Last Sunday Kelly and Linda and I arrived a half hour before the horn went off. We were happy to not have to deal with any of the crowds. Although this race had approximately 1000 runners the venue is so spread out we could do that. It was pure nervous bliss sitting in our cars without the crunch of the bathrooms right up until I decided it was time for a 10 minute warm up. Begrudgingly my two buddies agreed to jog at least a half mile warm up with me. A pee stop in the woods and we were ready.
The early morning start of 7:30 AM brought with it a very quiet race announcement ceremony and no singing of the national anthem. It's all hunky dory with the race organizers because the neighbors still allow this race to continue after 4 years. Apparently that's the deal the race organizers have made with the neighbors; you can hold your race as long as you are very quiet. I was impressed with the runner cooperation.
After the non-existent horn blow off we went to tackle this lovely course that runs through the neighborhoods of Newton MA. I had no idea of what to expect in terms of my racing time. I had not raced a half marathon sans swim and bike since February. I knew my running was strong but just how strong I had no idea. Perhaps there is some calculator that can predict a half marathon time based on a recent halfiron performance?
I wanted to have a good race so I decided to label the women in front of me to keep my head in the game. The first woman in stalked was labeled shorty. I passed shorty early on, within the first mile. While passing I couldn't help but notice that she was not breathing hard at all. It was as if she was not even racing. Comparing her effort to my effort I had a sneaking suspicion that she could come back to haunt me later on. More on that later.
After shorty I spotted shorts girl. Shorts girl had black shorts and long legs. She was holding a good pace so I had to speed up a bit to catch her. Once caught she fought like a fish out of water to keep up with me. Eventually she had to let me go though. Poor thing.
After shorts girl there was overdressed girl and her twin, orange over dressed girl. They ran side by side. It took me quite a while to narrow that gap. Orange girl actually sped up and she was out of my reach before long. I could only catch original overdressed girl. She faltered quite a bit probably from being so overdressed, there was no need to worry once passed.
For a little while I could not find any more women to beat down. Then, BOOM - lo and behold shorty came scooting past me. I said "nice job" to her as she strode on. Keeping positive thoughts all the time even when being passed helps. It also makes you look like a good sport even you are faking it.
After shorty passed me I came upon one more victim. At first I thought she was in my age group from the rear but no. She was only in her 20s. I guess I am a bad judge. She was the hardest to pass. As I caught up to her I sat on her shoulder for a good half mile. She knew I was there and I could sense that she did not want me to pass. Once I caught my breath I put the pedal to the metal and gunned it. Before long she was now on MY shoulder. This all happened within 2 miles of the finish. I thought - SHIT - she is going to give me a run for my money. I decided to hold my pace thinking - Honey, if I caught you here then you must be fading. Sure enough eventually she let up and off I went.
I crossed the finish in 1:33:45. 2nd in my age group 40-49. I was so thrilled to end the season with a great half marathon only 20 seconds off of my PR.