Sunday, May 04, 2014

Flying Pirate Half Marathon

The Schwag

 This didn't go quite like I had hoped but despite blowing up I'm happy that I still gave it 100% effort. Well, I'm getting ahead of myself  so lets go to the start.  It was a beautiful morning for the race, probably 60F while we were waiting around. I went for a one mile warmup as I usually try to do about 30 minutes before and then with about 10 minutes to go I head back out for a few short strides to get ready to move fast before finding a spot in the first corral.

  My plan was to try and go out at a 7:30 pace and try to hold onto that for the first 10 miles knowing I would slow down in the dirt hills of the last 5k and that should get me about the 1:40 I had for a goal. I felt very relaxed as we began and was patient and like magic I pretty much nailed that first mile in 7:28. I felt very happy with that and settled in. Mile 2 was a 7:25 so I knew I just needed to relax and not push it for now. The sun was getting above the trees by now and  I was noticing it was really a bit warm for optimal racing but at least the humidity was low and there was a breeze which fortunately was a tailwind for most of the morning.

 Miles 3 and 4 were uneventful in 7:37 and 7:37. There was a guy leap-frogging with me since the 1st mile that looked like he could possibly be in my age group so I was happy to just stay close to him at this point. I was feeling ok but there was no way  I could push the pace anymore and was just going to have to be content with the slightly slower miles which would still get me close  to my goal.

 Mile 5 has one short hill and I felt very weak going up it, not a good sign and I was surprised at how much distance I lost on the guy I was keying off of but I was able to slowly began to reel him back in on the flat after coming down the backside. A 7:39 mile 5 so the hill didn't slow me as much as I was afraid it did, mostly thanks to running strong down the backside.

 For most of the race up to this point I could hear a loud voice behind me yelling out to the spectators and anyone else that would listen. As he got closer I heard him say to someone he was running next to that it was his first half. He obviously was pacing himself well because I could barely gasp a word between breaths !

  I thought I was moving well now so I was pretty disappointed that mile 6 was a slower 7:45. Not good ! I went through 10k in 46:57, still on pace to go 1:40 but also knowing the woods and hills were coming. I tried to push the pace back up again and was successful with a 7:36 mile 7 but it was not feeling easy. A whole lot different than how I felt back in March at TR Half.

 We finally made it to the Wright  Bros. Memorial and just past the slow 7:50  8 mile mark the loud guy passed me. He was a young guy and offered encouragement but I was hurting by now and the older guy I was trying to hang with was putting on a big gap.  I lost sight of him by mile 9 which was  a bad one in 8:03.

   At this point I knew a 1:40 was out of the question but I still wanted to run as fast as possible and try to get an age group award so I dug deep and kept pushing. By now I was into my sounds like I'm dying , gasping phase  which is usually just in the last mile when I am close to a good time. I'm sure it is disconcerting to people around me but it keeps me pushing through the pain. We entered the woods with the 10 mile just ahead near the top of the first hill and I passed in 8:13 giving me a 10 mile split of 1:17:11 or about 2 minutes slower than I had hoped for and a minute slower than the pace for a 1:40. Now the best I could hope for would be around 1:42 but at least no old guys had passed me yet !

 I pushed and moaned and groaned my way to mile 11 still slowing to 8:33, very discouraging as hard as I was working. And now the grey hairs started passing me and I was not happy at all. First one, then two and then at mile 12 a third one ! Mile 12 was an 8:44. One more mile and the single track ahead. Oh, please let this be over ! I pushed hard to try and catch back up to the old guys but it wasn't there and when we made the turn up the steep hill on the trail I was just totally spent and had to walk it.

 To add insult to injury I was being harassed by horse flies !! The last mile was a total misery with every ounce of energy gone. 10:14 ! Booooo !

 Crossed the finish in 1:45:33, way off what I wanted but I have to say that although I am disappointed in my time I am proud of the effort I gave. It would have been so easy to back off and not hurt when it was obvious the time would be way off but my competitive nature just wouldn't let me do that today.
 As it turns out I was only passed by one person in my age group. At 10k I was in 3rd and I finished up in 4th. Of course if I had run close to my target I would have been on the podium but it was not my day and congrats to the guys that were !

 So not the day i wanted but I have say that this is a very well organized race. The folks at Outer Banks Sporting Events put on some quality races.

post race dip. A little brisk !

 On to the next adventure. Stay tuned !

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