Sunday, February 28, 2010

Feb 28: The Colonial Half Marathon Tune-Up

Man, that course had some tough hills. They really worked my legs(in a good way). I am really looking foward to a flat Shamrock course in 3 weeks. The hilly run today was a great prep run and I am pleased with how it went.

Beth and I drove down to Williamsburg on Saturday and the drive was pleasant. I could see the snow gradually going away as we drove furthur and furthur south. It was beautiful out this weekend. 45-50 degrees and sunshine/partly cloudy. Although a tad windy, I couldn't of asked for better racing weather, given the weather we have had all winter. Beth and I enjoyed a good dinner together at a local Italian place called Sal's. Spaghetti with meatballs and a slice of cheesecake hit the spot for me. I actually had been feeling like crap the past few days. I woke up Thursday(or was it Friday?) with a cold which lingered into the weekend. I swear it was the drop in mileage I did this week(I only ran 47 miles this week when I've been consistently running 70-80mpw). But I needed a little rest, especially after last week, which I ran 2x marathon pace workouts of 16-17 miles each. That did it. So the rest was good, but I do think the body reacts when it isn't used to doing what it usually does(thus getting itself sick). I slept well last night, and after some plain bagels and juice Beth and I checked out of the hotel and headed to the race.

I was ready for a hard effort. I saw Michael Wardian. I noticed a couple Kenyans. A small race, about 1100 or so. I took a couple GUs, warmed up for 10 min, and got to the line. The gun went off. Wardian surged to the lead and I followed(technically in 2nd place for a few secs). 3 Africans also went up with Wardian. I found myself running just behind them with a few other white guys with me. 1st mile: 5:19. A tad fast, but I felt fine. A guy pulled up next to me named Jared and surged ahead on the uphill. Dammit. I just hate that. Later on, I pulled up next to him and we ran together for a bit. Mile 2: 10:44. Good pace. Jared and I ran together and saw an Ethiopian runner ahead. We eventually caught him, and I began leading the three of us. The Ethiopian and I very soon after dropped Jared, who we heard footsteps gradually dissipating. It was just the Ethiopian and I. I could see a few guys not too far ahead. At least I have someone to run with, I thought. I also thought, if I run with this guy, I'm gonna have to lose him before it's too late and he kicks by me. We were currently 6th and 7th place. The hills began coming up as we ran on the lonely but peaceful Carter's Grove Country Road. This was truly beautiful, to be running out here in the woods. I haven't been in this environment for a while, with all the damn snow we've had in DC and nowhere to run but on road or treadmill(or yaktrax). We passed 4 Miles just under 22:00 and my 5mile split was 27:20. I was on good pace to break 1:12:00, but the hills kept coming. Around mile 6 we ran up a mulch hill which felt like a cross country race, and made my legs quiver. But I was strong. I have been training well, and PRing. I am also strong on hills. I have a lower center of gravity, so hill running comes naturally to my strength(though honestly I much prefer a flat marathon). 7 miles was 38:33(5:30 pace). The Ethiopian still stuck with me. As we looped back the way we came, we saw the other half marathoners running in the oppostie direction, cheering us on. I love when other runners cheer for me. I don't usually have the energy to cheer for them which makes me feel bad but somehow they get it. Mile 8 split was 44min low and Mile 9 was 49:45 or something. As we approached Mile 10, we started to climb some tough hills. One hill. Then a downhill. Another hill. I surged. The Ethiopian lost some ground. He tried to get it back on the flat. Another hill. I surged again. I attacked. He couldn't hang. I had gapped him, finally! I was starting to pull away. I hit Mile 10 in around 55:15 or something like that. The last 5K I was all alone. Someone cheered me on right around 1:01:00(11 miles) and shouted "Number 6!" I pulled up another set of semi-grueling hills. I pushed. Hills, are painful, but they are so great for conditioning. I was hurting, but it was a good hurt. Up and down, and around, I pulled around to the back entrance to the indoor stadium where the finish was..1:12:49..50..I was going to PR. It's kind of crazy you run outside for 13.099 miles and the final steps are in the William and Mary indoor basketball stadium where people cheer. Pretty cool finish actually. The crowd roared as I crossed the line in 6th place. I thought I saw the clock read 1:12:54, but the results had me at 1:12:57. I'll take it. Strangely, this race was all gun timed, no chips. Average pace: 5:33

After the race, Beth insisted that we stop and I eat a meal. Beth is the best with keeping me on top of my nutrition, always telling me I need to keep eating(which she's right). So we had some sandwiches at a really good place in downtown Williamsburg before driving back.

Overall, I am pleased with my effort. This was my first race in well over 2 months. I needed to shake off some rust and get the fire going again. The goal was to run 1:11:00, but I think that will come in mid-late April on the flat Dismal Swamp 13.1 course. Right now I am getting ready for the Marathon Peak in 3 weeks. I firmly believe I am in shape to run at least a 2:32:00, if not faster.


  1. Awesome job man. You're going to roll in VA Beach...looking forward to seeing you there!

  2. The foundation has been set... The competitive juices are there... Your ready to roll all over Shamrock!!!

  3. That's some awesome running!!! Good luck with Shamrock.