This was the result that wasn’t supposed to happen. The Sunday before this race, I’d punctured my foot and couldn’t run for a few days. In fact, the day after the race – a full 8 days after the injury – I’m still really sore. I didn’t sleep well for a few days before the race. My eating has been not good. The night before, I’d had the opportunity to join some lifelong friends after a long, cold pandemic to watch a classic of our generation outside on a projection screen. This was wonderful, but not necessarily the battery recharging one would normally recommend. End result? Two half marathons this year, both in my Top 3 at the time. I’ve run this race 3 times, the last two are in my current Top 3.
Of course I don’t know what happened to my bib – these were mailed out several weeks beforehand, and in the chaos of what has become my day to day, it likely got thrown away in my most recent Purge. Because of this, I needed to get to the race that much earlier to square away that issue. And of course, Westport MA is about 90-minutes away and requires leaving the state, crossing Rhode Island and re-entering Massachusetts. That 8 AM start quickly gets pushed back by commuting time and administrivia when you have to change your bib-number (Orignally 67, New 933).
That squared away, I was able to get a warm-up mile in around the parking lot. This race is normally held in May, but was pushed out a month in hopes that COVID restrictions would be lifted – which they thankfully were – but that had the consequence of messing with beach traffic as well.
The last time this race was run, 2019, I had a pretty good race. It was a cool day, I ran well, I felt good. I set a personal best that day. This time it was not a cool day, I don’t think I ran particularly well, I was in considerable pain, and I set a personal record. Go figure. I actually walked a bit near the end because I was losing my stuff and I needed to keep it together.
As I read the post from that 2019 race, I recalled having the same conversations this time at almost the same places albeit with a different tone. “Okay, only about 8 miles to go…” was more like how much more time do I have to do this. My negative internal dialog was really coming out full bore on me. I cranked up the Trent Reznor/Ministry “Supernaut” remake on my playlist and struggled on.
This time, my 8-min miles came at miles 9 and 10 – although I just missed at miles 6 and 8 with 7:59. I see I struggled at mile 6, 9 and 10 in 2019 as well – actually I ran mile 9 3-seconds faster that year than this, but my 2 8-min miles this year were fewer and faster than the 3 I had then.
So those 4 miles were still fast for the short, barrel shaped guy writing this post, but the rest of the miles really were faster than I’d have imagined I’d be. One friend suggested that the tetanus shot I’d received Monday (after puncturing my foot) should be investigated as a performance enhancing drug. My overall pace was something like 7:50. On my best day running, I don’t run at 7:50 and not for 13-miles. Last years pacing was more consistent, but not as fast. This year was faster, but with a lot more variability. Perhaps an effect of training (or lack thereof), I have a good base, but I haven’t been running long nearly as much as I need to.
I’m sore today, my foot hurts, but I feel good that the race was well run.
Gun Time: 1:42:31
Chip Time: 1:42:27
Chip Pace: 7:50
Overall Place: 70 of 563
Gender Rank: 53 of 241
Age Group Rank: 8/44
2021: Horseneck Half Marathon 1:42:27
2020: New England Half Marathon 1:42:52
2019: Horseneck Half Marathon 1:43:32
2021: Providence Half Marathon 1:43:53
2019: 42nd New Bedford Half Marathon: 1:45:58
2019: 13th Wicked Half Marathon 1:48:23
2018: 41st New Bedford Half Marathon: 1:48:57
2017: Worcester Half Marathon: 1:51:56
2018: Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon 1:54:11
2018: Clearwater Half Marathon: 1:56:32
2018: Horseneck Half Marathon: 1:57:29
2017: Cambridge Half Marathon: 1:57:38
2019: John & Jessie Kelley-Ocean Beach Half Marathon: 1:58:47
2016: Black Goose Half Marathon: 2:00:48
2018: Independence Rhode Race: 2:06:32
2017: Upton State Forest Half Marathon (Trail): 2:18:01.9
2019: Wallum Lake Half Marathon (Trail):2:38:01.1