saturday was the third race in the norwalk summer series, the 7 miler. the first two, the 3 miler and 5 miler, were single loop courses. the 7 mile course had (and the remaining 3 will have) an out and back run to a double loop. the double loop of beach in the 7 miler was a replay of the double loop we ran at the rowayton father's day fun run last month. interestingly, while the course was accurately measured, the markers were off - and that led to a bit of post-race speculation that we may have run more than the advertised 7 miles (but i get ahead of myself).
when i arrived at the high school i was pleasantly surprised to run into my old friend art, who i haven't seen at a race since last summer?! it was great catching up with him - and, as usual, my other friends (roy, john, kate, emmy, rob, anton...). but i was a bit distracted that morning because immediately after the race i had to drive home, collect katie and her gear, then drive her to field hockey camp (in storrs, ct) in time for the noon check-in. the round trip camp drop-off took almost 5 hours of driving time.
as for the race itself, i wanted to run the 7 miler in 48 minutes, a 6:50 pace. as late as 6 miles into the race i was still on track for that goal. but my race imploded in the final mile and i missed that target by a wide margin. my first mile, 6:38 and second, 6:05, gave me a 2 mile split of 12:43. i'm not sure if mile two was short, but the pace seemed a bit fast. the next mile took 6:41 and i reached the 3 mile split at 19:24, a 6:28 pace. from that point on, the final 4 miles became something of a struggle.
i reached 4 miles in 26:29 - in my slowest mile, 7:05, so far. mile 5, in 6:57, was marginally faster, and my 5 mile split was 33:36 - still well under my 6:50 target. but mile 6 took me 7:30 - and wasn't easy. my 40:46 split was still on pace for a 48 minute finish. i wouldn't be pretty, but i was sure i could gut out the last mile in 7 minute (or even 7:30). but that wouldn't happen. my legs died and it took 8:37 to finish that last mile. runners passed me like i was standing still!
my 49:33 finish (a 7:05 pace) was a minute and a half slower than my goal - and all that time was lost in the very last mile. it was a major bummer - and one of the rare times this year that i just couldn't shake off a lackluster performance. most of the runners were convinced the course was long. that was topic one of post-race conversation and don got a lot of questions (grief) over it. but the actual distance was irrelevant to me - as i was passed repeatedly in the last mile. whatever the distance, everyone ran the same course!
disappointed as i was, i still socialized a bit and took a couple of pictures before hopping in my car for the drive home. and we did get katie up to her camp in plenty of time for check-in and first day orientation!
as a coda to the course distance back and forth, jim took the time to remeasure route! here is the result (which don emailed to us yesterday):
"Guys - I certified it at 7.0 last year before the race. Just to make sure it was run as measured I re-rode it Sunday afternoon, and it came up the same, w/in 2 ft. The mile marks were way off, however. 1 was a bit long then each subsequent mile was short, 6 being almost 200m before its correct placement, which made every one's last mile seem long, thus throwing the whole course distance into doubt (this did give me some good grist for an article I'm writing, however)."
here are my race photos.