It's been a rough training week following last weekend's 20-mile adventure on the seacoast. I guess I didn't realize how taxing that race really was. My legs weren't sore, just constantly fatigued and every run has been a struggle since. So with that in mind I decided to run a half marathon yesterday. Logic and common sense did not report to work this past week apparently.
I met up with Mark Wimmer and headed over to Newmarket for the 3rd annual (and my second) Great Bay Half Marathon, which happens to be the 1st New Hampshire Grand Prix race. I met up with my fellow Gate City Strider (and acidotic RACING) teammates in the gym and prepped for the race. It was a beautiful day, sunny and near 50 but a nasty wind was whipping in from the west. I had done my research and knew the headwinds would be along the 2nd half of Bay Rd (miles 7-9) and for most of the last 3 miles. Unfortunately, that did not mean we had tailwinds the rest of the way.
Mike Wade, Justin Soucy and myself headed out for a roughly 2 mile warm up on the course, changed and then headed over to the start. Did I mention it was windy?
They added a 5k to the venue this year which started at the same time as the half. About a 1/2 mile into the race the 5k'ers took a left and the rest continued straight. For such a large race (nearly 1500 runners) I was pretty surprised how well people seated themselves at the start, so other than a fast start the race started off pretty smooth.
Right from the start I found myself in a pack of familiar faces and most were teammates (a very good thing when you're running a club race). Mike Wade, Danny Ferreria and myself with Mike Wright leading the way. We would stay together nearly the entire race, occasionally swapping positions except for Mike Wright, he held a 30-50yd lead on all of us most of the way.
I learned a couple of things during the race. One, my legs were not yet recovered from last week. Most of the race was a struggle, with the effort far greater than it should have been for a half. Two, this course was harder than I remembered from last year (with more hills than I recalled). Part of the difficulty was the wind, with gusts that had to be in the 20-30mph range. To add to the carnage, the winds seemed to smack you on the flatter sections of the course. Just like my pre-race research had shown, miles 7-9 and the last 3 were tough and the field had stretched out a bit, leaving me exposed (so to speak) for most of the last 5 miles.
By mile 8 or 9 I had lost track of Mike Wade, Danny was in front by a few yds and Mike Wright was still holding at least a 50yd lead. I slowly gained on Danny and passed him at the belly dancers around mile 10. Coincidence? I think not. I think he was distracted...
I now had my sights on Mike Wright with 5k to go. I attempted to pick up the pace but the head winds on mile 11 were the toughest all day. It felt like one big hill. In fact, the winds were generally in our faces for the remainder of the race and only a few turns in town gave us some relief. Jerry Fitzgibbon hooked up with me on his bike just after mile 11 and provided some much needed encouragement over the last 1 1/2 miles which helped me pick off a few more runners and get close to Mike Wright but not close enough to pass, finishing in 1:25:11, roughly 6 seconds behind Mike. Not my best performance but considering the short rest and less than ideal conditions I guess I'll take it.
Scott Graham and Mark Wimmer somehow convinced me to go for a 2 mile cool down run after the race and several painful blisters did not make this a pleasant experience. Mark and I waited a bit for results to be posted but finally gave up and headed home around 2pm.
Splits for the day:
Mile 1 6:05
Mile 2 6:23
Mile 3 6:31
Mile 4 6:31
Mile 5 6:23 (31:54)
Mile 6 6:42
Mile 7 6:24
Mile 8 6:55
Mile 9 6:39
Mile 10 6:31 (1:05:06)
Mile 11 6:35
Mile 12 6:35
Mile 13 6:20
FINISH 1:25:11 (6:31 avg)
24th overall (1243 total)
6/93 in my age group
Complete results can be found here.
As far as the New Hampshire Grand Prix series, my club (Gate City Striders) kicked butt. As some of you know (and others continue to 'remind' me), I predicted early on in the season that Greater Derry would win the NHGP series this year. Apparently my evil plan is working, with huge numbers of Striders showing up just to prove me wrong! Keep up the good work.
Gate City Striders 147 points
Greater Derry Track Club 109 points
Granite State Racing Team 71 points
Rochester Runners 44 points
Monadnock Milers 20 points