Sunday, September 09, 2007

Buckeye Half Marathon

This race officially marked the end of the summer races and the beginning of the fall races. With the Akron Marathon just around the corner, I needed to get a benchmark of how the summer training went for me. This race is a great chance to do that. The last and only time I ran the Buckeye Half was in 2004, so I was pretty sure I was going to beat my time then, but I also wanted to PR at the half all together.

The morning started off like most races. I tried to pay attention to make sure I did everything as I would before a marathon. These last few hours before races have really hit me later in the day. So I wasn’t going to relive any dumb moves I have made before. Well, two or three times before. Not a quick study sometimes.

I got down to the race and began to warm up. Once I got back to the start line I began to see folks and say hello and good luck. One of the folks I saw was Mike George who I saw last week at the Labor of Love 5 miler in Akron. I made my way to the 1:35 and 1:40 pace area. I had been in a bit of a quandary all week. Do I go out with the 1:35 and hold it or 1:40 and push it later in the race. So I just decided to stand there at the 1:37ish area (I just made that up) and hung out.

Next thing I know, there is Nick and Susan from the VR Tuesday Track workouts. First funny part, we were all wearing our red sleeveless VR shirts. (They must have gotten the memo!) They were also trying to figure out what to do exactly. So we decided to chase the 1:35ers and see what happens. Seemed like a good plan to me. (Note #1: these two individuals not only played an important role in today’s race, but also at Akron in a few weeks)

In a short bit we were off. The three of us locked into a great pace, low 7:20s and feeling great. We noticed pretty quickly that the 1:35ers we MOVING. Not sure what was going on up there, but there they went. Good thing we did go out with them. So the three of us stayed the pace and kept chugging along.

Then the rain started.

At first it was a nice mist. Then the drops got bigger. And bigger. And even bigger. Then it let loose. We still managed to keep our pace even though we were getting drentched. This is where we really started to pass some folks. It was about then I decided it was time for a gel, an endurolyte, and my ipod. But, when I reached back, the gel was there…ipod was there…hmmm…no endurolytes. In the rain, they had began to dissolve. (Note #2: Endurolytes dissolving is going to come back to haunt me in an upcoming post about Akron…stay tuned.)

So I shot down the gel, and I began hearing Stronger by Kayne West on the ipod. Things were feeling kinda rough now. I had remembered I was feeling a bit tired this week, but at mile 8, it was starting to become more evident. We rounded the corner on route 303 which is the hilly part of the run. This is where Susan shot up the hill with Nick. I held my pace deciding to go up the hill easy and hit the downhill part just after. Well I did do the hills easy, but as I hit the downhill, I was waiting for me to recover. And Waited. Waited…hmmmm. I took the hill down easy, too, but still was not feeling it. Susan and Nick were still pulling ahead. I was getting a bit worried, but then finally, once I hit the flat part was able to pick the pace back up and passed a few people. About then I passed Vince and Mailman Mike who waived and gave me a thumbs up. That helped. I was able to push things a bit again. I was able to head in with Al, another Track workout person (man, they are everywhere today) and finished. 1:39:30 on the clock, which is an average pace of 7:36. Good for a PR by 2 minutes placing me 6th of 24 in my age group and 64 overall out of 382 finishers.

Next up…AK-ROWDY-ROWDY…Akron Marathon….