alternate title: Why The Frostbite Half Kicks The Tom King Half's Ass.
It's funny how people fall in love with different races. I'm sure race directors would love to delve deep into the psyche of runners and figure out just what it is that makes some people love one race, while others hate it. Is it the race shirt? Does having a tech tee make X number of people happier? Is it awesome crowd support? Or maybe it's the number of aid stations along the route?
Nope. It's none of those things. There's one easy explanation: It's how well you perform at the race that makes all the difference. No one remembers the swag or the aid stations... all anyone remembers is their PR or their awesome time.
Enter the Cedars of Lebanon Frostbite Half Marathon. It's a low-key race. $5 registration fee, rolling hills, gravel, and with a date in February, it's always a crapshoot with the weather. And last year, I kicked this race's ass and finished with a time of 1:49:54 (I know, it still shocks me to this day).
It's funny, because for most people here in Nashville... there is one favorite Half Marathon... The Tom King Half Marathon. Everyone I know LOVES that race.. it's the flattest, fastest Half Marathon you're going to get in Nashville, and despite the fact that it's always 40 degrees and raining, everyone PRs at this race and everyone loves it.
I ran it. Once. Last Year. And I missed breaking my PR by less than a minute, because I had my splits figured wrong. Ugh. (Amy+Math+Running= FAIL).
So, anyway... back to the race at hand. Everyone seems to run the Frostbite Half as a little primer for the Tom King (it's a month later). But, I actually love this race and running it for the 3rd time this year (the first time it was in a different location.. I PRed that time, too!), I was reminded why.
First of all.. yes... there's gravel and yes... it's hilly (hillier than I remembered). But they are rolling hills and even though I hate hills, there's something about rolling hills in a race that I really like. Flat races bore me. The gravel didn't really bother me this year. Especially after running two marathons last year that were all gravel. (You get used to it).
Second of all... unlike Tom King, this is the ONLY time I ever run in this particular location. Sure, it's boring... but it's still different. Tom King is boring, but it's also SUPER familiar. Snooze-fest.
So, even though Tom King is flat and fast, I still prefer this low-key, cheap, hilly little half marathon much better. Maybe one day that'll change... but for now... I love you, Frostbite Half.
Okay, enough of the love-fest, here's my actual race report...
Saturday morning I got to the park and hooked up with Melanie. We had talked beforehand and neither of us were in a position to "race," so we just decided to treat it like a training run. We started out in the back of the pack. Neither of us had seen each other in awhile, so we spent a good bit of the run catching each other up on the goings on in our lives for the past couple of weeks.
I remember at one point early in the race, Melanie mentioned something about looking at the elevation profile and I assured her... "ohhh... it's really not that hilly at all." Haha. Apparently I had a case of PR memory... (PR Memory is defined as: blocking out anything bad about a race, like the hills or lack of aid stations or anything negative about a race, because you PRed anyway, so all you remember are unicorns and rainbows and shit). Because as soon as I said that... we were greeted with a hill. Now... it may not have been all PR memory, because this year the course was ran the opposite direction as last year...
Anyway... we were cruising along, tackling the hills and maintaining a pretty even 9:30ish pace the entire time. I couldn't believe it. I expected to finish the race around 2:10. I kept expecting us to slow down because neither of us felt like we were in shape to be really pushing it, but we kept going and I actually think we might have sped up a little at the end (I usually am ready to just get the freak finished at that point). The last couple of miles we passed like a butt-load of people. There was a pretty long uphill really close to the finish and I think it slowed a lot of people down, but we just plugged along. I even chatted up a guy that had Vibrams on... I asked him how they fared on the 2 miles of gravel and I think he said..."good" and I took the hint that he wasn't interested in chatting about his choice of footwear with a half mile of a half marathon to go. Sorry dude, it was a training run for me... I didn't mean to interrupt your mojo. I was just genuinely curious, is all.
When we approached the finish line I saw that the clock read 2:01:xx and I was in disbelief. Holy Crap! We were going to finish under 2:05?? We kicked it up for the last little bit and finished in 2:02:35.