Monday, September 03, 2007

R&R Virginia Half-Mary

Trying to break 1:41

My goal for this half mary was not too liberal, sub 1:40. From looking at my training runs I felt I could run a FLAT half in the 1:31-1:32 range; because of the hills here I would have been more than happy to break 1:35.

It was just amazing the participation we had in this race. We had over 50 German runners, several dozen Spanish runners, and representation from Greek, Polish, Austrian and other soldiers from NATO. Knowing that the depth was stronger than our typical races in our Camp, I felt- rather I knew- I could break the top 50. I also wanted to take the monkey off my back from my lackluster showing at the DANCON a few months ago; after all running is MY event. Right? Right!

The weather was near perfect with some winds in the 10 MPH range. Somebody asks me what my age group is and I tell him; he says that I’ll probably win it. I smile. Then he says, oh but Major S is in that AG, he will probably win. I open my BIG mouth and say: I will beat him, but there are OTHER runners who may win it. [I have always beaten Major S in shorter distances, and I get better as the distance gets longer, so I reasoned beating him was a no-brainer. I guess I AM the one w/o a brain :-)]

A one mile warm up seems reasonable. I do some stretching and I am ready to go.

I start comfortably hard and the first two miles are relatively flat and I clock 7:08 and 6:56. Awesome, sub 1:35 may be in the cards today. Mile three includes a deceivingly hard climb and I slow down to 7:38, but in spite of the slow time I do not worry. The fourth mile comes in at 7:54 and Major S passes me. I envision reeling him in later in the race. I am confident; however, it was false confidence. The mile includes a nice descent and the split is a 7:29. Then I go through the meat of the hills and the first mile over 8 shows up on my Garmin, ouch.

I won’t go into the rest of the splits because it got ugly. A few more runners pass me and my ego gets bruised, really bruised; it’s becoming the norm. If I didn’t know better I would have walked the last 5K. I managed just under 8 mpm pace for the remainder of the race. Tried to pass one runner close to the end who passed me around 11 but the b*stard [smile] picked it up and actually extended his lead. I see the clock and it reads 1:40:46… I gun it hoping to cross before the zero becomes a one [see picture - which by the way, the grimace on my face was not from physical pain, but from disgust at my performance.] I muster a semblance of a kick, but not quite enough as I cross the finish and the timer yells 1:41 flat, a personal worst in the half-mary. And Major S kicked my arse handily, by over five minutes. My only consolation is that no female runner finished ahead of me :-)

Oh and I finished 49th overall... out of more than 250 runners. Ouch, says my ego. Bottom line, I had a nice two-mile tempo and 12 easy miles :-)

I have no excuses. I simply did not have course specific training [read: hills]; I cannot blame anyone but myself. I am too much of a wuss when it comes to hills, I have seriously become afraid of hills. And so it goes.

Lets see if I can redeem myself next month during our satellite Army 10-Miler.

1 comment:

The Salty One said...

Heh, not bad for hauling around 3 extra pounds of wonderful Mexican cuisine!

In all seriousness I think you're right. The hills beat you up, but you also beat yourself up! Oh, and you went out way too fast :) If you would have gone out in 7:30's you wouldn't have gotten so trashed by the hills probably. But, hills get the best of all of us sometimes. If we've made any pacing mistakes at all throughout the race the hills will punish us for it severely. You've run Boston. You know what I mean :)

Hope you had a nice vacay and a good trip back "home!"