Monday, September 17, 2012

Surftown Half Marathon Race Report....a "new" PR!

This might be a bit long, but I had a really great day yesterday, so bear with me, dear friends!

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:

Mile              Pace
1                    9:29
2                    9:27
3                    9:28
4                    9:28   (hey, is there a trend developing???)
5                    9:59   (nope)
6                    9:52
7                    9:47
8                    9:57
9                    9:35
10                 10:41  (a rough mile...tough hill....hip tightness...but I fought through it!)
11                  9:50
12                 10:10
13                  9:50
.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!

Onwards!


15 comments:

  1. Sounds like a great race and a fun day, Bill! Love the cool medals! Nice work!

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  2. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO proud of you, Bill! Love this post!

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  3. Congrats on the new PR! awesome. :)

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  4. Just wonderful! Congrats!

    What a great day eh? A good confidence builder that you are reading for the marathon!

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  5. Congratulations Bill!! Looks like it was a great day! You earned it!

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  6. Great job! Don't you love it when you see improvement?? No wonder you had to yell nonsense!!!
    I love the medal too!!

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  7. Looks like a beautiful day for running a half! And I love "new" PRs! Nice comeback. Look forward to hearing more speedy recaps in the future!

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  8. Looks like you had a blast! Great job!

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  9. Congratulations on a great race Bill, with some great splits throughout. There is truly something special about running a race in which you just feel great and are having a blast. I feel confident that you're going to rock your upcoming marathon just like you did this one. Well done !

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  10. woooo hoooooo! Sounds like you ran a GREAT race! And you look like you are having so much fun too! Thats the way to do it!!

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  11. Nice job! What a great confidence booster as you head into Hartford!!

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  12. Congratulations, well done! Love the pics.

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  13. Dude, it was awesome to finally meet you. Like you said, it kinda felt like I already knew you. Hope we get to meet up again at another race soon!

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  14. AWESOME JOB! I hope your run today went well despite running solo! Last year I did 100% of my runs solo, this year has been a mishmash of supporting characters! Both have their benefits. Hope you enjoyed the solitude ;-D

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  15. Awesome Bill!!! I love the pics and you should be so proud!!! Hartford will be cake now right? Way to go;)

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