque from my first NASCAR race ever:


Ricky Rudd beat Bill Elliott that day. I was so disappointed!

Finally, here’s me with Miles:


And a closer shot of the medal. It’s the size of my face!


I checked my results on some computers set up under a tent. I was the 22nd woman to finish (of 226), but 11th in my age group (of 60). F 30-39 showed up today! I was also 50th overall of 345 total finishers.

Bottom line, I really enjoyed this race! It’s small but well-run. Obviously my favorite part was the first mile on the race track, but the rest of the course was nice too, if you like running past fields with no spectators, like I do. I’m not sure I’d want to run another 13.1 miles through those fields though. Pretty sure I’ll stick to the half distance for this race.

See ya a week from Monday!


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