Sunday, September 27, 2009

Applefest Half Marathon

The Applefest Half Marathon in Hollis is my favorite New Hampshire race and the Falmouth Road Race is my favorite Massachusetts race. I don't know which I like more, but they are always on my calendar unless I am injured. Yesterday was a glorious day for running the Applefest, unfortunately I wasn't feeling my best. After the 21 mile training run last Saturday, I felt great. The next day I spent 6 1/2 hours in my car getting to and from a U2 concert (mini-review) and didn't get home until 2 am. The good news was that with all that driving and sitting my back did not hurt at all (usually an hour in a car does me in). I was ready for a good week of running and looking forward to Applefest. Then everyone in my family got some type of the cold. I did the best with it and it only slowed me down a bit, but it still lingered. I tried to run it off during the track workout on Wednesday (8 X 600 done between 2:03 and 2:11). I ran them mostly on my own as Dan and Joe were faster, but they didn't finish the workout and I was happiest with my final 2:05 run all by myself.

I was still battling aspect of the cold before race time. I took my first medicine early race morning as I couldn't sleep. If I went by how I felt I ran during the race, I would say I was running well and hard. Unfortunately, the clock said otherwise. I was the first to finish over an hour and 1/2 with a time of 1:30:16. It was my slowest Applefest race ever (results). I did finish second in my age group. I ran much slower than I anticipated and I would attribute that to whatever effect running while not feeling 100% would have on a performance. I still loved being part of the race. There is no better race in all of New Hampshire and the Gate City Striders put on one of the best races in all of New England!

I am seriously thinking about running the Cape Cod Marathon in October. It will be almost 30 years since I first ran the race. Back in 1980 it was held on Otis Air Force Base rather than the roads of Falmouth so it was not as hilly. Here is a certificate I have from the 1980 race, I finished 44th out of 241 with a time of 2:51:48 (the website says there were 311 finishers and that 37 were under 2:50) . Marathons were a bit more competitive back then as you had to run under 2:50 to qualify for Boston. Of course, I did not qualify in this race. I don't remember much about the race, except that there were large packs of runners to run with and I had an awful cough and was hacking away all race! Looking at last year's results, there were 896 finishers with only 7 runners under 2:50.

If I do run the race, I might have a chance to place in the 50-year old division. Last year's top three finished  like this:

1 Christopher Rife 50 Tucson AZ 3:07:56
2 John Shepherd 52 Essex CT 3:11:32
3 Marty Ellowitz 54 Hubbardston MA 3:13:02

I last ran the Cape Cod Marathon in 2006 in 3:09:42 in 50 mph wind gusts and two weeks after running the Bay State Marathon (I was 12 seconds faster at Bay State). In 2005, I ran  3:10:27. Hopefully I can get some more long runs in and stay healthy as I didn't do long runs before either of those two races (except for the marathon 2 weeks before in 2006). The one thing I have learned about running the Cod Cod Marathon (and all marathons) is that you have to take the first miles easy. Don't even get sucked into running fast at the gun. It is a fast first 9 miles. Then when you are going well through the hills, don't give in and "go for it". If you save yourself for the last few miles (after Woods Hole) you will fly by tons of beat up runners as you finish strong!

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