Sunday, June 22, 2008

rr: fairfield half marathon (and 5k)

the short version: my 1:48:28 finish today in the fairfield half marathon was the slowest half marathon time of the 28 i've run since 2001! this finish was even slower than my 1:46:07 at the 2006 disney half (which i ran conservatively because the full marathon was on deck for the very next day)! aside from that bit of bad news, the rest of the day was great time!

i've run this race twice before: in 2001, on the old course which included westport, i ran a 1:41:52 and in 2006, on the new course, sans westport, i ran 1:37:29. i prefer the old course since it went past my wife's old house - for a bit of nostalgia. my time goal for this edition was a sub-1:40, but given the heat and humidity at the start, it seemed a stretch.

before the start emmy and i met up with a lot of familiar faces (and a few new ones). on the to packet pick-up we ran into cindy and john. cindy would win the 5k, and john would win his age group in the 5k. joe was also there, a friend i haven't seen since he and i took our daughters to the bunny boogie 3 mile in darien last march! no daughters with us today. joe would take second in his age group in half.

on the way back to the car, i met craig (a/k/a hewentthataway) for the runners world forums! he was on the look out for my yellow mm singlet and i, his orange tech shirt. amazing we found each other in crowd! even more fortuitous, just outside the beach parking lot we ran into bekkie and joe, who were there with their fellow silk city striders. as we chit-chatted, john came by and minutes later, marty too. john and marty ran the 5k - and john took second in his age group!

at this rate it hardly seemed likely i'd ever get rid of the stuff i was carrying! but craig, emmy and i did make it to the parking lot! just before we headed over to the start, i ran into my friends gregg and mark! they were in the 5k, and mark would take first in his age group. on short jog to the start, i said hi to tom (also running the 5k). tom would take first, to john's second in their age group!

amazingly, after all the socializing, the race went off! i ran the first mile in 7:15 - way too fast in those hot and humid conditions. the second mile was still too fast in 7:29, and i could already feel the effects of the heat - not a very good sign. jim gerwick was at the mile 2 marker and, just into mile 3, mike (a/k/a torpedo) caught up to, and passed me. when i reached the first hill and decided to walk it, i readjustment my sights to a 1:45 finish. it was going to be one of those days.

while i didn't realize it at the time, even 1:45 was too optimistic. for the next few miles my pace bounced between 7 and 9 minute miles (where i was walking every hill i ran into - excuse the pun). in fact, joe caught up to me as i was walking a hill and said "this isn't an ultra! you can't be walking the hills!" to which i could only say, sheepishly, "it feels like an ultra to me!" by 10 miles, in 1:23:14, i was having trouble maintaining an 8:15 pace!

with only 5k left to go, i finished it up in 25:13 - with nothing left in the tank when i finally ran under the huge american flag and thru the chute! then another surprise, got to meet eric (a/k/a runwest) from runners world, who had run the 5k. i introduced him to emmy and john and the 4 of us head over to the dunkin donuts wagon for some iced coffees!

there was still more socializing to squeeze in, actually! i still hadn't seen kate, dawn, don or pam - all 4 of whom were running the half. i grabbed some pizza, then eric, emmy and i headed over to get our cameras and change into some dry clothes. i caught sight of kate as she was coming into the beach parking lot to finish! she looked strong. when i got back with my camera, she was nowhere to be seen. after emmy collected her trophy for winning her age group, we found pam on the beach! but no sight of dawn or don today.

on the way out, the biggest surprise, for me, was getting to see my old friend rob! it's no exaggeration to say i can't remember the last race we were at. i just missed seeing art, who had just left. but did get to say hi to monica again - who i had seen earlier as she cheered runners on to the finish on the straightaway back to the beach. in a fitting send off, the heavens opened up with a sun shower as we exited the beach.

my race splits:

7:26 14:43
8:51 23:35
7:49 31:24
9:34 40:58
7:49 48:47
9:18 58:05
7:27 1:05:32
7:59 1:13:31
9:43 1:23:14
8:20 1:31:34
8:04 1:39:38
8:49 1:48:27

8:18 pace

398 overall/1969 finishers
34th/124 m45-49

check out emmy's race report and photos!
check out craig's race report on runner world!

and here is race coverage from the connecticut post.


Pam said...

Frank - don't beat yourself up. It was a really hard day today. I went through the same adjustment process to my finish expectations, eventually just wanting to finish at all (when I really wanted to drop out!). While it may not have felt like a job well done, I say GREAT JOB FRANK!

Laura said...

Congrats on a great job in some VERY tough conditions! Glad you got to see lots of running buddies especially from RunnersWorld - that's really cool.

Alex Gonzalez said...

Remember that time is not just relative to your training. Mother Nature can play a huge role in races. I too, ran out too fast for my Ottawa Half-Marathon, and I also paid the price with a performance less than what I had hoped.

Nevertheless, it was like a swamp outside today, so you definitely should give yourself a lot of credit for braving these elements!

rundangerously said...

thanks pam!

thanks laura!

thanks alex!