Initially I was hoping for a decent run at the White Mountain Milers Half Marathon (results) in North Conway. Now I was wondering if I could even finish the darn thing. I skipped the warm up run because I didn't want to know if something was going to hurt. I guess I like surprises. As usual, Michael Wade was gunning for me.....again...and I was gunning for John Pajer (who beat me by 29 sec last year). John's the only CMS runner I know who is actually FROM central Mass. We compared notes (and injuries) and I'm pretty sure we both decided to see if we could stick with the other.
The course is surprisingly flat for being up in the White Mountains. Weather and conditions were nearly identical to last year: cool, sunny and a little breezy. Breezy would eventually turn into a squirrelly wind which would give us trouble going out and back.
I immediately tucked into the lead pack of roughly 7-8 runners during the first mile and was happy to be right in the middle due to the head wind. It didn't seem like anybody wanted to be out front and the pace was really slow (for a lead pack). Mike Wade eventually tired of the slow pace and jumped to the lead and was actually pulling away. What the?? For about 5 seconds I was nervous he was going to smoke me until I realized he just wanted to lead through mile 1. Shortly after the 1st mile the 'chase' pack caught and passed him.
|John Pajer (146), Charlie Bemis (11), me (211)|
photo credit - Ed Harrigan
A look at my splits show they were pretty similar to last year. I honestly think I'm in better shape this year but I also think the wind was way stronger this year than last. Overall I have no complaints. I never really worried about my calf after the first few miles and I generally felt good throughout the entire race. This is still one of my favorite half marathons and hopefully I'll be back next year.
Additional race photos can be found at harriganphoto.com.