Sunday, June 12, 2011
My Half Mary...it's been a long, long time.
So I registered for the Worcester Half Marathon a while back thinking it would be a good follow on for Boston. Little did I know that I'd lose all my racing/training mojo after that marathon. I've slowly gotten back into racing through duathlons but those only have 2 or 3 mile long running legs. Subsequently, I haven't done a run over 4 or 5 miles since Boston...but my duathlons have been going well so I figured I'd throw in at least a 6 mile training run before the race and I should be good. Right? Right?!
As competetive as I am, I had to realize going into the race; I haven't done a half mary in over a decade and that having any expectation more than finishing would be silly (um, just because I said that out loud does not mean I thought that for real at all. I just know it's the "right thing" thing to think). I did not however expect to dislocate a rib the day prior to the race (a different one this time, long story for both how I can dislocate ribs and how this one got dislocated). Oh well, figured since I registered for it I'd just go into for fun and see how I did. If the pain was too great I could always drop out, right (yes, another thing that sounds right to say)?
So on Saturday J and I went to the "expo" to pick up our numbers and race. Said "expo" turned out to be 4 tables and a rather disjointed group of people assembling race packets. I wasn't expecting an expo the size of Boston's but sheesh. So, big pasta dinner and a good night's sleep was in order before the big day.
Luckily the race start was just down the street from J's place so no need to deal with the mess and hassle of parking. A short walk and we were there. Milling around at the start, it dawned on me that the dislocated rib, the realization that Worcester is by no means a flat city (i.e. hilly) and that I've not run over 5 miles since Boston were all conspiring to make this a less than fun endeavor. So, I tried to something a bit out of character for me...calm down and be smart. I recently read an article on Active.com that for races where you're given a chip for timing, since time starts when you cross the start line not at the gun there's no need to be at the front nor rush to be there at the gun. Since I have a terrible problem with going out to fast at the start of a race and fading over time I figured this would be a great way to approach the race. The gun sounded and we're off. Now one of the added benefits of starting at the back of the pack...is you get the great psychological boost of running by people throughout the length of a race :)
Miles 1-4: 7:44, 7:34, 7:38, 8:11
My rib was killing me. By mile 2, I made the decision to give it one more mile and if I didn't feel better I'd stop. Then I said the same thing to myself at mile 3. By mile 4 it didn't notice it anymore so I just concentrated on running. That 8min pace at mile 4 was a result of a hill...a really big hill.
Miles 5-8: 7:32, 7:44, 7:25, 7:53
I tried to settle into a comfortable groove. However it was starting to get warm so I tried running in the shade as much as possible.
Miles 9-12: 7:55, 7:55, 8:11, 8:02
Now I'm obviously starting to get tired. The lack of training at this distance is starting to set in. Add in that there was one huge, long hill, in the sun with no shade in sight before the "turn for home" and I started to slow.
Mile 13 and that .1: 8:07, 7:34
To be completely honest, by this time I just wanted it to be over. The last mile seemed to last forever. I started to pick up the pace as I passed the mile 13 marker. I crossed the finish in 1:42:45, averaging a 7:50 pace. I was shooting for at least a 1:45 so not too bad. Hindsight being what it is, had I been able to keep pressing through miles 10-13, I could've not only a shaved 2 minutes off my time but I would've been able to catch my other friend running the race (I am competitive remember). All in all not a bad day and the grin in the photo shows I am very happy to be done with the race. Oh ya, HUGE thanks to Jessie for being an awesome, one woman support staff and photographer.