Monday, April 28, 2008

Nutmeg State Half Marathon: Race Report

Well this morning I got my ass out of bed at the butt crack of dawn to run 13.1 miles in the scenic Litchfield Hills. I showed up at the start line 20 min. before the the scene of a bunch of local road racers and a few chicks in yoga pants doing their pre race warm ups. Now may be it was dumb of me but I really didn't warm up for this sucker. I think I jogged at a leisurely pace for about 5 min. after getting my number and taping my feet up. ( My flats are relatively new so I'm still a tad bit blister eventually I will have them properly broken in.) I also discover that we racers let old habits die hard. I waited in line for one of about 4 portolets for about 5 min. When I passed the pavilion where registration was still going on, I noticed 2 flush toilet rest rooms..the line for the women's room was short, about 3 people and there was absolutely no line for the men's room...I think there is something about being an athlete that we are sort of programed to bee line for the portolets, even though there is a better alternative ripe for the picking. There was a 10k event with this race as well and the 50 odd people that signed up for the shorter event made their way over to the start line the gun went off at 7:55 and they were off. The us gluttons for pain made our way over to the start, our gun was due to go off at 8:00.

The race.

We started at 8:00 running backward through the finish chute ( some guy put the banner on wrong.) and around the ball field on a little gravel path. There were at the most 100 people doing this gig and most of them were training for the Vermont City marathon next month. The packs broke up early. A lead group of 5 to 10 runners, then a pack of 7 guys and a chick in yoga pants as a chase group. Me and this Yale chick from Cali, were in no man's land, and then the rest of the field behind. We made it out of the park and crossed the bridge through the center of town. We climbed a slight hill into the Depot, before getting on part of my usual bike loop. I looked down at my watch as we passed the first mile marker 7:43. We continued along Route 47 passing the second mile marker, me and Cali chick, beginning to reel in some guy with a knee brace that had been dumped off the back of the second group. For a second I had to check my watch to see if the markers were we passed the second mile marker. My split was supposedly a 7:07. At the first aid station Cali chick and myself caught the dude with knee braces and at the same time were passed by two forty something who were intent on catching the chase pack. I decided it would be wise not to pursue, since I really haven't gotten many long runs in since the Ironman. We hit the 3 mile mark I did a time check 7:51..alright that seemed a little more accurate. I began to pull away from Cali chick as this forty year old guy and a 35 year came along side. They were looking to hold 7:20 and I wasn't really struggling to keep pace so we made sort of an unspoken agreement to pace each other. We hit the 4 mile mark 6:39...we looked at one another.." I think the measurement's off." the 35 year old said...." Yeah, because to hold that kind of pace at this point I'd have to be sprinting" Cali chick answered back huffing and puffing about 3 feet behind. A nineteen year old rookie came along side and we started to shoot the shit before he pulled away. We hit the 5 mile mark 7:00...We began our descent into town. the nineteen year old stud out in front, me in a pack of my own for about a min. then the forty year old, the 35 year old, a studly 35 year old chick, and Cali Chick starting to go anaerobic.We hit the 6 mile mark and Third aid station. 6:55...I started tossing water on my head, and then I saw it the first real hill. the forty year old got around me and accelerated, the 35 year olds saw the hill and attacked it pulling out of sight I cracked, my stride shortens on hills, that and I figured I still had 6miles to go and it wouldn't be worth it if I blew it on one hill....We hit the next aid station, again water and gatorade....still going up finally the 8 mile mark appeared I had checked my watch 8:40..The seven mile mark was somewhere in this mess and apparently I did 7:19...regardless. We hit the turn around Cali chick was closing as was triathlete Phil...I hit the aid station again on the way down. Phil ran past noticing my team Blazeman shirt. " The warrior poet." he said... for a second I didn't my oxygen deprived head it almost sounded like "what are you holding?" I gave him a confused look " the blazeman" he said "the warrior poet." It had been hard to hear him the first time. We continued down hill back to the center of town to the 9 mile mark. 7:21 the down hill helped..again through the center of town and the to the left onto our 3 branch of "the shamrock" as this course had been described. Again at the aid station gatorade for the system and water over the head...I was beginning to look like I entered some sick and twisted wet T-shirt contest. We began to climb once again and around me came Cali Chick, as if to say I'm Baack! We hit the 10 mile marker 7:41...the pace was holding pretty good, but me legs were begining to feel like shit. We ran past Ken's aid station, now there is only one bad thing about running my Ken's aid station, he will almost go to the point of insult and in some cases beyond to get the lead out of your ass. I ran by " come on Rob this run ain't shit. I began to pull away from Cali Chick a little going in to the last turn the back of my head I was dreading a mad dash down the finish chute because my legs just didn't have it. we passed the aid station...Ken shouted something out but I couldn't hear it, I had Cali Chick right on my tail huffing and puffing finally getting around me and beginning to pull away..there was no 11 mile marker so when we hit the 12 mile mark I got the 2 mile split 14.17....1 mile left. As we made our way down hill back to the center of town Cali Chick began to sprint the advantage beginning to legs just didn't have in them to catch her....We made our turn to the right and over the bridge, then a right into the school yard for a "victory lap" of the ball field the 50 meter gap between me and Cali Chick didn't grow and for a while it was almost as if I was catching her. We hit the 13 mile marker plopped in the middle of the baseball field 7:37....Cali Chick saw the finish line and took a hard right toward the finish, she may be cut 2 feet off the course but after 13 miles it's not that big a deal I took the right hander 2 feet past the mile marker and came in about 30 seconds behind her. 1:37.13 according to my watch...1:37.09 according to the timing mat.( they subtracted the 4 seconds it took to get through the crowded start mat.) Cali Chick aka Lauren ( found her name after the race) explained to me that she was pacing me for the entire thing and as a result qualified for the ING New York City Marathon ( time standard is 1:37 flat...Men's standard is 1:23..I missed it by about 15 min.)

So ladies for my airfare, race entry, and a $50 good will bonus I can get you to qualify for the NYC marathon....

I hung around for the post race, but I always feel I turn into" that guy", because I talk about races, ask questions about essence I believe I become an annoying little bastard at the post race...I just feel like I never shut up, then again if I say more than 5 words I feel I've talked too much...but out of the deal I got a box load of bagels....

So in recap
Half Marathon in 1:37.09 = roughly 7:24 min/mile pace on semi-tired, undertrained legs ( I haven't done a run over 10 miles since New Zealand)

Hopefully with a little more training I'll be Kona or Clearwater bound after Eagleman, I could still change my registration at Patriot to Open ( and eligible for cash prizes) as most of the big names are racing for more cash in RI depending on my Eagleman showing I might end up racing for cash.
Well that's all I can write for the moment.


Speed Racer said...

You got beat by a gir-rul! Sounds like a SOLID race. I have to gasp for breath just reading those times.

I HATE it when the mile markers are wrong. That's so annoying! Does that mean the course was off? Maybe you ran even faster!

Ken Schulz said...

I'm glad you made it to the race! For what it's worth, I only bring the taunts for a few people. By the way, our aid station was mile 11 but my insults may have distracted you from seeing the sign! I'm certain that next time you will go even faster! Watch out ladies!

rocketpants said...

Nice race! The times make me a bit dizzy there.