Thursday, October 9, 2008

Applefest Half Marathon: Racing for the Pie

Here I am with a slight lead at the start of the Applefest 1/2 Marathon. Photo by
Dave Delay
for the Gate City Striders.

Saturday I competed in the Applefest 1/2 Marathon in Hollis, NH. It is one of my favorite races. I was hoping that it would be my first decent race of the year. My running has been coming along since I started working on resistance stretching the past month. I have been feeling looser and having better workouts but every few days my left sacrum has been jamming up. It forces me to run all wrong and I haven't figured out how to fix it. Unfortunately it jammed up on Thursday of last week. I didn't run on it Thursday or Friday hoping I wouldn't make it worse, but Saturday on race morning it was still tight and hopelessly stuck.

It was a beautiful day for running, however and I hoped it might loosen up in the race. I was in the port-a-john downhill from the start when I heard the National Anthem being played and I had to sprint up the hill to get to the start on time. I did not heed my plan to start slow and when the gun went off I started gliding down the hill and into the lead and had to slow down because I would have passed the lead truck. By the end of the hill the adrenaline wore off and I got into pace and watched the lead runners go by. My hips remained horribly tight and I could not get settled. My muscles were loose however. I ran the first mile in about 5:50, but could not find form going up Wheeler Hill. I almost stopped realising that it was going to be a long day ( a mental challenge of constantly finding a balanced running form rather than a physical day of pushing my body). I hit 3 miles in about 19:00 which was probably faster than my only road 5k of the year at Cigna where I ran a very slow 20:10. I hit 5 miles in about 32:00 which was better than my 5 mile race at Bill Luti where I ran a horrible 34:28, and I hit 7 miles just at 45:00 which was faster than I did for the same distance in Falmouth this year at 48:52. So I ran faster in Hollis than the 3 other road races I have done this year. Granted the weather was perfect in Hollis and I had some downhills in my favor but despite feeling out of alignment I was running better than I had earlier in the year. I kept waiting to die out there and although I slowed down in the hills I ran at the same effort. I finished in 1:28:41 good for 36th place and 2nd in my age group which got me another Mile-High Apple Pie. I had improved slightly from last years time of 1:28:56 but last year was a very hot day.

Overall I am happy with the time and the effort I put into the race. I wish I had been feeling smooth like I have for some workouts lately. The race would have been much more pleasant and a bit faster I am sure!

Here is a photo by Dave Dunham with less than a half-mile to go. Look how twisted my legs are. That is how I felt for most of the race!
In checking out Dave Dunham's site I noticed that he is a fan of The Alarm. Mike Peters and The Alarm are my favorite band so not only is Dunham fast. He knows his music!

Here is Mike Peters of the Alarm singing about overcoming cancer for the second time. If you listen too much to songs like this then you might have a problem at the start of races being too pumped up and taking off way too fast at the gun!

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