Monday, September 9, 2013

Maple Leaf Half Marathon

August was an excellent month of running for me. My mileage still wasn't crazy high. But I was consistent and I also hike 7 mountains (6 high peaks). I knew I wanted to improve on my half time at the Maple Leaf, but it was not my primary training focus this fall (stockade-thon I've got my eyes on you!) Anyhow Jess and Jessie were both planning on running & my not so secret goal was to beat them. They are both faster than I and I came in last when we did Jamestown in July. But I had a great month of running. I figured this would be my only opportunity to possibly be the first to finish.

I had some great runs over the past few weeks and began to set a time goal (something I very much dislike doing)  I wanted finish at 2:20 but after reviewing my 10 miler a few weeks ago, I didn't think it was possible. So an 11 minute pace was the goal. (2:24)

The race was in Manchester, VT about an hour and change from Jess' place in Troy. I offered to drive since both J's were traveling to the capital district and it seemed only fair. We made it to the rec center by 6:45 and easily picked up our bibs & bag. We spent the next hour sitting in the car to stay warm. 
pre-race we all tried to ditch are long layers, but they were still on the fence when we returned & we felt guilty for leaving them...

Once we started, I lost the J's and began to zone out to this week's Tiesto podcast. Somewhere within the 2nd mile Jessie caught up to me. We made our way through the countryside, tackling hills, and high fiving children/teens. I felt strong. The 7th mile began the hills. I will say that all my hiking has positively effected my running. My muscles felt good and my lungs/heart were able to keep up. When we just passed 7.5 Jessie dropped back with the words "go forth and conquer" and that I did. 

Sort of.

 Mile 7 was challenging but it cannot compare to mile 8/9. My pace slowed right down and I ran a 12:21 mile. I was able to keep plugging along(stopping once to tighten my shoelace that had been driving me nuts all race) and eventually I was rewarded with a downhill and flat remaining course.

Once I hit mile 10, I began to attempt to pass more people. I was able to pass 6 within that mile, but it was tough. I definitely overestimated how long I could sustain a final push and couldn't maintain what I had started. I was not passed, but was only able to pass 5 people on mile 11. 
My hand looks like a claw, because I was keeping track of who I had passed... and i keep my arms up too high.

And I have no idea who I may have passed on mile 12. At that point I was regretting surging so early and simply trying to hang on.

Once I turned into the park I switched my watch so I could seem elapsed time. I was predicting close to 2:22  but was stoked to see that I would definitely come in under that. I finished 2:17:16.

10 minutes faster than Lake Placid Half in June &
14 minutes faster than Jamestown in July. 

Both J's came in shortly after me and we headed over to the food tent. The post race spread was awesome. Cheese, sandwiches, ice cream fruit, cheddar bunnies. It was excellent.  I will definitely be back again!