Back in September Candis and I ran the Crossroads Half Marathon in scenic *snicker* Fort Collins and we both set new PRs. However, since I was not posting back in September I didn’t get to
boast regale you with the tale of my our triumphs. Here is the most belated race report you will ever skim over before posting a disingenuous “congrats” in the comments.
Going into the race my long runs had been averaging a 9:30 pace which left me optimistic that I could get under the 2 hour mark (a 9:09 pace). It had been 2 (two!) years since I broke the 2 hour mark in a half marathon and that was on a race that descended 1,000 feet from start to finish. Due to my tempo runs being vastly more successful than my long runs my plan was to run the first half at a comfortable pace and then run the second half at a high tempo pace as though it were a training run.
I forgot to start my watch for the first minute or two of the race. I then compounded this mistake by running back to Candis so she could tell me how much time I needed to add. This seemed like a good idea at the time but I realize now that it might not have been my smartest decision. I forgot my sunglasses. I forgot my sunblock. I managed to delete the playlist I was trying to shuffle, though I think I can pin that one on Steve Jobs. It was not a good start.
I settle down
Due to my early mistakes and my clumsy attempts to calculate my actual time and distance and then my rehashing of my mistakes ad nauseum it took me a while to settle into an easy pace. I finally managed to get comfortable and I tried to remember everyone that was passing me, telling myself to let them go and catch them later.
Just before the 5 mile mark a cute girl wearing a CamelBak ran up beside me and asked me what our time and distance was. It was a simple question but I managed to stammer through the answer and I breathlessly tried to explain that I had started my watch late. I then subtracted from the distance instead of adding to it and ended up telling her that we were at 4 ½ miles. No sooner had I said that we rounded a corner and passed the 5 mile marker. “Your watch is way off,” she said, and so was she, leaving me to contemplate my suaveness.
I hit what I calculated (probably incorrectly) was the halfway point in the race and started to pick up my pace. The field was pretty spread out and I was moving from one group to the next, passing people with authority. A few people tried to keep up but I was determined to drop people as I passed them and each time I passed them I think I had a tiny ego orgasm. Maybe that's overstating it a little bit. In any case, I was running a lot faster than was necessary to get under 2 hours and considered slowing down to ensure I wouldn't run out of gas in the last few miles but I was having too much fun picking people off to slow down. "Screw it," I told myself, "I'm going for the PR." I was terrified I was going to end up walking the final mile and see the clock tick past 2 hrs long before I crossed the finish. A little voice in my head told me to back off and just take the 2 hour victory but I could not be reasoned with. I was going for it.
I am invigorated by my own gusto
It was thrilling to be throwing caution to the wind and just running as fast as I could. It was even more thrilling when I realized that I had the cute CamelBak girl in my sights. I wondered if I should say anything to her as I passed (“have you slowed down?”) but decided against it. As I passed her she glanced at me and offered up an approving nod and a high five. “What’s our time and distance?” she asked again.
“I don’t know,” I replied with a shrug “my watch is way off.”
With a couple of miles left my legs were starting to feel like dead weights but I managed to will myself to my fastest mile of the day (8:11) for the final mile of the course. I crossed the finish line and forgot to look at the official time though I did remember to stop my watch; a move that was as useless as a BP cleanup crew. (Are we past the cutoff for BP jokes being funny/current?) I knew that I was under 2 hours and depending on how much time I added for starting my watch late I knew that a PR was going to be close. When the official times were posted I had managed a 6 second PR. 1:56:39.
Those of you that have followed this blog for any length of time know that it had been a while since I’d posted a PR at any distance and it felt great, orgasmic even. Oh, and then Candis went and showed me up by beating her former PR by 8 (eight!) minutes with a 2:09:20. Of course she didn’t have to overcome the adversity that I did that day.
Full disclosure: When I was checking the posted results for my official time the cute girl with the CamelBak was there (sans CamelBak) looking for her time and despite crossing the line a minute or so after me she actually posted a faster time than me, by 21 seconds. Curses! Chicked again!