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Downtown Temple,NH

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Bedford Half Marathon

This one stunned me.
Prior to today, my half marathon PR was 1:23:20 (6:22 pace) and that was just a few months back on November 2nd. I've been snowshoe racing all winter and I've been doing indoor winter track for the last 12 weeks so I felt pretty confident about breaking my PR today. Goal for today: 1:22:00.
I lined up with Mike Wade and Joe Rogers at the start. Joe was aiming for a 1:20 so I figured I'd try to keep him in my sights for as long as possible and see if he could drag me along.
I'd consider this a fast course, or at least a course that has the potential for being fast. Wind can play a huge factor in this race as the course heads down by the water around mile 7 and hangs around the shore for the next 3 miles or so. This course is famous for the head winds during this stretch.
The first 2 miles were pretty fast, with a gentle downhill and then plain old flat. I hit 2 miles at 12:05. There are a couple of decent climbs in the 3rd and 4th miles but today I felt great and pushed the hills hard, hitting mile 4 at 24:41. The next few miles are long, mostly straight and either flat or gently downhill. I really thought I could pick up the pace and hold it during this 4 mile stretch and averaged just under 6 min pace for the stretch, hitting mile 8 at 48:35. Joe kept his lead, however.
I didn't really hit the winds until mile 9 and 10 and unfortunately got stuck in no mans land during this stretch, unable to get behind another runner and working way to hard. Mile 9 was easily my slowest mile of the day at 6:29.
By this point I felt pretty good about beating my PR but I wasn't sure by how much. Mile 11 was mostly flat and mile 12 had the last hill on the course. Today the hills did not slow me down and I ended up having one of my fastest miles of the day during mile 12 (5:58) and finally caught Joe as well. Thankfully the course ends with a downhill before flattening out a 1/4 mile before the finish.
It wasn't until I was a few hundred yards out that I spotted the clock, and it was 1:19 something. What the...I had a chance to break 1:20? I ran as hard and fast as I could hoping to break 1:20....crossing the line at 1:19:55 (6:06 pace)! I was stunned. I beat my PR by nearly 3 1/2 minutes.
I feel very satisfied today and grateful I've remained injury free for over a year. Next up, the Eastern States 20 Miler on March 29th.

Photo credit to the much injured Jim Johnson :-)


Jim Hansen said...

Way yo go Steve! You are on fire!Beats my 1/2 PR by a couple ticks of the clock!

Laurel said...

Great job Steve! Snowshoe racing really gives early season running a jump start.

Scotty "PHAT" Graham said...

Steve, way to go!! You are way out of my league these days. Keep it going.

Douglas said...

Great run! Congrats. Looks like you will get the stud leg at RTB in September.
- Douglas

Chelsea said...

Awesome run, Steve! Are you running Boston?

Steve W said...

Thanks everyone. I appreciate the support. This one feels like a 'real' PR, if you know what I mean.
I am not running Boston and no plans for another marathon. Just waiting for the snow to melt so I can hit the woods and do some trail running/racing.