Yesterday morning I got up at 5:30, walked the dogs, gathered the few things I had not prepared the night before, and headed out. I had about a 35 minute drive to the starting line at the beginning of the Dismal Swamp Canal Trail – and I didn’t want to be late. This race allowed pickup of packets / shirts / etc. at race day (for me this is a wonderful thing, because the closest organized races are at least as far away as Virginia, and I hate having to either make two trips up there in two days, or paying for a hotel every time I want to run. This way I was able to be there on time, get my stuff, and have some time to prepare mentally for the beginning of the race after I was there.
There were about 200 runners, spread across the 9.11 mile run, the 5k and the “cub” run for the kids. There were 116 runners in the 9.11 mile run that I participated in. I came in 47th. That said, the spread between myself and the upper groups was a lot smaller than usual. I finished with a time of 1:27:47 – my average pace was 9:39. My personal goal for this race was to finish in 1:30 so I cracked that, and felt good all the way through.
One thing about races – I started in a pack and felt as if I was pretty much running where I was comfortable. This is where the Garmin 310x comes into play. We were running in the 8:45 per mile range. While I can do that in a 5K now I think, I am unlikely to maintain it through a longer race. I knew I had to slow down somehow, and shortly it all spread out a bit. I moved to the outer edge of the trail and slipped into my more comfortable 9:15-9:30 range.
Those of you who read my somewhat longer posts on my way to my first 1/2 Marathon, on this same trail, will remember that I ran that race “with the butterflies” – Tiger Swallowtails, and Black Swallowtails hovered around me, flickered out over the patch, and generally kept me smiling through that first long race. This time out – there was a single large butterfly. I saw him at about the 8.5 mile point. It was a big Black Swallowtail that flitted out, waved its wings at me, and flew on off, like it was saying “you got this” – I ran the last 1.1 miles at a 6:40 pace… (according to the watch) so there was gas in the tank.
This race was run by http://www.mettleevents.com/ and was very well supported. There weren’t a lot of water stops, but it’s not that long a race, and those that were there were well stocked, well manned, and well policed. There was pizza, beer, ice water and the standard bananas, as well as other fare available at the few sponsor booths. Not a huge race, but a fun one, and one I will remember because it’s an indicator that the unofficial strategy is working. I am able to maintain the pace I need (first) for a 2: hour 1/2 marathon for longer, and longer runs. I can also now run a 1/2 marathon quickly ehough that if I walk a lot of the second half of a full marathon, I’ll make it under the time limit (runner, not a racer).
The Garmin 310x synced and worked great, while last race I had the Forerunner 110 and it was absolutely unable to get a sattelite fix. Mapmyrun and the gps also managed to stay in sync…the time from Chronotrack and my watch were very close…. Great reace, and I will definitely run it again. Come on out and join me!