Sunday, April 14, 2013

Great Bay Half Marathon

A little late but a short recap from last weekend's half marathon...

I wasn't sure about doing the Great Bay Half Marathon (results) this year but after winning it last year and setting the course record (by 1 whole second), I decided to go back knowing that I am in a little better shape than last year at this time.  I also needed to get in some more racing and hard efforts (and long runs) so I decided to head on down to Newmarket, NH and give it another go.   I got the dreaded bib #1 from the RD but wasn't going to let that go to my head...I knew that I have had some challenges with my legs this year but have been feeling 'ok' fitness-wise (still a ways to go though).

The weather was windy but nowhere near what it was the day before.  The course is fairly challenging with constant rolls and a few decent hills later in the race but it's a pretty fair course.  It's also really varying with the scenery.  I starts in a nice neighborhood near the school and then winds through town and out into some back woods on about 3 miles of dirt roads before coming back along the water on some rolling seaside roads.  Then it dips back into some nice neighborhoods and back out into the downtown area for the finish.  I really do like the course but it's not exactly a course I'm expecting to set any PR's on or even come close... especially since I've run this race now 2 years in a row coming right out of a sub par winter of training.  I had a little bit more miles under my belt this winter so I was slightly optimistic, but after Eastern States a couple weeks ago, I wasn't holding my breath.

I warmed up with Jason Porter who was 3rd last year. We talked about our race goals a bit.  We both wanted around the same time and to just finish without issues.  He was dealing w/ PF issues just like I am.  After about 2 miles of warmup, I did another mile or so of warming up and strides before the race began. Right before the race I noticed my parents were there to watch the race which was awesome.  I also saw my old HS teammate Matt Lyons right before the start... He's running for GBTC now and is trying to get back into racing form (like I am). Matty and I were the '1-2 punch' in Wakefield, MA back in the day...Matty usually out ran me so it was time I try to return the favor...  I slapped on the Inov-8 233s and hit the road for the quarter mile or so run over to the starting line...

I wasn't sure of who else was in contention but knew JP and I would probably be out front in the half.  There is also a 5k that is run at the same time, starts at the same place, and just about runs the first 3 miles of the half marathon I knew there would be a few guys going out faster than I would be running, for at least the first 3 miles.  As the gun went off, Casey Carroll took off (as I anticipated he would) and he brought a couple of other guys with him.  I took it relatively easy and felt relaxed as I hit the first couple miles well ahead of last year's pace. I ran a little bit with Mark Gibson (who was running the 5k) and then from 3 miles onward, I was on my own as the 5k guys went right and the half continued straight ahead.  At the split I was just ahead of Mark w/ only 2 5k guys ahead of me.

From that point on I was rolling along at seemingly the same pace throughout.  I was consistently clicking off splits under my splits from last year, even on some of the hillier sections.  This year though, the hills didn't seem as bad and the 3 mile stretch of dirt road didn't seem as bad either.  The one section I did have some issues with was the out and back stretch between miles 9.5 and 12. Right around 10.5 or so my hips and legs started to get a little tight and fussy.  I wasn't sure until about 12 miles that I would run faster than last year.  Even though I had split every split faster than last year, I still wasn't sure I could even win the race let alone run another CR until about 12 miles.  In the out and back section, there is a small loop around a neighborhood from about 10.5-11.5 where you can actually see the next runners as you circle back.  I had a decent lead on JP as I headed back out of the neighborhood (we passed each other right at the start of the loop).  Even then though I wasn't completely sure I could pull off the win until I turned back onto the main road and started to smell the finish line...

I came down the last road section and realized I was going to be about a minute or so ahead of last year's effort which felt awesome.  It also felt great to know that I really felt strong and in control the whole race.  I was never really hurting at all during this run.  Needless to say my confidence was boosted up pretty good as I headed down and crossed the line in 1:13:08 (which is exactly the same time I ran at NB a few weeks prior on arguably a much faster course).

Thanks to my parents for being there to cheer me on and take all these photos... Now on to continue to race myself into shape and figure out if I can ever get back to where I was a couple years ago (on the roads at least)...

Top 10 Overall:

Place Name Town, State Age Time Pace
1 JIM JOHNSON        Madison NH          35 1:13:08.6 5:35
2 JASON PORTER       Bedford NH          43 1:17:15.9 5:54
3 MORGAN SOUTTER     Charlestown MA      37 1:17:41.2 5:56
4 SKYLER MOSENTHAL   Manchester NH       26 1:18:15.0 5:59
5 COLIN COOK         Bedford NH          31 1:21:02.7 6:12
6 STEVE DUTTON       Goffstown NH        35 1:21:03.3 6:12
7 CHRISTOPHER SMITH  Woburn MA           47 1:21:25.6 6:13
8 ALEX BROWN         Litchfield NH       25 1:21:47.9 6:15
9 PAUL CAVANAUGH     Rye NH              34 1:22:32.1 6:19
10 RANDY DOAK         Brookline MA        27 1:22:39.7 6:19

870 Overall Finishers.



As you can see I was ahead of every split from last year, so that is definitely a positive.

2012 2013
Mile 1 5:38 5:29
Mile 2 5:37 5:29
Mile 3 5:33 5:26
Mile 4 5:42 5:35
Mile 5 5:41 5:34
Mile 6 5:40 5:30
Mile 7 5:33 5:29
Mile 8 5:42 5:33
Mile 9 5:37 5:36
Mile 10 5:55 5:40
Mile 11 5:36 5:29
Mile 12 5:53 5:31
Mile 13 5:39 5:26

Me my mom...

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