13.1 Valpo (2011) Race Review……and Wind Gust alert

The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.               John Bingham

Yesterday was one of those days that if you hauled your ass out of bed got out to run, you are a winner in my book.  The wind had been howling out here in NoWheresVille since Saturday and by Sunday morning we were under a wind advisory aka….hope you have a big ass ate a lot of Halloween Candy so you didn’t blow away.  I specifically registered for 13.1 Valpo to chase the elusive 1:50 dream goal.  I ran a 1:53 in September in a very injured state and knew was pretty sure I had this in the bag.  However, I shouldn’t have been so cocky a person can never predict performance since each race, and the conditions, is distinctly different…… even if you think you know what to expect. 

The Valparaiso wind factor was approximately 26 mph with gusts up to 36 mph. (Update:  I was told below in the comments that the wind was even stronger and hitting 45-50mph and gusting to 55mph at times.)  Had we been running a city race, this wouldn’t have been as much of an issue because the large skyscrapers provide a great wind break.  However, if you have been to Valpo, you already know there really isn’t a “city”, but lots of corn fields and we run past all of them, on tar & chipped, sloped country roads.  You might ask why I would choose this event for a PR and that is because I have run enough races to know that the fewer people there are to dodge on course and at water stops the faster the finish.  I have also ran a lot of miles on my own tar & chipped, sloped country roads so am somewhat of an expert in country running.  I was familiar with this race, knew the course, and was happy with last year’s set up or lack there of.  This may be a small country race but the Fleet Feet Schererville Team sponsors it so there is adequate water, port-o-pots, and on course support without it being overwhelming.  You won’t find support at every mile here but more spread out to every 2 or 3 miles. They don’t have fancy clocks at every mile but instead exuberant volunteers calling out the time.  David M. (aka:  Frogger) was calling splits and encouragement at mile 9!And nothing beats the post race spread at a Hoosier ran event.  So happy to be Hoosier born on days like this……

I really came for the chili!  LOVE!

I can’t possibly lie since TH Timing already published my finish, this race was rough for me.  I never really felt bad but also never got into a grove either, then we can add in the wind which literally pushed me from side to side multiples times.  I felt like I was crawling in spots and several times a foot in the upswing would kick the opposite ankle cuz the wind was so strong it would push my foot in mid air/stride.  I also made a stupid rookie mistake early on and started with my jacket knowing the temps were good but the wind had me scared nervous and shaking with  fear cold.  So I was busy repinning my bib to my shirt and  taking off my jacket in the second mile.  The early splits which I usually see are in the late 7, early 8 range and well, there just weren’t any many of those.  The first half was okay, if there was any tail wind it was here but I hit the 7 mile at 1 hr and knew I was screwed not going to be make 1:50 or anything close.  I typically take a dive in the later miles, plus I knew we were preparing to run directly into the wind.  The good part about being slow letting so many people pass me was that I met some new runners.  People talk to you when you wear your heart on your sleeve have your name on your shirt.   Thanks Bob H. at RaceExpressions for another great shirt!

I ran with Mitzi T. around the 5th mile.  She is coach to the Speedy Cat J. who was 2nd overall female with a 1:35.  Here is an “after” photo with Cat, Hubby Eric, & Coach Mitzi.  Ms. Mitzi has both a brother and son named Fritz so my shirt caught her eye!  Thanks for talking with me for a bit before flying by to your phenomenal finish!  Great job Cat & Mitzi!

I also had the pleasure to meet another crazy blogger, Nick Q. from quirken.com.  Nick was kind enough to chat me up for a bit in the 7th mile and offer me a wind break once we dove into the wind in the 8th mile but alas I couldn’t hang.  Great race, Nick and thanks for slowing the pace  hanging with me for a bit!

All in all, it was a great race.  I would definitely run again and am happy with the race and overall support and post-race event.  We certainly can’t control the weather but I would certainly like to try just have to deal with what Mother Nature gives us with a positive attitude and a few prayers for a swift finish.  Today that finish just took a bit longer……2:02:25…….but I still got one of these…….

Today I was thankful this race was a 13.1 and not a 26.2…….that was my main focus in the last half.  Some days you just need to keep moving toward the finish and focus on the fact that you are doing something that most would never even think to attempt. 

Happy Running,                                                                                                            Amanda – TooTallFritz                                                                                  amanda@tootallfritz.com