Monday, May 23, 2011

I am the tortoise!

Yesterday I did something for the first time since 1984.  I participated in a half marathon.  The Windsor Town Green Half Marathon to be exact.  Now, just to prove how statements of fact can be misleading, I did run a half marathon in 2003.  It just happen to come after a 1.2 mile swim and a 56 mile bike ride as I was participating in the Half Vineman triathlon. 

Going into yesterday I was very happy with my form and how I felt.  The route was rolling terrain with only one small hill, which is a great course for me.  I trained well and felt up to the challenge both physically and mentally.  My goal was 2:15:00 although I was secretly harboring the thought of putting in a sub 2-hour effort.  My plan is to run a relaxed, steady pace.  In other words, I would be the tortoise.

I get to the race bright and early and find a good parking spot.  Is this an early omen?  As I am hanging around waiting for the start my biggest concern is what to wear.  I have my tri sleeveless jersey and an ultra lightweight long sleeve shirt.  I’ll spare you the suspense and tell you I decided to go sleeveless (at the last minute).  Plus, my cycling buddy, Jeff, showed up to wish me luck (he also took the photos).

DSCN0929At 7:15 on-the-dot, about 650 of us are off and running.  My biggest concern was starting too fast.  So, I settle into what felt like a good tempo and started watching as numerous people came around me.  That’s when I started my mantra – I am the tortoise!  As I run along, I am paying attention to those passing me.  I anticipate catching some of them before the end with my tortoise-like tempo.  Sure enough, some of these folks are walking before we hit the 3-mile mark. 

I found my rhythm within the first two miles.  I was feeling very good and the 3, 4, and 5 mile markers all caught me by surprise by coming up faster then anticipated.  The small hill was just after the 5 mile mark and I caught a lot of people on this climb simply by keeping my steady pace.  As we came down the hill and start the next roller, a guy who has passed me numerous times only to fade back says “Man, your steady!”  That was all I needed to hear.

DSCN0960 The middle part of the race went exactly as I anticipated.  I found myself starting to look for mile markers at the 9-mile point as each mile started to feel longer then the last.  From the 9 to 11-mile markers I really had to stay strong mentally as I was finally starting to feel the efforts although I still had good form and a nice tempo.  However, once I hit 11-miles I knew the run was in the bank and I was confident of finishing strong. 

Just past 12-miles, another cycling friend, Carmen, appears and rides with me to the end.  I really kicked up the pace for the final half mile and came across the finish line looking and feeling great.  My time?  A very respectable 2:01:53, well within my goal.  And, what about my goal to be the tortoise.  Well, my Garmin is set to cycling so it measures laps in 5-mile increments.  I ran the first 5-miles in46:44 and the next 5 in 47:26.  If you look at MPH then the first 5 miles was 6.4, the second lap was 6.3 and the final 3 miles was 5.9.  I was indeed the tortoise!

In the end, it was a great event.  Although I missed cycling with my friends, it was nice to change things up a bit.  Now that I have this running base, I will keep running a couple of times of week so I can be ready for occasional 10k and I might even consider another half marathon before the end of the year.  But for now, I need to go reacquaint myself with my bike.


3 Comment(s):

Wonder said...

This is a great report Lee! Thank you for sharing! Love it! Congrats on a goal smashing time, as well!

Anonymous said...

I felt like I was right there with you! I love your writing style and I had no idea you kept a blog!! Way to go Lee!

Nicole said...

Awesome run Lee!! Congrats!