A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 2; 14th Edition
305.35 miles raced in 2007
Race: Presque Isle Half Marathon
Place: Erie, PA
Miles from home: 366
Course Difficulty: 3.5 out of 10
Course Enjoyability: 7 out of 10
Weather: 70 degrees and slightly humid
Finishers' Medal: N/A
Going to try a different format for this recap. I know many eyes were watching to see if I would be able to get to my stated goal of sub 1:20. To kill any suspense, I did not. I did set a new personal best but no where near close to what I think I can do. Here is my breakdown and thoughts per mile.
Mile One: 5:55
Starting out, I wanted to make sure I did not get pulled along by anyone and only wanted to run my race. So I lined up at the front and when the horn went off, I took off. I was going to force anyone who was going to beat me to have to do so by passing me. Of course, it did not take long before a pack of five or so did just that, but I felt good in my pacing. I knew the pace was a little faster than my desired 6:05/miles but decided to wait until the first mile marker to make sure. After I passed I realized I needed to slow down just a touch. At this point I let a friend named Kevin Slagle pull away from me a bit. A very good runner, Kevin and I have run about 10-15 races against each other with varied, non-sensical results. He will beat me soundly in a 5k and then I will return the favor. After a rousing victory in a 10k, he will crush me ion the next one. Back and forth like this we have traded race results but with Kevin being in Erie and me here in DC we haven’t raced in a few years. I wondered what today would hold.
Mile Two: 6:25
I thought I had seen another old running buddy, Mark Stuart, from my days in Erie, near the star but here, a mile into the race, he had not yet passed me. Given his speed (2:33 marathon and 1:12 half) I figured I was wrong. However, not long after the first mile marker, I got passed by Mark. I called out to him and a big smile showed on his face. Out for a training run he said he only wanted to break 1:30. When I told him I wanted to break 1:20 he said maybe we would be running together. Unfortunately, too much chatting coincided with my desire to slow the pace a little and we ended up slowing the pace a LOT. He blames his newly weighted down left hand (he just got married). I blamed the 40 lbs more I weighed than him.
Mile Three: 6:30
Well, crap. The 10 extra seconds I had gained in the first mile was now gone plus an additional 35 seconds. Not exactly what I wanted to do. Mark and I decided to shut up and just run.
Mile 4: 6:04
Much better. Although the effort it took to get this time made me feel like it might have been a sub-6 mile. Not too worry. Feeling good and only have 9 miles to go.
Mile 5: 6:14
Right after the water station Mark pulled away from me and began to put a great deal of space between himself and I. I figured I could just keep him in sight and use him to reel me in runners one by one in the later miles.
Mile 6: 6:13
I was still running slower than I wanted but it appeared I would still be able to get a 1:21 or so. I passed two runners and approached a guy right before the only hill on this flat course. A small bridge up and over a small rivulet of water draining from the inside of Presque Isle out into Lake Erie is the only real rise through the whole 13.1 miles. So why do I give the course difficulty a 3.5? Well, as I think most runners will agree, a super flat course for such a long distance actually is slightly harder than throwing in some small risers here and there to work different muscle groups. I have run a plethora of races on Presque Isle in Erie (this is where the Erie runners club runs many of their club races) and I always have a little difficulty. Before I really dove into running, I never would have thought that flat would be bad, but in some instances it can be.
Mile 7: 6:16
During this mile, the guy I passed at mile 6 would pass me and I would regain the lead about 4 separate times. Unfortunately, we were not gaining on anyone else but rather just playing off of each other. Surge, fall back. Surge, fall back.
Mile 8: 6:30
I began to get worried here. The humidity picked up a little bit as did the wind off the lake. Both had an effect on my overall time but not more than the tune of a minute or so total. Regardless of this was the fact that I was running slower at this point in the race than I was at the National Half in March. I told myself to hold on and then make it hurt from mile 10 on in.
Mile 9: 6:25
Pleased I had picked up the pace a little bit, I also passed one more runner and was really feeling like I could but another 2 mile surge on at the end. With mile 10 in sight I figured I could start churning out some 6 minute miles and live with the exhaustion later. The man I had played cat and mouse with had opened up a sizeable lead on me but I thought he was within striking distance.
Mile 10: 6:58
Um, what? Even though I knew this marker was misplaced, it still took some wind out of my sails. At least, I HOPED it was misplaced.
Mile 11: 6:08
Yep, as long as the previous mile was, this was that short. Two miles to go. Time to turn on the afterburners.
Mile 12: 6:31
Um, hello afterburners? Deploy!! *knock, knock*. Has anyone seen my afterburners?!
Mile 13: 6:31
Thank god, I thought there is the finish line. I never thought this was going to end.
Last .1: 37 seconds
Setting a new personal best of 1:23:27, I was in no way pleased. I seem to be on the mend from last month’s schedule but not nearly where I though I would be. I will settle for 16th overall (there was a much stronger overall field this year than in the recent past) and 2nd in my age group. As usual, the pancake flat course of Presque Isle does not give me the fast time I was hoping for. But I know some of the reasons and they have been discussed ad nauseum.
Some highlights of this weekend:
* I love church signs. The best one this weekend was a block from my house: “Exposure to the Son (sic), may prevent burning.”
* On Main Street in Titusville (speed limit: 25 mph), I had to pass a ginormous riding lawn mower tooling down the street.
* My mom got to see me race a half-marathon for the first time. Two years ago, she saw me race in a rinky-dink 5k in Titusville, but it was not until seeing two marathons last year that she actually saw me race something substantial since high school. I may be 31 but I love that my mom likes to watch. She will be watching again in September when I head back to Erie for another attempt at a marathon PR.
* I was surprised at the beginning of the race to see Jon Walk, a Houstonian resident and the write of an excellent racing blog (as well as a PSU grad). He noticed me from some pictures h had seen previously and we spent a few minutes beforehand exchanging pleasantries. Check his blog out HERE.
* I also was able to get to see another running friend who I had yet to meet yet, known solely as Erie Tom. Just one month after completing his first 100 mile race, tom was out here again chugging away at this half-marathon. We both stated these short distances are for the birds. Was so great to meet him as well!
* Someone was talking with my mother during the race and talk of Fiddy2 came about. The women was so excited that she was talking to “Dane’s Mom” that she asked to have her picture taken with my mom! I love it!
* I got to see my 14 month old nephew for the first time. He’s a tank!
* As always, while I was home, my parent’s dog, Shadow did my taxes, defragged my computer, gave me a proposal on balancing the budget and whipped up a great steak tartar. He is amazing.
Another attempt at going sub 5 in the mile and breaking my PR in an 8k (on the same day) are up in 6 days!