even though ive been doing ultras and 5k’s lately i wanted to try my hand at a medium distance (i guess a half marathon would be the medium of long distances) so after the 7 hour race in may, getting lost on a trail 8k in june and dns’ing another in july i set my sights on the labor day half. i did their 4 miler last year and it was my fastest run ever so i knew the course would be good. conditions were ideal with the temp about 60 and clouds. i had some idea of where my pace might be but i wanted to play it by feel and somewhat safe because i dont want to get another stress fracture with a 50k, 6 hour and 50 miler on the calendar; but i still want to do my best. to find that place right at the edge and hold it as long as i can. i am starting to feel that no race is really harder than another. i know people are mostly impressed by mileage but looking at effort these 5k’s, 10k’s and halfs are no picnic…and at times the 50k feels like one :). haha. those are some words i will eat later.
pre race i did a little bit of light jogging and looked for deer out in the fields nearby. last year before the 4 miler i was warming up there and saw a deer and we locked eyes for a while. like i said that was my fastest race ever (a sub 20 minute 5k equivalent in 4 miles). no deer today. it was all up to me.
anyway the course was excellent as far as surface all the way but some of it was on the road with cars whizzing past (people on the east side drive about 20 over) which was slightly disconcerting. what was more disconcerting was to see the caliber of opponents i had in my age group! there were a couple of out and backs on the course when i could see some really fast runners in the 50 to 59 range. i do really get a boost seeing great runners in a race though so in that way the out and backs are nice and i can see that form is such a factor in being able to run that far in the upper 5’s. another nice thing was there were a few of us pushing each other without it getting too crowded and was able to check my breathing by chatting a little with Doug. usually in small races i find myself alone in the also-ran group with no one around to race but this day there were plenty of us. unfortunately i found my hamstrings and glutes a little too late at about mile 10. i did have a nice stretch out at the end though when someone tried to sneak up on me (who thought i was done) and passed a few and passed by no one in the last mile and it was very obvious that the lack of recent strength training made a big difference in my time. anyway got my B goal, smashed my pr by 14 minutes and i am still glad that my A goals are really tough to get. i’ll keep the carrot way out there. chip time: 1:36:45