Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fine First Half Marathon

I ran the Brooksie Way Half Marathon this morning, finishing in 2:04:47. This beat my "official" goal of 2:05 (though I didn't quite make my "fantasy" goal of 2 hours even.) This followed up a 2:10 practice run a couple weeks ago, a run that I thought went really well.

The Brooksie Way course is known as a difficult one. The first half of it is largely downhill, while the second half, particularly miles 7 - 10, is brutally hilly. During that stretch, there first big hill is quite steep and the second seems endless.

I wanted that 2 hour time, even though I am not "there" yet. I went really fast (for me) the first few miles, but did so comfortably. I know they say you can't "bank" time in a race like this, but as long as I was feeling good, I was going to keep it up. On a flat course, I might have had a look at the 2 hour mark, but for today, I'm happy with how it went.

I've been battling something (a pulled muscle or IT band thing?) in my right thigh and it really seemed to flare up around mile 5. It hurt and it probably affected my pace a bit, but it didn't get worse and I dealt with it as best I could.

Near the end of the race, I knew I was close to the 2:05 time and was determined not to miss it. Once you get over an hour on my GPS watch, it doesn't show seconds, but I knew I was close. The best part of my race was the last .1 mile, where I decided I was going to lay out and go with everything I had left up the hill to the finish. I passed about 8 people up that hill and crossed the finish line in as close to a sprint as I could muster. I couldn't have done that any earlier, my right leg was in agony as I crossed the finish line. Had that not been the end of the race, I'm not certain that I could have continued, my leg was done. I wonder if they were taking pictures there at the finish. I'm guessing that I had quite an expression on my face.

Considering it was my first half marathon and my first race ever in excess of 4 miles, I think today was a great success and served as a fine payoff for months of effort.

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