Saturday, December 12, 2015

I just won a race!

This is only the second time I've ever won a race, excluding those with extremely limited entry criteria (i.e. I don't count things like office-wide races, but I do count small open-entry races, as most of the races I run are pretty small). The first was the North Park River Run, a rather small two-mile race held by Chicago's North Park University. This one was the Santa Runs Tacoma half-marathon, which would have to be considered quite small for a half-marathon (700 runners). Winning or not, I'm very happy with a time of 1:15:00. It was a PR by over 7 minutes. My previous half-marathon best was on a much harder course almost 10 years ago, and had been my last remaining PR set in my 20s. Knowing what I do about my recent running improvement, I guess this qualifies as old age and treachery beating youth and exuberance. Age, treachery, and magic hip-flexor stretches.

The course was a significant net-downhill, enough that it's not eligible for records per USATF (max 1m/km drop), which nonetheless certifies its distance. The drop of 36m was essentially all in the first mile, which I cruised through in 5:13; after that the course was a mostly flat out-and-back, with a couple overpass "rollers" in the early and late miles. The big first-mile drop was actually a nice feature, both to be able to throw out my first mile split, and to be assured that I'd be ahead of my goal pace early. On a "fair" course I'd probably have been 30 seconds slower. The day was cool and the ground was wet, but no real raindrops until late in the race; there was a very slight breeze with us on the way out and against on the way back. Overall, about the best conditions you can hope for in December in the northwest. I was a bit slower on the way back than out, probably due to the slight breeze, plus general fatigue and tightness. In the last three miles I couldn't stretch out my stride much but was able to pick up my turnover and keep a reasonable pace. I brought some food along but didn't use it. I hadn't really thought of this, but on an out-and-back course, if you're near the front, using water stations on the way back is really against the grain. So I didn't take any water, either, because by the time I really wanted it (mile 9 or so) I couldn't have got through effectively.

I rode down from Seattle with Rhea, Toffer, and Susan; Rhea and Susan finished first and second among women. So we were the fast van!

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