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 ( 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 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!



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

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

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

  4. Just wonderful! Congrats!

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

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

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

  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!

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

  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 !

  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!!

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

  12. Congratulations, well done! Love the pics.

  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!

  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

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