So just the week before we found our Champion finishing the CAL and successfully defending his title in the near freezing rain. And yet another PR. Well, after returning to Delaware an itch came over me and that was to finally break the 2 hour barrier on the Half Marathon. If you remember I have come very close in the the Disney Half but was side tracked and missed the mark by 2 minutes. I also missed by only 36 seconds in at Akron in 2007. This is half of my only time goal these days and that is a sub 4 hour marathon. I can’t get to that without breaking 2 for 13.1. I had such an awesome run at the CAL I knew I was primed to take the Caesar Rodney by storm.
This is where the brain got in my way again. What have we detemined in prior posts here, here, and here that brain bad. I had to get a long run this weekend and 13.1 is not quite a long run. It is funny how stuff has been redefined. Just a few years ago 13.1 was way more than a long run. 10 miles was a supreme effort. Now 13.1 at race pace is not even considered a long run. A long recovery run? Maybe but not a long training run. So I come up with the ultimate plan.
I had been reading the 50/50 by Dean Karnezes and he mentioned that he does not run because he just enjoys it and that the goal is not just running but something else. Well, I may have gotten that mixed up but it struck me, because, that is why I run. Not for races which are awesome but for running. Well, another thing that Karno has been known to do is run to and from races or park at the start of a point-2-point and run back after finishing. What an awesome concept. So here was my plan.
The Half had a 5k that started about an hour before it and the registration was open about an hour before that so I would drive down to Wilmington to register and get my chip and bib and drive back home to rest, gear up, and fuel up. What a great plan, right. Step B: Once geared up, warm up. So I ran the 3.5 miles to the start of the race from home with the full intentions to run back as a cool down. It was a nice easy run nothing hard and a little down hill. No issue. Part 3: Rock the race with PR. How could I go wrong.
Well, the first hiccup was that it was a little chilly and rainy and that would make things a little tougher when it came to that time between warm up and race. The second is last week I pulled my quad a little and was not quite at 100%. No matter. I stepped out the door and took off down the road. It was real funny as I got closer to Downtown Wilmington and started seeing other runners. As I got to the start line there were some drinks (water and gatorade) from the 5k so I re-hydrated before the race started. With the rain I was already getting wet and it was warming up so I was starting to over heat a little. Not a big deal though.
A little shaking and moving kept me warmed up and I gathered at the start line and waited for the “Boom!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I mean it could wake the dead in death valley the start cannon was so damn loud. I was warned and I still jumped and took off like a greyhound. Okay more like a Basset Hound but still it made me jump. As with all races with defined start lines with chip mats there start line shuffle/walk/shuffle started. So I hit the start line and I was at least at a run. Then came the down hill weaving to the river front. I had once again placed myself in a slower section. The issue was that with a small field I that was only about 10 feet difference. Either way I was on the hunt for a PR. I remember hitting the first mile mark in the low 8s and things couldn’t feel better. At this point is where the course started to double back and I saw the gazelles. Those guys are fast.
For the most part the most eventful part of the first 6 miles was not much. The part that irked a little was after the time split at mile 1, that was it till mile 6. All I knew at that point was that there were some hills to contend with and I needed to conserve a little before hitting them. The other issue was that rain had stopped and it was warming up.
When I hit the 6 mile mark I realized that try as I might, I was still not holding back. At the same time I was primed and in time to PR and break the 2 hour mark. I could not believe it then. So many times have I actually broken the 2 hour mark in longer races. Actually, if there were a split in the CAL 30k I would have shattered my PR and been hard pressed to better it. But now, less than half way to the finish line I was on pace.
Then it hit. The first real hill. It was was up to toward Tower Hill School. It was not steep but it was long. I mean real long. It went up about a mile and turned level before heading up another hill for about half a mile before the worst of it, heading back down. On top of it all most of the hill was a double back on the course so I got to see others coming back at me. At this point I realized that running back home after the finish may not be a good idea. The real good news is the turn around at the top of the hill is only a mile from home and Space and Rae were there. I threw my now soaked over-shirt to them and informed Space that I need to be picked up at the finish.
You could say that after all that up hill it would have been all down hill from there but, you could be wrong. You are wrong. Why? Because the down hill ends below the finish line. It was like the race directors took classes at Evil School (UVa or OSU) because there came a near wall that lasted for two blocks before the finish. The finish was actually about 100 meters of flat but after running a hilly course for 13 miles the up hills can kill, the down hills show some relief but the flats just feel like up hills. It can mess with your head. I think I need to bring a level to make sure whether I am going up, down, or straight.
In any case I got to the top and saw just what I wanted to see. I had approximately 7 minutes to cover the final 100meters to break 2 hours. I gave it one last heave and there it was. 1:53:24. Awesome. According to my splits, I actually sped up on the last half of the race which was even better. I was spent and needed liquid bad. What a fantastic day just about the running and the medal and PR were just icing on the already great cake.
I don’t know hos Caesar Rodney is but he put on a nice half marathon and on top of that it was a great primer for the Delaware Marathon. If only I could learn from the course I had run. Either way, PR baby!!!!!!!