Today was a hot one! This year was the 10th annual Brooksie Way Half Marathon. At start time the temperature was nearly 70 degrees! Last year, it was in the 50s- the perfect running temperature. For some reason I thought the race started at 8:30, not at 8 am, but thanks to my NEED to be there real early, it wasn’t a problem… I also did not pick up my shirt or bib on Friday or Saturday but when I got there, there was no line so I didn’t stress.

Last night I had my favorite long run and pre-race fuel: a caprese sandwich from Nautical Deli. This time, I bought a second one for breakfast instead of saving the second half for the morning.

The Brooksie Way takes off from the grounds of my alma mater, Oakland University. I’ve participated in this race a few times now (previously 2013, 2014, and 2016). I knew it to be a challenging course and yet it holds my PR (2014, 1:50:11- looking back I have no idea HOW- I was living off of dorm food and from May to September I had only ran half the distance I did this summer). At least my runs then were usually hilly the month before the race since the campus and neighborhoods we would run around for Running Club were. It was good to be back. Before the race I saw two of my friends I’ve met because of Running Club! Sarah and Olivia. I wish I got a picture with them!

Before the race!

Once in the starting corral I chatted with some more of my new running friends! That’s always nice. I didn’t have a real goal but expected between 1:50-1:55. Race organizers do a great job with starting because I never feel like I’m about to trip over someone during the first mile.

The first five miles averaged an 8:08/mile. I didn’t even mean to! But I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold up with the heat and humidity (and hills). So I backed off a little. Two weeks ago when I ran Mackinac Island’s Eight Mile race, I averaged 8: 27 pace no problem thanks to cooler temps.

Then when the hills started a couple miles later I’m sure my pace spiked to 10:30. Anyways, after Tienken Rd finally ended (miles 7 and 8) I tried to keep a smile on my face. There’s always families and spectators scattered along the course and even someone shouted, “look, she’s got a smile on still!” I guess I was hoping that smiling would give me an energy boost. Because of the conditions I took water more frequently but a couple times I felt I got the chills.

The Brooksie Way course elevation

But do you see these splits? A stronger finish, at least! I averaged an 8:42 pace for official results finishing in 1:53:54. This was still my best time since 2014 and now my 3rd best ever (heck, it’s the first time under 1:55-56 since 2014!). I’m surprised this was 293rd of 1,613 and even more surprised I was the 62nd female of 741! I thought I’d be farther back in the crowd!

Afterwards, my friend Janet spotted me and we talked a little! I saw some of her posse on the course with a sign and I had shouted, that I hoped she was in front me, knowing how well her triathlons had helped her running this summer! How awesome- her husband Matt got some pictures of me running!

A shot before I even reached the tough hills! Thanks, Matt for the pictures!

I really like the color-block design of the shirts this year.

Then we went to Rochester Brunch House, the best brunch place in the area! My mom and aunt so kindly came to support me. When we were at brunch my mom recognized the girl at the table next to us was in the race, too! Even front and center in one of my mom’s pictures (with me in the background). We texted it to her.

No mimosa for me but my mom loves them!

Following last year’s tradition, we drove another half hour north to pick apples at Blake’s. I can’t wait for the apple pies, cakes, and apple sauce we’ll be making. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel much like fall. It was up to 87 degrees at that time. I also ran into the storefront for donuts and cider!

The hottest apple picking ever

It certainly was a fantastic day today! Now just five days until my first Ragnar Relay!