No plan? No problem. I didn't train with a specific plan in mind, and I just hoped to get below 1:40 today. This morning I got to Frankfort in plenty of time and picked up my packet. I got the wrong size shirt, and they didn't have any more (they asked if I signed up late - let's just say, I was #17, meaning I was the 17th person to register). So they gave me an extra t-shirt from last year's race as an apology for giving me the wrong size. I mostly stayed in the car to keep warm; it was cold and windy out there! I kept second-guessing what to wear, and I ended up with shorts (of course), long sleeve tech shirt, run DMC jersey, hat, gloves, compression sleeves, and Sketcher GoRun shoes.
When the race was ready to start, I made my way toward the front... expecting to find fast runners and tuck in behind them, I was kind of surprised to see nobody up there. I had seen some guys who looked fast hanging around, but I guess they were running the 5K (which started 5 minutes after the 1/2). After observing a moment of silence for Boston and everyone affected (NOTE: even if you're a spectator, when the announcer announces a moment of silence, SHUT UP. Tell the person on the other side of the cell phone that you can't talk. You can wait the 30 seconds. How rude), the starter gave us a count down and the race was on.
I stepped out quickly - my feet felt extremely light and we were going downhill and there was a stiff wind at our backs. One runner went out faster than I was, and he looked strong and I knew I couldn't try to stick with him. So I tried to find my pace and just run. I was thankful that I'd brought my iPod - my hard running playlist was really handy, especially since I didn't see another runner until after the turn-around.
I would bore you with my mile splits, but just think "somewhere around 7" for all of them. I was right on pace. In the first few miles, I was second-guessing my clothing; I was too hot pretty quickly. But would I need the extra clothes on the return run into the wind? During the fifth mile, I took off my shirt (yes, Dave P., I ran shirtless for a while) and just put the short sleeve shirt back on. A little tricky to maintain a 7 minute mile pace while changing clothes, keeping an iPod on, etc. I dropped the shirt, my hat, and my gloves off at a water stop, and they returned them to me after the race.
At the turn-around, I was at 46:22. Then came the wind. The first mile after the turn-around was brutal. the wind was straight in my face. But this was the first time I got a view of the competition... they were far enough behind that I knew I had 2nd place wrapped up. Kind of a scary thought - with that far to go. So this became more of a mental race than physical.
The wind wasn't bad for the next few miles, until the last mile, when it was brutal again. I kicked it as much as I could, knowing that a PR was possible. At some point, Duke got confused and was reading the miles a little long. I'm not sure when, maybe mile 8, but it said 13.26 instead of 13.1.
The finish was rather uneventful, as I had 2nd wrapped up. I got a medal, a coupon for a free Road ID (nice, since my old one is outdated with my old information on it), and a coupon for a free Subway sandwich. I made my way back to the picnic shelter, where a three-piece bluegrass band was jamming and they had a whole bunch of bean soup (not much cornbread left, but it was really good) and cookies. I went out and cheered for other runners and waited for the end of the run, when the water stop people came back with my gear.
It was a good run, and I was extremely happy with my result!