Jeff’s Post – A Great Weekend for “werrunners” – Part II
When I last left you I was waiting the starting gun to sound. My goal for this race was simple, I wanted to break a 1:40 for the first time and get on the first bus back to Seacrets! I knew the course was flat and fast and the weather turned out to be perfect, everything was in my favor to PR. I said to myself earlier that if I didn’t PR that would be ok but I wanted to push it. I also wanted to try to run this race smart and be consistent with my splits (I was – see below).
The gun went off and the race started. We left the inlet and headed out towards the pier and then swung back around towards the boardwalk. All of the turns at the beginning were actually a good thing because they slowed my pace some. As we were about to leave the boardwalk I saw Tamara and gave her a thumbs up and my double fisted race pose and then headed out with the pack. We headed out towards the bridge that leads into Ocean City. I don’t think I looked at my watch until a little after mile 1 and I saw that I was at about a 7:15 pace. I was ok with that but for some reason I was thinking I needed a faster pace than that for me PR. I told myself not to panic and just run. The first 4 miles or so just seemed to fly by. We went in and out of a few housing developments and then turned around at a cul de sac and headed back out on a nice tree covered two lane country road. I actually felt cold as we headed down this road and could see my breath. It was a beautiful morning but the sun wasn’t making it through the trees.
We headed towards mile 5 and I felt really good both mentally and physically. I struggled mentally at my last ½ (RnR USA) so I was happy that I was feeling so good. I also started to look at my watch a bit more. I was ticking off miles in the 7:25 range and was happy with that but for some reason continued to think that I was running too slow….but I didn’t panic. As we approached mile 6 I took a GU. I wasn’t taking GU’s during my ½’s last year but I have found that they definitely help as I push my pace. I still struggle with both drinking and taking GU – it just throws my breathing off – something I need to work on.
Miles 7-9 were probably the toughest for me. This was the smallest ½ I have done but the course seemed crowded at times. In most of the RnR events we have the whole road. On this course we had a small lane and I started doing the back and forth with a few runners. As we approached mile 10 I looked at my watch and saw that I was going to be there at about 1:14. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I was to see this. I was coming off a 10 mile PR at Cherry Blossom (a 1:13) and as I mentioned I was thinking my pace was off but when I saw the 1:14 time I knew I had a PR in the bag (I wasn’t going to let myself get to an 8:00 pace). It was at this point that I felt no pressure and that was such a great feeling. Miles 10 and 11 flew by. This was a point to point race that ended on Assateague Island. As we were heading towards the Island I see a nice bridge incline with a flag hanging off it. I knew the flag was my 12 mile marker but I wasn’t thrilled about the incline on this bridge. As I was heading up the bridge I felt like I was hardly moving and also thought to myself that I was glad I didn’t see this bridge at mile 10! I muscled over the bridge (which also had a nice decline) and ran the last ¾ miles (that seemed to go on forever) towards the finish. I swear the finish line at some of these races seem to never arrive. As I went around a corner I see the clock had just turned over to 1:37. I sprint to the end finishing with a 1:37:18 (a four minute PR) – I was beyond thrilled. I took my medal grabbed a few cookies and headed through a tent to call Tamara. I will admit it was strange not having Tamara at the finish with me. I know she wanted to be there but it just didn’t work out. I call her and she asks my finish time. I tell her 1:37 and it actually takes me a minute to collect myself. I’m not sure why but I tend to get emotional after some of these races. No matter how hard you train you just never know what kind of day you are going to have and it is never easy when you are pushing yourself for miles and miles.
I really loved this race. I enjoyed the course and loved running through parts of Ocean City I have never seen. Oh, the after Party at Seacrets – Geez there is going to be a Part III post – Stay Tuned!