Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Many people are surprised when I tell them I have never done a half marathon before, but I really have not spent much time racing up to this point in my life. My last major time spent racing was my sophomore year of high school(2003). It wasn't until 2008 that I decided to get back into the whole racing scene. I decided that this winter I would focus on training every day. The expectation was that this would be a chore, but in reality I have grown to love it.
I woke up Saturday March 7th excited. I wasn't nervous or anxious, I was mainly excited. I had no expectations leading into this race, because I had no idea where my fitness was, and what a reasonable finishing time would be. So I set a General goal of being under 1:20, I felt that this would be an attainable goal for my first half marathon. The secret plan for this race was to pace off of Tom Pileggi a strong runner from Spokane.
Upon arrival at the race site I noticed that Tom was nowhere to be seen, my super strategy was suddenly gone. I pondered what to do on my warm up. With the gun in the air and only seconds before race start, the new plan was to not have a plan. Just run and have fun, its just another 13 mile training run right?
The gun went off and the race started at a steady pace, I decided to let Mike Bresson a super fast runner from Spokane go from the start. He has beaten me at many races by large margins. I knew his running ability was great, and did not want to blow up chasing him for the first 6 miles. This plan worked for about 100 yards. That is when I realized i was leading a pack of about 15 people into a headwind. If I am going to push a headwind the whole race, I might as well take my chances drafting off Mike. With this I pushed off the pack and caught up to the leader. The first 6.6 miles of the race were very steady, Mike kept a consistent solid pace knocking down consistent mile splits. I didn't bother checking my splits because I knew they would all be fast, why check them if you already know.
With the halfway point in sight (6.6) miles I felt very relaxed, my legs felt good, and my body felt great. We rounded the cone, and the race started to pick up. I knew at this point I was running a little bit over my head, but the only thought that kept ringing in my mind was to attack, take the lead and see how hard you can push it. Attack or be attacked. With no idea what I was doing I surged past mike, increasing our pace by about 35seconds per mile. I led for about 30 yards and Mike passed me right back, returning my favor. I immediately pulled up again on his shoulder, and tried to push the pace, hoping sooner or later he would give up. This exchanged happened a couple more times, and eventually the greater athlete came through. With one final massive surge Mike took off, laying down the hurt and dropping me hard. With his last surge he was putting tons of distance on me at a very fast rate. This occurred at about mile 9.
The next half mile was probably the hardest, I let Mike get away from me, and I knew he was in no way slowing down. Just before mile 10 I started to feel refreshed again, my pace picked up, and I felt fairly strong again. with only 3 miles to go, I pictured a short loop that i often run at home, and imagined this short easy run as the only thing I have left to do, to finish the race. The last half mile drug on, but in a short while I was done. I had finished my first half marathon.
I was fairly happy with my race, It is always great to race a distance you have never done before, because you always PR. I learned allot, and already have ideas of things I would do differently. My Final time was 1:10:21.
This race taught me allot. Mainly the fact that Hard work pays off. After club XC nationals I was a little bit bummed with my running performance, and decided I needed to be more consistent with my training. At the time following club nationals I hated running in snow and freezing weather, It was cold wet, and long. But I did not want to be the same athlete that ran Club Nationals. This race made my time in the snow well worth it. Seeing how hard work pays off, has inspired me to work harder, and chase some of the loftier goals I set many months ago.
It was great to see so many people out racing early in the spring. Everyone I knew that was at the race had a good day. Mike, Matt, Tim, Steve, Eric, Haley, Evan and Kirk all rocked the course. Setting fast times, on an early season race. I would also like to thank everyone who cheered me on as they passed the other way. This helped allot. I am also glad that Matt decided to ride down with me. The Radio in my car is broken and if he wasn't there I would of had to sing to myself all the way to Pullman :).