So why am I calling it a "new" PR? Because it's not the fastest half marathon I've ever run.
I actually PR'd (2:01:39) in my very first half marathon (Lowell, MA), but that was back in October 2008. After that one, I ran another in March 2009 (New Bedford, MA - 2:04:36), but didn't race that distance again until March 2012 (Quincy, MA - 2:13:03), when I was using it as a training run prior to running the Boston Marathon. That course came up as 12.93 miles on my Garmin, so I figure my time for 13.1 would've been around 2:15.
Then I ran my 4th half marathon (Jamestown, RI) in July. My time that day (2:24:08) caused me no small measure of concern, as I felt that I was really struggling.
So yesterday, I had several goals in mind. First off, to finish the race on my feet, uninjured. With my next marathon coming up in 4 weeks, injury and sickness are constant concerns. Beyond that, I was hoping to erase my last half marathon experience from my mind and replace it with a much more positive memory. Considering that ever since my school year started up again, I've found it increasingly difficult to stick to my training schedule, even losing out on a few long runs due to other obligations. Any thought of challenging my PR were banished to the "you gotta be kidding me" file, but I was hoping to maybe...just maybe....bring it in under 2:10. I was also looking forward to meeting up with my blog buddy Jose (http://andsoitburns.blogspot.com/) who was also running this race.
The race location is something like 75 miles from my house, so in order to make it down there for the 7:30 start time, I set my alarm for 4:15am so I would have enough time to get dressed and have a small bowl of oatmeal before leaving around 5:00. The day dawned chilly, with just a touch of fall in the air; temps in the 40's, but would be warming into the low 50's by start time.....PERFECT running weather!!! Clear skies, light breeze......perfect!
The drive down was uneventful and I quickly parked in the beachside parking lot and headed to the registration area. Got my bib quickly, as well as a cool bag from the Hartford Marathon Foundation, as well as one of the COOLEST race shirts EVER! As I've got drawers full of cotton t-shirts, I welcome the opportunity to get a tech shirt instead, although the sizing can be a bit dicey at times. The HMF, however, really got this one right, handing out TURQUOISE tech shirts that fit just right! VERY COOL! I walked back to my car to drop everything off, stopped for one final "pit stop", and then took my place in the corral......and before too long, we were off. I did find myself moving around a lot of slower runners in that first mile, looking for a little clear running room so I could move at my own pace, but I was able to get that done quickly and then settled into a comfortable rhythm. The course was fairly flat and VERY scenic, starting off with great ocean views and then touring through several scenic neighborhoods. I found myself moving along at a pretty good clip....feeling good enough that the normal inner dialogue was changing from "boy, I'm tired" to "hey, I feel pretty good....let's see what we can do today!". I think the splits tell the story, so here they are:
4 9:28 (hey, is there a trend developing???)
5 9:59 (nope)
10 10:41 (a rough mile...tough hill....hip tightness...but I fought through it!)
.26 8:02 (yeah baby, here comes THE DIESEL!!!!)
13.26 miles............2:09:36. That's under 2:10!!!! And actually, it comes to just under 2:08 for 13.1 miles.
830th out of 1261 finishers....51st out of 59 in the M 50-54 group...408th out of 510 male finishers.....and 27th out of 48 Clydesdales!!! I'm JAZZED!!!!
15 minutes faster than my last half marathon.....and several minutes faster than the one I ran in March.
So even though it's not really my fastest ever, it's the best I've run in 4 years...and the best for this decade......so it's my new PR! There, I said it again (sorry, Britney!)
And to top it all off, I got to hang with this speedy dude: Jose totally CRUSHED this half, finishing 76th overall! He hung around and waited for me to finish, even catching a picture of me (see below)' chugging down to the finish line. We've been following each other's blogs for a few months now but this was our first real opportunity to meet. He's a great guy and it was a treat to hang out with him after the finish. We had a chance to talk about our kids, our jobs, our running, our blogs, and everything else under the sun. I felt like I already knew him from the blogosphere, but it was great being able to actually meet the real Jose. I certainly hope we'll be able to run together sometime in the future and I'm so glad we were finally able to meet!
Ok, so now a few pics!
|I'm so happy to meet Jose that I'm yelling nonsense!|
The medals we got were these really cool little surfboards....after all, it was the Surftown Half!
|There I am, bringing it home!|
All in all, it was a great day....a day that's left me VERY hopeful for my future running. I know I've got a few weeks left to go before running the Hartford Marathon, and I've still got to keep training, but I feel that I have it in me to be GREAT....and I think that's something I can and will tap into!