So... I spent the better part of an hour trying to do the good thing and coach Nate and Justin through what to expect for their first half. "Here's what you should do"... "Don't go out too fast"... "Run how you feel"... "Turn it on late if you have anything left"... I kind of felt that I owed it to them since I've run multiple halves and this would be their first.
Well... jokes on me... :) Both Nate and Justin outran me today. I'm so darn impressed (read: jealous). In their first half marathon, Nate ran a 1:37 something and Justin ran a low 1:48. Really though.... super impressed with their run today.
But, enough about them... I had a hell of a run too. I ran the first 5-6 miles with Justin. We were clipping off 8:20 miles in anticipation of the hill to come. We had trained the hill pretty recently, so we both knew what to expect. That's not to say that a pretty steep, .8 mile hill is any better just because we had run it recently. But, we knew what to expect.
Right about here, Justin started to separate himself and I gave him my blessing to take off. It was pretty clear he had a bit more in him than I did. For a lot of the rest of the race, I could see him out in front of me. In fact, there was a point pretty far in (9 or 10 miles?) that I had him in my sights. I actually felt like I was reeling him in. But, he picked it up again and that was the last I saw of him.
I started to struggle with about 4 miles left (maybe from trying to reel Justin in?). But, with about 1.25 miles left, Beth (who ran the 5k) came out to run the last bit with me. Man, what a lift. That really helped a lot. I went from an 8:40 pace to an 8:20 pace in almost no time. It was a nice shot in the arm.
She kept giving me a hard time about catching up to the pack in front of me. I kept telling her, "not yet, not yet". So... with about a quarter mile left, I started to kick a bit. Then, with about .15 left, I really turned it on. I must have passed 4-5 people on the way to the finish and I turned in a 7:50 final mile. That was awesome!!!
But, here's the kicker... I turned the corner and could see the clock and a sub 1:50 was just out of my reach. Despite my best efforts, I came in at 1:50:02 on the clock. And, although this is a PR by almost 2 minutes and a almost 5 minute improvement on the same race last year, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.....
If you've read my previous post about chip finished races, you may have already guessed what my beef is. But, if not, I'll indulge you. I start in the middle of the pack so as not to get in the way of the faster runners. When running a chipped race, the expectation is that it really doesn't matter where you start because the mats time you accurately and your chip time will reflect your "real" time. Anyhow, when the event only has a mat at the finish, you lose all the time it takes to get to the start line from when the gun goes off... Apparently, for this race, that was about 10 seconds. I know that because I hit my start button when I crossed the start line (makes sense right?) and stopped it just after I finished.
Big deal right??? Well folks... that's the difference between an official 1:50:02 and a watch timed 1:49:52. I'm gonna go ahead and throw caution to the wind and count my 1:49:52. Because, after all, I run and keep track of my times for myself. So... the race can have my official 1:50:02. I'm taking the 1:49:52. Sub 1:50!! Sweet. And, I don't feel bad about it at all (since it IS my real time).
Turning it on, not far now...