Sunday, April 13, 2014

Martian half - It didn't snow!!!

The Martian marathon is less than seven miles from my house, so obviously I was late for the start. Oops :P I left plenty early, but the 5k and 10k ended just before the start of the half, so all the recommended parking was already taken and I had to park a lot further than I had anticipated. I got out of the car at 8:35 for an 8:45 start and started booking it. A few blocks away and I heard the national anthem. It was no time to be patriotic - I had to get there! The race starts with an uphill climb, and I was at the top of the hill when the "gun" went off. I couldn't just jump in the race though because I had to cross the timing mat to activate my chip timer. So as the super fast runners were going uphill, I was running downhill on the sidewalk, just far enough to reach the timing mat. I hopped over the barricade, looked around at the runners crossing the start and decided "this is a good pace / place to start," and I was off.

The weather was absolutely beautiful. The past two years I've done the Martian it's been horrible, but this year was gorgeous!!!! Sunny and mid-50s at the start. The half started last of all the races - at 8:45, so it was definitely warming up as we went, enough that dehydration started to affect me. I cramped a few times, but was able to keep running through it and it passed.

The nice thing about the half is that tons more people do the half than the full, so there were oodles of people around me the whole way. I saw Kelly's friend Nancy and we ran together for almost a mile. For the first year, I didn't see "Mad Dog," but he was probably doing the full and I didn't stick around to see the end of that.

Something else really nice about the good weather was that people were out along Hines Drive watching and cheering. Not a ton, but there were several families out there and it was great to see every one of them.

Kelly snapped this at finish -
catching flies!
After my PR at the Rock CF half, I know I can run a sub 2:10 half, but this one was a lot harder than CF had been. Perhaps because it was a lot hotter, perhaps because 9:50s the whole way were my expectation, not a surprise. It was a labored run! The further I ran, the slower my mile splits became. Did I go out too fast with an 8:53 first mile? Yep. Was it due to the rising temperature? Likely.

Every time I looked at my borrowed watch, it was SO close and it was possible I would PR, but not guaranteed. Within the last mile, I knew I needed ONE MORE MINUTE! but I couldn't pause time to catch up. The last mile was pretty uncomfortable. My legs felt rubbery and my hands were tingling, but I couldn't let that stop me. I tried to not think and just kept going. I crossed the finish line and immediately stepped to the side. The medal could wait, the water could wait, I just needed a few minutes for my legs to feel solid again.

By my watch I finished in 2:09:39, which is not a PR, but close - 50 seconds slower than CF. By the official time, I didn't finish! They had me as started, but no finishing time. Evidently I wasn't the only one because they posted this on the results page:

By Sunday morning, I had an official time of 2:09:41, so still a solid sub-2:10 half. I had wanted to PR, but at the same time, it validated that my time at CF wasn't a fluke. I had this crazy consistency last year as well, running three marathons within a 2-minute time frame. This time, though, my finishing times are right where I want them.

After, I sat in the parking lot, took off my shoes and relaxed for a while. The kids race was starting soon and I saw a kid - maybe 10 years old - sitting in a wheel chair, and I had to ask myself why I was bummed with my time and so obsessed about those 53 seconds. I completely take it for granted that I can run a half at will, and this poor kid can't. It was a solid training run and I'm happy with that.

Best sign: "Quitting would be EW!" with a picture of Jimmy Fallon in character (Watch the sketch for reference) I didn't have my camera to take a picture of it though. Hal says you're not going to PR if you're busy taking pictures and slapping 5 with kids. Solid advice and it worked for the CF, so it was my approach again for the Martian. No camera - ew! Finishing within a minute of a PR? Not ew!

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