i began this race report on sunday when i went over my splits. now, four days later, it seems like the colchester half marathon took place weeks ago (instead of last saturday). the colchester half was a very last minute addition to the race calendar. when the boston build-up 25k was officially postponed on friday, emmy suggested this race as an alternative. when i checked out the race description - hilly (to say the least) and low cost - i was in.
turned out that the colchester half is one of last no frills, old school races - tough course, low-fee ($12; $15 race day), no shirts, no awards - and best of all, awesome post-race FOOD! i loved it. and, to add that extra edge to the hilly course, it was seriously cold (27 degrees at the start) and windy. while i had a vague thought of running the caumsett park 50k on sunday morning (i didn't, but emmy did), i planned on using this half as a training run.
i would have been happy with a sub 1:40 given the weather and hills. in a rare moment, i took my ipod with me - practically a guarantee that this would be a training run instead of an all out effort. i lined up with the "all-american rejects" on deck to keep me company. my plan was to run 7:30 miles and get in a good work-out. things turned out a bit differently.
first off, mile one clocked in at 7:00 - which i conveniently blamed on the music. so i backed off (so i thought) the second - and ran another 7 minute mile for a split of 14:00. this was something of a shock and i started toying with the idea of targeting a 7:15 pace. mile 3 clocked in at 7:20 - way more realistic. but another pair of 7 minute miles (7:01 and 7:04) got me to 5 miles in 35:35, a 7:05 pace.
i wasn't in the mood to argue with my body at this point. while i planned (and did) walk portions of two steep hills, i managed to reach 10 miles at 1:12:32, a 7:15 pace! to my astonishment, that included a 6:55 tenth mile! then hubris kicked in and i decided to readjust my target down to a 1:35 finish. only 3 more 7:15 miles would do it. mile 11 clicked by at 7:15. now, only 2 more (albeit uphill and into the wind) to go.
if i had stuck with my original target, i would have been incredibly pleased with the outcome. instead, i paid a dear price for that mid-race burst of hubris. my calves seized up in mile 12, forcing me to take 5-6 step walking breaks. still, it came in at 8:04. the calf cramps continued into mile 13, necessitating a few more walk breaks. that mile took 9:00. i gingerly crossed the line in 1:37:44, a 7:28 pace, not at all pleased. it was ironic to realize that at the start of this race i would have been overjoyed with at 1:37. instead, i stood there sorely disappointed with the very same outcome - all because i'd expected that 1:35 - argh!
that disappointment didn't last too long. bekkie and joe, two good friends, were at the finish line to cheer on the runners. inside the school, the race organizers had set up an incredible array of hot food, salads, and dessert! all in all, it was a great morning to be out there racing.
afterwards, i found a great race report on posted on kickrunners, that included this nifty course elevation profile:
if i had seen this before the race, it would have scared some sense into me - ha.
here are my race photos.