>> Monday, February 16, 2009
Or, “Chilly Half Marathon in Rochester.”
Or, “I Got Lost Running a Half Marathon in Rochester.”
I was looking for redemption after my January half marathon that was shortened to a 10.25K because of the cold. I tried to stay in shape over the last 3 weeks, and I was still shooting for a new half-marathon PR.
So yesterday morning, I got all my stuff together around 5:30 am:
I had my homemade pace chart taped to my wrist, which HOPEFULLY had me finishing with a 1:29:00 PR (6:47 / mile):
“1, 2, 3, GO!” And we were off!
I NEEDED to take it easy when I started out. (See my 4-part game-plan in Saturday’s post.) But I found myself running in 3rd place, so I eased up. I moved back to around 6th to 8th place, and I started chatting with runners around me. There were a lot of chatters! I loved it! Shortly after, I was in 6th place, and I held it there for a few miles.
Mile 1: 7:08. Good. Where I needed to be.
Mile 2: 6:47. A little fast for this early on, but OK.
Mile 3: 6:37. TOO fast. Ease up.
The course was looping all over the place: we’d cross these 2 little rivers back-and-forth. It was constant tiny rolling hills, but not bad by any means (I first started feeling the hills around mile 9). There were lots of turns, but the course was clear of ice and snow. It was just a little sandy. Here’s the loopy course. Try to make sense of this:
Mile 5: 6:49. Overall, 12 seconds behind my goal, but I figured I’d be farther back. I hoped I didn’t go out too hard...
Right at mile 5, I started talking to the guy in 5th place. We chatted for a bit - we both knew Bill N, who organizes a lot of dus and tris in the Rochester area. I took off in front of him, and we wished each other luck. I was now in 5th. I could see 3rd and 4th place running side-by-side under a minute in front of me.
Mile 6: 6:13. (a little short)
Mile 7: 7:18. (a little long)
There was no “halfway marker,” as it was a looping race. Doing the math, I would have hit the halfway mark at 45:06. That’s right about where I wanted to be! (Maybe even 10-20 seconds faster.)
Mile 8: 6:43. Miles 7 and 8 were done as the second loop around a little lake, so I was passing a lot of people who were still on their first loop. I was saying “Good morning” to everyone. It was a very friendly race.
Just after hitting mile 8, it was time to turn back towards home. I was starting to hurt.
Mile 9: 6:54. Hurting.
Just before mile 10, I technically got a little lost. I had just lost sight of the 2 guys running in front of me, and I didn’t know if I needed to go under this foot bridge or up to the street above (the trail split). There weren’t any arrows or cones on the path. I had to make a quick call. “I think we ran along the street up above...” So I took the high road. A few seconds later, and I knew I was wrong. “Shit.” I needed to go under that bridge. So instead of turning around, I just sprinted across 4 lanes of traffic (I believe it was Broadway), down a steep hill that was icy in spots, and back to the trail that I should have never left. Talk about adding in another hill. Damn it. Oh well. That led to mile 10 being a little longer than it should have been...
Mile 10: 6:57. At mile 10, we had to run by the finish area. Torture! We had one last out-and-back section to do. I was really dead. But I tried to start picking up the pace. I was still trying to catch those 2 guys in front of me.
Mile 11: 6:41. Hurting. Real. Bad. Just after mile 11, we turned for the last time and headed straight back towards the finish (see map). I met the guy who I talked with at mile 5 (who was now running in 7th or 8th place), and he said “Go Steve! You’ve got those 2 guys in front of you!” I was gunning for them. But I was hashed. I was breathing REALLY hard - like Michael Jackson at a Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Mile 12: 6:21. My splits were moving in the right direction - I was getting faster. But I was HURTING. When I start to hurt near the end of a race, I actually speed up because I think to myself: “If you speed up, the hurting will be over sooner.” Seriously. Pharmie and I just had this conversation, and she thinks I’m crazy. She told me that “normal people” slow up when they feel like they are going to die; they don’t run faster. Is there anyone else who thinks/runs like me?
My core was SO TIGHT. I looked over my shoulder with about .7 miles left, and I knew I had 5th place - I couldn’t see anyone behind me. “Damn it Steve, that’s not the point! Go for your PR! You’re doing this for TIME! GO!!” You’re right, voices in my head. Why would I stop listening to you now?
Mile 13 and the last 0.1: 6:44. (6:07/mile pace)
Official Time: 1:28:05
5th Overall out of 120
6:43 / mile pace
PR by 1:20
I had my PR!! I high-fived Mike in the finisher’s chute (Mike is the one who let me know about this race). Here’s the tiny chute for the tiny half-marathon:
IF that’s true, and IF I ran that pace for 13.1 instead of 13.4, my finishing time should have been 1:26:10. But it wasn’t, so I’m using 1:28:05 as my official half marathon PR. (Oh, and if it was 13.4, my pace was really 6:34, not 6:43. But I know - I need to let this go and move on.)
Here’s a shot of me about 2 minutes after finishing:
And here’s some snot I blew all over the sidewalk. I thought it was a rather graceful, elegant form:
(Notice I’m still a little pink from a little wind-burn)
I’ve been a lucky boy in the last few days, so I’ve got a few bits of good news to post in the next few days. (No, no one is pregnant. And no Sarah, we still don’t have a parrot either.) Y’all come back now, ya hear?