Preparation: Here is my training log on Google Docs. My last long runs over 10 miles were 12 on July 4 and 10.25 on July 11. Draw your own conclusions. Having not run much over the last... uh, several months, actually, relative to this new, longest race distance might not have been too smart. This race WAS a late decision, though.
Course: The Cortland Leaf Peeper Half Marathon starts and ends at Yaman Park in Cortland, NY, and is a simple out-and-back along country roads. The first 4+ miles are flat as pee on a plank, then there is a series of hills - tiny, medium, and UGH! - between about mile 5 and the turn-around. This is a mixed blessing for me as you will see. Also, there was some discussion about whether the course was about 1/10 mile long - I calculated my paces based on a long 1.2 mile last leg and 13.2 mile total.
Race: It was cold but clear this morning with a predicted high around 60 degrees, the kind of weather that makes you grab every piece of athletic gear you own. At race time, you could end up in shorts and a tank, or you might need pants, a long sleeve shirt, jacket, hat and gloves. Well, it did warm up quickly after a half-mile jog, so I ended up in shorts, T-shirt and gloves - perfect! I passed a few runners who might have been slowing and overheating in their heavy gear.
I wanted to run the first half around 8:30 pace, then get down around 8:00 pace on the way back. However, the breeze was deceptive (to those not paying attention?), as outbound we ran with the wind, and while it was refreshing on the way back, it had a definite effect on speed and energy consumption. Splits going out were 8:26, 8:22, 8:29, 8:38 and 7:39 - avg. 8:18. Then there was an absence of mile markers, so miles 6-8 in 24:44 were 8:15 pace. Remaining splits were 8:20, 7:58, 8:23, 8:38, and 1.2 miles in 10:03 (8:22) - avg. 8:20. Total time 1:49:45.
The middle three miles are where the hills were so I think I did well to maintain pace, and even pick up a little on the downhills. I will pass people chugging uphill, then fly past them downhill. Then they catch me on the flats. Especially if it's into the wind. I think that's all there is to say about that.
Barefoot Runner Report: Saw one guy in what looked like VFF KSO's and a woman in Sprints. They both finished ahead of me. Not sure if anyone else was going minimalist. You can easily spot the VFF's, but if someone wants to wear a minimalist flat, who's to know. Also, I did not spot any Luna huaraches.
Injury report: My lower abs and hip flexors have been sore the past couple of weeks. The abs seem to have worked themselves out today, but the hips are still achy. My left hip is always tight and it throws lots of things off - my left hamstring gave a little complaint around mile 10, but there were no lasting effects. I have always been the poster child for DOMS. I expect to be sore tomorrow, and lucky to walk by Tuesday. P.S. Do not pin a gel to the inside of your shorts where it can rub on your skin. You will get a boo-boo.
Overall: 65 out of 187, including early starters/walkers; 13 out of 23 30-39 AG. 1:49:53 official time, my time 1:49:45. (Someone please tell me why it's so hard to get actual chip times at the start!)
Recovery: My darling wife is making me beef stew. Yum. No, you cannot have any so do not even ask. I expect to enjoy some wine this evening then sleep in tomorrow. CORRECTION: We appear to be having beef bourguignon. All of the wine went into the stew. Frowny face.
Thanks to my TCRC friends Chris and Sue for the ride. Congratulations to Sue on 2nd place AG! (I won't say which AG. I'm a gentleman that way.) And congrats to Chris on 7th of 24 AG. Props to Cortland YMCA for putting on a good race and getting the weather to cooperate - check their web site for complete results which are, amazingly, already posted. See you again next year.