Saturday, May 17, 2008

Race Report: Geist Half-Marathon

ORN: 13.1 miles, run, 2:00:24, 9:12/mile

Quick Summary

The Inaugural Geist Half-Marathon was quite a success. On a lovely spring morning, we tooled through a beautiful area with a well-run event. I was shooting for a 2:02 and nearly got under 2. A negative split made it nice. Race 4 of the spring 5 in the books.

All the Details

In thinking about this race, I had debated (as is my habit) just what “Run the Best Race Conditions Allow” would be. Looking at the weather, the course, my own conditioning, I settled on shooting for a 2:02. Temps in the low 50s, with low humidity, were more conducive than in the Mini Marathon two weeks ago. I felt good, yet didn’t really want to crank it too high with the big race at Notre Dame in two weeks. So, I programmed 2:02 into the Garmin and let it be.

Traveling to the race with me was buddy Mat and his 17 year old daughter Christina. Matt has run for quite a time. Christina has run high school cross country but had never run a half. I picked them up at 5:25am and we were off.

Christina is one of those neat teenagers who are talented, well-balanced and delightful to be with. On Friday night, she gave a piano recital, getting dressed up and playing a lovely Nocturne by Chopin. Saturday morning, she’s up early, ready to run 13 miles, smiling and friendly throughout. She’s a captivating young woman, a treat to have along.

The race got its name since we ran one large lap around the Geist Reservoir. This lake is a centerpiece of some really swanky subdivisions on the northeast side of Indianapolis. It is hard to imagine a “Yacht Club” in Indiana, but we ran right past two of them this morning. We saw no corn fields, I should add.

The gun went off right on time at 7:30am. After the usual bobbing and weaving to find a spot in which to run during the first mile or so, all 2,100 settled in to the pace. The three of us ran together, going through the first three miles at 9:12, 9:21 and 9:04. It felt comfortable. We swung onto the West side of the lake and I was surprised at how quickly the miles started clicking by, averaging around 9:15.

Somewhere in this part of the race, I had a first. On a residential street, a guy rolled the window down on his car while driving along on our right and asked how far we were running. After replying, he looked at me and said “Joe? Yeah, you’re Joe!! Joe the Umpire!!” I guess somewhere along the line, he and I crossed paths in Little League baseball and he remembered me. I honestly have no recollection of the guy; perhaps I called his kid out on a close play at the plate. Nevertheless, he remembered me, identified me, and we chatted about baseball for a few moments. After he drove on, a couple of ladies who heard the entire exchange as we ran along chuckled and said “Well, at least you’re not a fat umpire.” I’ll take that as a compliment.

We rounded the south end of the lake and headed up the east side. We hit some hills here which were short but steep. During mile 9, Christina had some pain in her foot and opted to fall back and walk a little more. Around mile 10.5, Mat felt some calf pain and urged me to go on. I was actually feeling pretty good, so pushed the pace a bit. Mile 11 came through at 9:01, mile 12 had a dandy hill which took 9:24. But the last 1.1 was flat, so I opened it up. By my calculations, I figured I had a shot at a sub 2 hour time, but I knew it was close. Mile 13 came through at an amazing 8:08, and the last tenth took only 46 seconds. I was initially disappointed to see my watch read 2:00:24 at the finish. But, considering my 2:02 target and the wonderfulness of the day as a whole, I was happy.

Mat and Christina came across the line at 2:06 and 2:04 respectively; they were pleased. Mat seemed to strain his Achilles tendon, so we got some ice at the first aid tent and headed home. It was fun to be with them both.

In analyzing the race, I think I had a negative split. My first six miles took 55:38, my second six 55:51. Throw in the 8:08 mile 13, I will assume the second half was faster than the second.

Results on line were also surprising. In my age group, I was 40th out of 124…I don’t think I’ve ever been in the top third before.

I thought much about buddies Darrell, Sarah, and Mary Gee while I was running today. Each is off the roads, dealing with injuries. It isn’t fun to be on the sidelines. I’m empathizing with you each, knowing it hurts. Do persevere in your rehabs. You are not forgotten.

So there, race #4 of my five race spring series is done. The emotional highlight comes up in two weeks, when my nephew and I will salute my Dad with a run to Notre Dame Stadium. Stay tuned.


Sarah said...

Nice race! I really enjoy reading your reports. Negative splits sure are sweet. : ) And thanks for the shout-out....I really appreciate it! : )

John said...

Good job, Joe! Two weeks to go, looking forward to it!!

Don't tell the umpires union that you're not overweight... you could get kicked out of the league for violating the Eric Gregg clause.

Darrell said...

What?! No corn fields, what's happening to Indiana?

2100 is a pretty good turn out for an inaugural event.

Thanks for the shout out. I broached the subject of running by June 1 with my phys. therapist. He was optimistic. 3 sets of 30 step downs (with good form) stand in my way.

Bob A said...

Nice race, Joe. Glad you had friends to run with during most of the race -- it sure helps in a half marathon.

crossn81 said...

Congrads on the good race. Geist looked like it would be a fun race to try. Was it windy off the lake??

Anonymous said...

Your getting to be a running machine....Congrats on a great race.

David said...

The weather sounded perfect for a good time. I hope you get it at ND.

Nothing beats a negative split or a fast finish. Good job!

Backofpack said...

Great run Joe! The ump story is funny - what are the chances somebody would see you in a race and remember?

Wes said...

Well, at least you’re not a fat umpire

Yea, I'm still chuckling about that one! You are coasting right along! That was a powerful effort and a good one leading up to the big race in a few short weeks!

Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom said...

We ran there too...and will be running in the Air Force Half in September!

IronWaddler said...

Joe, Everything seems to have fallen in place. Great time.

Unknown said...

Another great race, Joe! I like this negative split idea. I'm going to have to give that a try as I progress through the summer.