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Downtown Temple,NH

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Deja Vu at WMM Half Marathon

I've had some less than stellar runs since laying an egg at Baystate 2 weeks ago. In fact, I think I rode my mountain bike more than I ran since Baystate (which isn't a bad thing now that I think about it). To top it off, it seemed like I had shin splints this past Monday. My left calf was sore EVERYWHERE.  The entire Tibialis Anterior muscle was sore from its origin to its insertion point. Coincidentally Jim Hansen happened to post a video showing how to loosen up the muscles in the calf/lower leg. Thanks Jim! So for the next 4 days I tortured myself with a foam roller, a Stick and a tennis ball. I only managed to run 2 times all week. Yep, that's one way to prepare for a half marathon.

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
For the next 12 miles I would essentially run shoulder to shoulder with John Pajer. We talked occasionally but mostly we just ran stride for stride. Right at mile 4 one of my shoes came untied and I lost about 10-15 seconds tying it. It took me all of the next two miles to catch back up with John. We were running hard but comfortable and we passed the 1/2 way point just a tad over 41 minutes. We both talked about our legs getting tired but neither would give an inch and kept up a decent pace as we made our way back (out and back course). By mile 8 we knew we would have a tough finish. The wind was now blowing pretty steady and appeared to be head wind (left shoulder maybe). In either case it was slowing us considerably while at the same time increasing our effort. I strongly dislike the wind (more than hills). These last few miles were mentally and physically tough. I  tried to open up a small gap in mile 9 or 10, but John eventually caught back up by mile 11 and stayed with me through 12 as we took a hard right and headed into the last mile (with a tail wind FINALLY). I picked up the pace again with about 1/2 mile to go and this time I was able to hold off John (by 8 whole seconds) and finished in 1:23:20, 6th overall (1st 45-49). My son Alec was running his first ever half marathon today and finished in 1:32:21, good for 2nd in his division!

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.

mile 2009 2010
1 6:02 6:13
2 6:25 6:20
3 6:21 6:16
4 6:11 6:14
5 6:16 6:20
6 6:08 6:09
7 6:21 6:28
8 6:16 6:17
9 6:31 6:37
10 6:41 6:39
11 6:28 6:27
12 6:17 6:30
13 6:15 6:12
0.1 0:33 0:37
13.1 1:22:45 1:23:20

Additional race photos can be found at harriganphoto.com.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Next time I pull away, I won't be caught!

Oh yeah, nice run Steve! Again.