Sunday, March 27, 2016

2016 New Bedford Half Marathon - USATF-NE GP#2

It was nice sleeping in on Sunday morning before the race, and I woke up feeling pretty good, like I hadn't even raced the day before. But even feeling good, I still didn't have my head in the game. I had been dreading this race for months so my attitude going into it is probably one of the reasons I didn't do as well as last year; I honestly just didn't care. I hadn't trained anywhere close to race a half marathon. However, I think my moronic decision to race the 5K the day before was really what did me in.

I got to the race pretty early and parked right by the Y. Since I had picked up my bib the day before, I was able to skip that process. I messaged my CMS teammate, Jenn Brooks, about warming up together, so as soon as she got there and got her bib, we headed out on an easy 2 mile warm up. We were both a bit bummed that our team was going to be missing quite a few people, but there was nothing we could do about it. Hopefully, we'll see the full team show up at the next one.

There wasn't a lot of time left before the start when we finished, so I ran back to my car and quickly got ready. Just like last year, I couldn't decide on the CMS long-sleeve or singlet, and, like last year, I went with the long-sleeve.  This year, it was the right choice. I got warm a few times and rolled up the sleeves, but in general I was comfortable with my choice. I ran up to the start and had to weave through the entire crowd to get up to the elite women's corral. I didn't really belong here, but all of the people I knew were in it, so I hopped in. It was nice to be surrounded by so many familiar faces so we chatted up until the race started. At this point, I don't think I had quite accepted the fact that I was about to run a half marathon. I could not focus. The only goal I could come up with for this year was to hold back on the first mile; last year, I shot out and ran a ridiculous first mile. I wanted to take it easy off the line and just ignore all of the people passing me. I thought I had done this. I felt like I had and even believed I had until later that night when I realized I had read my watch wrong. I went out almost as fast as last year!! Why?! Ugh. I caught up with Jenn for the 2nd mile and proceeded to chat; chatting is not my forte, but, for some reason, I chatted way too much during this race. Jenn took off on the first hill, and I was happy to let her go. But no sooner than Jenn was gone, Kelsey Allen caught up to me, and we proceeded to chat for awhile. Upcoming race plans, my injury, etc. What was I doing?! It did slow me down for the 2nd and 3rd miles, but too much! Then, right at the 3rd mile, I felt it. My legs. Beat to shit. My quads were so fatigued. The 5K. I was feeling it! Such a stupid move!! I wasn't sure I could even run a sub-1:30 at this point, but I had people around me that pulled me along. I just followed.
Headed for the finish line
Looking ahead to the stretch of the hardest headwind. LOL.

I remember feeling great until mile 10 last year, but this year, I felt so strange. It was as if I could be going harder, but my legs just weren't allowing it. My effort didn't match feel. I felt like I was giving 100%, but the pace didn't match it. Even the long downhill in the middle miles was a struggle. I had a few people right in front of me who had been in sight the whole race; I used them to get me through it. If they hadn't been there, I would have slowed significantly. We hit the usual headwind, but this time I was prepared for it. I also remembered to have a gel at mile 8 this year. I waited too late last year and ended up bonking hard at mile 10. The last three miles last year were awful. I was hurting so bad. It was interesting that as bad as I felt I was racing, I didn't hit that wall this time around. In fact, I ran the last 3 miles FASTER this year than last. Only seconds faster, but I was happy about that. I ended up nearly catching Jenn right at the top of the big hill. She had been consistently the same distance ahead of me the whole race, and I finally came close, but she had a nice kick as soon as we turned right for the downhill just before the last .1 to the finish. Right as we turned the corner, I passed Michael Narcisi, but he wasn't letting me beat him and took off on a huge sprint for the finish. Jenn did the same thing. I have no kick and just ran it in. 1:25:39. Wow! Not bad at all!! I thought for sure I was on track for a 1:28 something. Just as I ran through the finish line, Jenn had stopped and immediately threw up. I stopped with her to make sure she was ok. Once she was able to move, we avoided the EMTs and found her a spot on the grass to sit on to recover. We would finish 1 and 2 for the CMS women.

Richie Blake just happened to be sitting right on the finish line and caught this moment. Jenn didn't mind it being on Facebook, so I don't think she'll mind it on here. It's pretty awesome. She ran a PR that day.

I have no idea what my place was overall for the women, but for the second year in a row, I was 18th in the USATF open. Interesting that my time last year (1:23:25) would have had me in the top 10 this year! All in all, I ended up being pretty satisfied with my race. I never expected to run anything close to 1:25:39 in the shape I'm in. I am still struggling with discomfort and being heavier that running has not been easy like it used to be. I've been specifically just trying to get into marathon shape. So I can't complain about New Bedford. And, honestly, had I not been so stupid and raced the 5K the day before, I do really think I would have done better. I learned my lesson and will never do a double like that again. New Bedford really didn't matter, though. Even if I had scored for the GP series, it would have been pointless; I'll be 40 for the remaining races and those points would have been lost anyway.

I didn't hang out long at the finish because I was starting to get cold. I talked to a few people for about 10 minutes, then made my way to the car. I ran into Barbara McManus and some other of the CMS women on the way and stopped to talk to them for a few minutes before continuing on. I was so stiff, but I didn't feel that beat. Still, I had no desire to do a cool down, so the .2 back to my car was it. I changed clothes, and Barb came down with a CMS jacket for me. Then I hit the road. I wasn't hanging out this time around. I just wanted to get the hell out of there and get back to John in Marshfield.

Once I got John and the dogs, we drove over to Carolina Hill, one of my old haunts, for a walk with the dogs. It felt SO good to walk, and John even seemed to enjoy it. We only did about 1.5 miles, but I needed food, and the long drive back to NH awaited.

Walk at Carolina Hill in Marshfield
 After the walk, we drove over to KKatie's Burger Bar for some food. John had eaten here before with his dad's family and was excited to go back. That was a first since he usually just begs to go home. That meant a happy, non-stop talking kid the whole time. I loved it. We lucked out to have live music start up just as we got there. The food was great and hit the spot. I didn't even need to eat another thing the rest of the day and night.

The drive home was uneventful... which was much appreciated. Haha. Last year, we hit a white-out on Rt 1 and then got into a multi-car accident on the bridge in Dover, NH due to black ice. It took us 5 hours to get from Marshfield back home. I was thankful for the beautiful weather and dry roads the whole way home. I felt tired and beat by the time we got home and knew that the coming week was going to be light one.

Here was my drive home in 2015:

This doesn't even show as bad as it was because it got worse!

I lucked out with quick thinking to avoid a direct hit. I was able to put the tail light back in its place, where it stayed until I got it repaired. 

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