ORN: 13.1 miles, 2:07:51, R6/W1, 9:46/mile
Quick Summary: On a windy, gray morning, it was fun to race again in the traditional start of running in central Indiana. I ran as a training run, enjoyed it, beat my target time by just over a minute, had a negative split, and no pain or niggles. Which sets up the rest of the spring calendar.
The Sam Costa Half Marathon is a fun event. I've run it four out of the five years of my current era of running. It's one of those "familiar friends" which serves a nice landmark to the end of winter. Now, snow is predicted for tomorrow morning, so, hey, the landmark may be more metaphorical than real. But, it's a landmark nonetheless.
This is also the only race I run in which my lovely wife comes along. Since we have a nephew and family who live just a few hundred yard from the start/finish, she likes to see the start of the race, visit family, come see the finish and then we all have lunch. Makes for a nice day in Indy. Plus it gives her a chance to be entertained by my fussing over race-day preparation. Shirt selection for the temperature is always central in this fuss-budgety process. I took nine shirts with me this morning, just to make sure I was covered. Plus, I packed toenail clippers for the exclusive use of trimming the excess length off the plastic thingie holding the chip on my shoe and she recorded it for you all in this photo. Darrell understands. Gretchen laughs. It's all pretty harmless. And it was fun to have her along.
My schedule for future races (see below) called for 16 miles today. So, once I figured out a polypropolene shirt under my Portland 2006 tech shirt was the right combination of my 9 packed shirts, I headed out and ran the last 1.5 miles of the course and back. It worked well...I had about five minutes standing around in the 20 mph wind and 42F temperatures before the gun went off.
The race was just nice. Nothing really of note. I treated it as a training run, so did a 6/1 run/walk, shooting for 9:18 during the run segments, which worked out to 9:51/mile overall. After 5 miles, I was 35 seconds off the target pace, due to a necessary stop in a porta-potty at mile 2.5. We looped around a huge gravel pit with long straight shots and then headed into the "Parade of Homes" portion of course through lovely subdivisions of tastefully appointed large houses. Lots of turns; I was surprised at how few people actually ran the tangents on the traffic-less streets. By mile 10, I was only 10 seconds behind my target pace and felt good. I ran the last three miles 9:22, 9:36 and 9:26 and was in a hard sprint the last 200m, to finish 71 seconds ahead of my target. The first six miles took 59:06, while the second six miles took 58:04, so I'll call that a negative split. I had nary a single twinge or pain throughout. I focused quite a bit on form as well and felt as smooth at a big lumbering guy like me can feel.
It is also interesting to see the evolution of my running through this race for the past five years. In 2005, this race was a Very Big Deal for me. I struggled that year but was pleased to do a 2:06. It was a huge accomplishment. Since then, I've observed I really am morphing to enjoy longer races. Thus, today was simply a training run...taking it easy, I was only a minute off of a time which represented a hard effort five years ago.
The fact I did this race without pain also settles the rest of my spring schedule. I'm adding two, count 'em, two marathons to the mix.
First up is the Illinois Marathon, two weeks from today on April 11. On the University of Illinois campus, it's only two hours from my house. This is a new event, so I also get to be part of the first trip through. Amazingly, it is nearly sold out...I scored one of the last marathon slots on Wednesday. I'll run a 2/1 and just enjoy it. The timing isn't perfect but we don't have a lot of marathon options out here in the heartland.
The race I'm really looking forward to is the Sunburst Marathon, in South Bend, Indiana on June 6. I've run the HM portion of this race the past four years... finishing at Notre Dame Stadium is a rush. This year, I'm going to do the full marathon. The heat could be an issue...after my bonk in the heat at the Air Force Marathon last September, I want to get back on that horse and see if I can finish better.
So, it's all falling into place. I'm looking forward to it.
And we'll persevere through it all.