The Ocean's Run is a small local 1/2 marathon put on by the amazing TriMom. Originally held in the fall, she moved it to the spring last year and had a much improved turnout. This year it proved even more popular and I was looking forward to racing another road half and hopefully improving my PR. After a goodly taper last week, I made responsible decisions on Saturday night by drinking several beers and staying up late. I woke up with an annoying little hangover. I went down to tend to the fire and an hour later I was feeling much better and pumped for the race. This was also going to be Amanda's first half marathon - an exciting challenge for her since she starting running two years ago.
We arrived with plenty of time to spare. I went out for a solo warm-up before running into Jeff Walker. He was warming up with Jeff Duda who I met for the first time. We made our way back to the start and were soon lined up. I was on the fence about wearing a thermal top and decided to keep it on. Gazelle had gone with just the singlet which proved wise. My goal was to run 6:20 miles - this was a doable goal that would result in a big PR.
Then we were off, twisting and turning our way out of the parking lot. We weren't even on the road yet when a woman started to complain about her watch not working. We hit the road and made our way past the Ocean Mist. The lady was still bemoaning her spacewatch - I wasn't sure if she was talking to me or the Gods but it got old quick. Yeah it sucks, we all love our magic watches but it's broke, whaddya gonna do? Let it go and run.
She either dropped back or got over it and soon I hit the first of two early turnarounds. These are nice as they give you a chance to see the stream of people behind you. Cheered on 5k (leading early) and Gazelle and then Amanda and those behind. I felt like I was working hard already and got into a bad habit of checking my pace. First it was sub 6 (too fast!) Then 6:40 (too slow!) By the time I passed the beach entrance and hit mile 3 I was already breathing hard.
At this point I was already writing the race report in my head - complete with the blunders the night before and the piss-poor pacing work. I was in 7th place and could see Walker chasing a guy in a yellow shirt up ahead but they were getting farther away. I felt like my pace was dropping already and I pushed harder. I didn't see how I was going to keep this up. I envisioned 7 minute miles in my future and being passed left and right. It was going to be a long race.
|Feelin' it at mile 7.5 - Photo by Miriam Overend|
Once I hit the seemingly endless stretch of Matunuck Schoolhouse Road my mood improved. I settling into a rhythm and while mile 5 was 6:30 my next two were in the low 20s. I could see Jeff off in the distance passing Yellow Shirt guy - he was looking strong! Passed the Garvin family cheering us on which was a nice surprise. During mile 5 I heard footsteps behind me. At mile 6 I heard the voice of a guy and Spacewatch Girl. Around 6.5 miles they passed me - along with two other guys. Four people? How slow was I going? I tried briefly to keep up with the pack but they were doing 6:10s and I knew I couldn't maintain that.
Now in 12th place, I popped a gel at mile 7 and settled in behind a red shirt guy who had dropped back from the others. At mile 7.5 I was cheered on by Em and my dad which helped. As we made our way into the Green Hill neighborhood I stuck close to the pack ahead but once we turned back onto Green Hill Beach Road they hit the burners. I was still sticking to Red Shirt guy though. The Yellow Shirt guy that Jeff had passed was looking to be overtaken by Spacewatch Girl and her merry gentlemen. Em and dad had been joined by Ezri and my mother-in-law and their cheers gave me strength as I motored past Red Shirt guy.
Now I was passing all the runners still making their way out. I saw Amanda - she was looking strong! With three miles to go I started to get a second wind and my pace increased. But I was hot! Should've just gone with the singlet. I ended up taking off my cap which did the trick. At mile 11 I heard some someone hauling ass behind me. Red Shirt guy? Nope, it was Jeff Duda! He asked how I was doing and I grunted that I was tired. I tried to keep pace but he was moving too fast for me. Soon he motored off in pursuit of Yellow Shirt who was getting closer.
|3/4 of a mile left and please just let me finish - Photo by Chris Garvin|
The last stretch on Cards Pond Road was brutal. I was exhausted and felt like I was barely moving. Duda had pushed pass Yellow Shirt and I was approaching him as well. Passed the Garvin family once again. Chris yelled "reel 'em in" but there would be no fishing today. My legs felt like cement. And the road was endless. Where was the goddamn entrance to the beach? Eventually I saw the flagger. Still closing on Yellow Shirt, I knew I didn't have another gear to catch him and settled for finishing a few seconds behind.
It was a difficult and tiring race and yet despite my seesaw pacing issues I finished in 1:23:06 - good for a 54 second PR! I chatted with my mom and the other WTACers (Tommy 5k in 4th, the mighty Gazelle in 6th) and then Jeff and I did the reverse course for a cooldown. When we reached Amanda I turned around and ran with her the rest of the way. She finished in just over two hours - an incredible performance for her first 1/2 marathon! I'm very proud of her.
|Happy to be finished!|
We feasted on the wonderful assortment of treats and snacks that TriMom provided and then stuck around while Jeff, Mike B, Shara and Tommy 5k picked up some Age Group awards. I had hoped to make the podium but I ended up 4th in the tough 30-39 category. If only I could have caught Yellow Shirt! In the end I'm very happy that I pulled out a big PR in this race and only wish that my splits had been more even - maybe then I'd have had a little more in the tank when I needed it most.
Mile 1: 6:15
Mile 2: 6:09
Mile 3: 6:09
Mile 4: 6:22
Mile 5: 6:30
Mile 6: 6:24
Mile 7: 6:21
Mile 8: 6:31
Mile 9: 6:18
Mile 10: 6:28
Mile 11: 6:22
Mile 12: 6:16
Mile 13: 6:16
Once again a big Thank You goes out to TriMom who puts on an awesome event. The race was well organized and the volunteers were great. The food spread afterwards in the tent was triumphant. They had bikers out on the course distributing gels and while I didn't take them up on their offer of "warm Gu" it was appreciated nonetheless.