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Outback classic half marathon report

I had my doubts on Wednesday. After feeling super heavy during my 4 mile warm-up run on the treadmill at the Y, I went to Karel in the weight room and told him that I felt a little strange. I wasn't too concerned because I knew what was coming. Let's just say that mother nature gave me a little surprise, 5 days late and 1 day before my race. I don't mind admitting it because well, I am a women and it is part of life. All the women out there live with it and well, I think it is just one more challenge for us women to overcome as we are training. Unfortunatly, after leaving my microbiology class on Wed I was feeling super horrible. My body was all crampy, my stomach hurt and I was just feeling awful...absolutely awful. I just wanted to go home and sleep.
I had some errands to run and I tried to keep my mind off how miserable I felt. When I got home, Campy and I went for a long walk and as usual, he cheers me up. Later that afternoon we did our daily 1.2-there and back walk to the Trek store and Karel cheered me up with a new Giordana winter jacket and gloves. :)
So, the day went on, I had an early dinner of eggs and toast because I had no apetite all day and while watching TV with Karel last night, I just wondered how I would be able to race on Thursday.
Having said all that, I do not make excuses. Although I was feeling super crappy, I had not convinced myself that I would have a crappy race. I told Karel my body was ready to race. I tapered, I rested and I was excited to run. My body may have felt lousy but I was in the mood to race. So, when Thursday came I just put away any negative thoughts and convinced myself that I could run fast today.
It was kinda strange because the race was 1.2 miles down the road at Outback and because of that, I didn't need to drive there. After waking up at 6am, eating my toast w/ PB and banana slices and getting dressed I had so much extra time. It was only 7am so I decided to take Campy for a walk. I could hear the race music going on and I was even more excited to leave. I was dressed in my zoot long sleeve shirt and I decided on my hammmer tri shorts because they compressed on my legs, rather than wearing loose running shorts. It was a bit cold (mid 40's) in the morning but I knew that would bring fast running.
I made my 9 min run up to the start and at 7:45 I was just standing around, waiting for the start. At 8am the race was off.....
The best part about this race was that I had run on all the roads, except for the last 2 miles. I knew every turn, every slight incline and decline (there were only a few of them and very small) and all the nice houses I could look at.
The first 3 miles were fast. Almost too fast. I was running under my goal pace of 1:25 and I found myself around 7:15 and under for the first few miles. Rather than slowing myself down I told myself that if I could keep that pace up, I would have some built in time (around a minute) if I needed to slow down the last few miles. I had a new race strategy today if I wanted to reach my goal time of 1:38.
If I don't slow down, I will run fast enough to get my goal time.
I know, I'm a genius.
In all seriousness, I really really really wanted to slow down. Especially around mile 6, my legs started to not coroporate. There was only water at the aid stations and I only had 1 gel with me (Hammer vanilla). I wanted to use 1/2 of that gel at mile 8 and then again at mile 10 but I was beginning to feel super tired by mile 7. Luckily, an aid station with powerade came at mile 7 and when I grabbed that drink, it was like I was getting a shot of sugar. Oh, did I love it.
I kept on running with the same group of guys and although I was slowing down a bit I was still on pace to reach my goal time. After taking 1/2 mile gel at 8 and then again at 10, I was feeling like I was going to run a bit faster than my goal time. However, I got a super sharp pain/cramp in my right side just before mile 11 and I was hurting so bad. I had to slow down a bit but there was no walking for me. I tried everything, pushing in my side, making sure i was inhaling and exhaling on my left foot and I tried breathing deeper. Finally, I decided to do my hillary biscay run (I call it that because I feel like I run like her when I do that and I just think she is great!). I kinda lowered myself to the ground, lowered my arms to my hips and kinda shuffled my legs fast for a few minutes. Although it didn't do the trick completely, it did enough to allow me to pick up my pace again.
I had 1.5 miles to go and I saw Karel's coach in front of me. As I passed him up he told me to "go get 'em girl!" That really cheered me up to power it out as much as I could on the last mile.
*On a side note, Karel's coach, Shawn Burke, just did Kona (for fun), raced IMFL a few weeks later and placed 8th in his AG to re-qualify for Kona (to race) next year. What an awesome athlete/coach. He was just cruising during the half marathon and I don't blame him.
The last mile came and although I didn't spill the beans during this race report, I knew I was way ahead of my goal time during the entire race. When I saw the clock as I made the turn to the finish line shute, I was in shock. Absolute shock.

I just can't believe it.
5th in my age group
32nd overall female.
I still can't believe it but my body is reminding me this morning, that I pushed really hard to get that time.

Here are the splits:
8:16 (last 1.1 mile)
Total: 1:36.30