Sunday, October 7, 2007 I ran the Sportshoe Center Maine Half Marathon (13.1 miles). It is the second half I have run. The first was five years ago in St John, Canada. I have been training fairly hard – see https://mainrun.wordpress.com/2007/11/29/2007-training/ – and thought I was good for a nice time.
My three tier goals were 1) be satisfied to run faster than I did in that first half marathon in St. John, Canada (1:44:15). 2) be happy to get a 1:39:59 or better. 3) The final, ultimate, but perhaps slightly out of reach goal is to run faster than 7:30 minutes per mile (1:38:15.)
The couple days before the race were busy. Doreen and I took Friday as a vacation day, and got ready for the annual “Hartley Birthday Bash.” There are many birthdays to celebrate at the end of September and beginning of October: Doreen, Steven, Emma, and Troy. Even Diane, whose birthday is in August, was given a birthday card. Griffin also got a gift, being lucky enough to be under five years old, and gets gifts just because he is so cute. To make things even more entertaining (and tricky to manage gasto-intestinal wise so close to a 13.1 mile race), we did our annual apple cider pressing day.
Everything went well at the birthday/cider pressing party Saturday, and Sunday, Dad and I made it to Portland for the half marathon with time to spare. We did a quick five to ten minute warm up, got in line, and the race started with a startling cannon bang KABOOM!!
I wanted to run 7:30 pace or better right off the start, trying for my aggressive goal of running 7:29 or better miles. I told myself not to be upset if I start slow, though. The first mile was not bad. I was able to run unhampered by slow starters, scooting around a few, and being past by some. It went by in 7:36. A little slow, and to be honest I felt a little anxious about getting the aggressive goal.
I did not want to give up though, so pushed harder in mile two, hoping things would click. This is an out-and-back course, and the first and last two miles are around the “Back Cove.” I ran the marathon (26.2 miles) back in 2003, and remember how horrible it was running the last 15 – 20 minutes of the race looking out over the cove. It was depressing! This time I purposely kept looking out over the water, seeing as far as I could, telling myself “get use to this view. You are going to see it again a little over an hour from now. It ain’t going to look so pretty!”
Mile two went by in 7:21, and I was feeling stronger and better than mile one. Doing the mind game of looking over the water helped. Made me feel I was doing something to prepare for the end of the race. The next few miles were good: mile 3 – 7:32, mile 4 – 7:20, mile 5 – 7:22, and mile 6 – 7:35. I made it to mile six in 44 minutes 45 seconds. I felt like things were going well.
Some how I had shaken off the first couple of mile blues – the feeling that made me worry how well this race was going to go. I felt confident I could run the rest of the race at the same, or better pace. I pushed and ran the next several miles pretty fast (for me): mile 7 – 7:14, mile 8 – 7:29, mile 9 – 7:17, mile 10 – 7:25, and mile 11 – 7:25.
The only part of the race left now was the loop around Back Cove. Running a half marathon is much easier than running a marathon. I felt strong and had a lot of fun finishing this race. I ran very hard, and actually had an “I could have run this thing a lot harder” feeling at the end. Mile 12 was 7:14 and mile 13 was 7:16.
OK, now for a couple questions: First, did I achieve my ultimate goal of running the race at better than 7:29 pace? That would mean I would have to run the whole thing in 1 hour, 38 minutes, and 15 seconds – or less! When I stopped my watch, it read 1:38:19! Bummer – four seconds too slow. That comes out to exactly a 7:30 pace. The time on the course read 1 hour, 38 minutes, and over 30 seconds! No good. However, the chip time in the results (found here http://www.coolrunning.com/results/07/me/Oct7_Sports_set1.shtml) has 1:38:12 for a 7:29.7709 pace! Yes, I am going to say I obtained my aggressive goal – mission accomplished! (just barely)
Now for the second question, how did Dad do? He absolutely killed me this time. I finished in 135th place (of 1,362 runners), 18 out of 40 in my 40 to 45 year old age group. Dad came in an outstanding time of 1:31:08 gun time (6:58 pace), 1:30:04 net time (6:52 pace). That was good for 63rd place, and first of 13 in his age group! All I will say is congratulations Dad – good job! Next time you talk to him, ask him about this race.
I may run the Manchester City Half Marathon Sunday November 4. Not sure though – if not then the next race won’t be until April 2008!
Good running all.
Note – my bib number 1038 was sort of my time 1:38!