Well, knock me over with a feather - a new PR

Or, perhaps more appropriately, how did that happen?

Saturday was the Borgess Run for the Health of It half marathon. I signed up for it a while ago, intending mainly to use it as a benchmark, a test run to see how much I had lost in the last couple of months. I've been doing my short runs, to the tune of 25 or 30 miles a week, but I think I have had only one double-digit run since Chicago, and most of my runs are in the 4-6 mile range. Still, I figured that I had enough of a base that I could bluff my way through the race, though I wasn't expecting a good time.

And, Saturday morning, I really wasn't expecting a PR, or even a decent time. See, I spent a good chunk of Thursday evening, and almost all Friday afternoon, asleep. Dead to the world. Sick with my usual spring sinus infection. And, sure enough, I was congested Saturday morning.

But, my general rule is that, if I am too sick to run (or race), I am too sick to hang out with my friends, and I had told some friends that I would see them Saturday night. So, if I wanted to touch base with some people I haven't seen in over two months, I had to run.

I drove over there, and wandered around. It was a pretty late start (8:15), and a smaller field, so I got there in plenty of time at 7:30 or so. I got my bib, noticed that there were no swag bags to be seen, and tried to clear my sinuses and limber up. I was feeling okay, but not great, when the race finally began.

I noticed two things quite quickly: 1) Kalamazoo is much hillier than my treadmill; and 2) this course was going to hit quite a few hills early, which probably meant that I would have to deal with them again later in the race, only climbing uphill at the end. I also noticed that I have some problems with even pacing, though the hills and some oddly placed mile markers account for some of it.

Mile 1 - missed it. 7:48 or something by the clock, which meant closer to a 7:00 for me.
Mile 2: 14:46
Mile 3: 22:02 (7:16)
Mile 4: 29:47 (7:44)
Mile 5: 37:06 (7:18)
Mile 6: 44:45 (7:38)
Mile 7: 52:24 (7:39)
Mile 8: 1:00:13 (7:49)
Mile 9: 1:06:52 (6:39) short mile
Mile 10: 1:15:49 (8:51) long mile
Mile 11: 1:23:25 (7:35)
Mile 12: 1:31:24 (7:58)
Mile 13.1: 1:39:05 (7:40)

Somewhere in the early parts of the race, I caught up with another runner, and ran most of the race with him, probably about miles 4-11 or so. I fell back because the pace was getting to be too much, mainly due to the hills. For the record, however, he only finished about 30 seconds ahead of me, so I think that, had I trained for hills, or not been sick, I could have stuck with him.

I did manage to do my usual mad sprint for the finish line. This time, however, it was just not to be. In the last half mile, a runner had past me (going uphill), and, when I could finally see the finish line and started picking it up, he was about 20-25 yards ahead of me, with perhaps 100 or 125 yards to go. I almost caught him. Almost. He took off as I came up on him, and we hit the mat at almost the same time. In fact, it is the same clock time, but his name comes first, so I presume that he beat me by some infinitesimal fraction of a second. His chip time was a full 4 seconds faster though, so either way, I got beat.

Still, I made a PR. And not just any PR - I cut 4:44 off my time, and that's on a much hillier course than where I made my previous PR. I paid for it, with some good sized blisters and really sore muscles (which together kept me from running until tonight), but it was worth it. Marathon training now begins in earnest - and Chicago, I am coming for you.


Blogger Wes said...

Damn, you are fast :-) Sick or not! Nice job on the PR!!

7:31 AM  
Blogger yumke said...

That is quite a PR! Congrats! And I love the last-mile racing.. i never get into that

4:14 PM  

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