So what did I do last week? I did no training. Why? Didn't feel like it. Couldn't fit it in. Okay. I did go for 20 minutes Thursday night in the hotel parking garage.
So what would you expect then from my half marathon effort? Maybe just a respectable training run time to support the marathon training plan? HA!
Well I PRed again. This is getting to be routine this year. What is bizarre is that I PRed by almost 12 minutes. Old PR 2:02.17. New PR 1:50.24. Unbelievable.
I'll write more later because I have to get to an Army-Navy Game viewing party.
P.S. The beer garden afterwards was well worth the effort. I believe I was among the few who closed it down.
. . . . . . .
Okay. Army's defense stunk today. Enough about that until Billy J. weighs in.
I wandered around the start area about 45 minutes prior to the race seeing many acquaintances and friends. In fact, before the day was done, I saw Jack, Chris, Tim, Mark and Brett from my Sunday running group. Lots of good socializing in the chilly morning air. I wore my Army warm up to stay toasty.
I jogged back to my car to strip down to what I'd race in. I chose just a long sleeve shirt which would have been better sleeveless by the end of the race. I jogged/walked back to the start and thought, with 4 minutes to go, I should go. The port-a-potties, amazingly, had short lines. In a minute I was in, and right after I came out and moseyed over to the back of the start area a horn went off. At first I thought it was wheelchairs but, no, it was the real deal.
I fell in and it took a minute to reach the timing mat.
The first mile around the iconic lake and fountain was slow and heavy with slow runner traffic. I didn't make any effort to weave or pass until it was clear for me. The second mile was a little looser and I passed a lot of people and acquaintances. As M2 approached there was a U.S. Marine out for a 13.1 mile rucksack run in full battle dress uniform and 35 pounds on his back. Hoo-ahh. In M3 I came up on Mark and Brett, the 30-something Marine Corp Marathoners I met last weekend. As I passed, Brett asked me why I wouldn't slow a little to chat like last Sunday. I thought of the Days of Thunder line and told him, "'Cuz we're racin'."
So I picked up the pace and the fourth mile zoomed by. When I passed the unattended mile marker I said to my neighbor after looking at my watch, "That was a short mile or I'm going too fast." I go with B. Mile 5 was the second half of a long two mile boring road that crossed many an intersection with traffic backed up and few spectators. The FoxSports water stop was a highlight. I took three swigs of Gatorade at each of the water stops in the first half of the race. At M6 Bruce Springsteen was playing Born to Run out of the back of his convertible. I liked that. In fact Bruce reappeared to play a same song encore at Mile 9 too.
As I reviewed my splits in the seventh mile I was thinking this was doing wonders for my overall time after the slow start. Mile 7 came up on me so quickly, I was questioning myself about what I had been doing for the last eight minutes because it was a blur. Nothing was really hurting although my left calf started to whisper. I had a Gu and then a voice behind me asked if I could feel it yet. Whatever "it" was I wasn't going to admit to anything. It was Mark who had just finished a 7:56 mile. I told him I'd just done an 8:20 mile and the guy I was passing said, "What are you doing way back here? I'm going to die if I'm running 8:20s." I told him I had a minute late start and he was good with that. I ran with Mark through Ms8&9, clocking fast paced miles. At the M9 waterstop where an enthusiastic law firm was playing it up like Margaritaville I slowed for more Gatorade. I kept up with Mark for 20 yards then stopped when it went up my nose. That was the last I saw of Mark. He cruised on.
Starting at the M9 marker the roads turn to brick - old lumpy pavers - through an oak lined upscale neighborhood I used to live in 15 years ago. I remember starting to fade here last year. It must have been the one and only "hill," which was no trouble this year. I was still clicking away and passing people constantly. M11 was more of the same although there was a brass pep band out to play for us. They were good. M12 took us off the bricks finally and heading back downtown. My calves were starting to yack but I ignored them. The last full mile back around the lake and fountain was flat, paved and lined with people. I just kicked it in trying to not be passed myself by those Johnny Come Up On You Lasties. I sprinted the last stretch towards the finish line, tucking my shirt in and smiling for the cameras (so they'd see my number). I finished and grabbed a water, my medal and bent over briefly to catch my breath. Ta da. I'd PRed.
The rest was all about bananas, water, a dry shirt, beer, beer, beer, beer and lots of chatting with beer buddies. It was a beautiful sunny morning and I couldn't have felt any better.
Well now my calves could feel better but they have a hot bath in store for them tonight.
M .1 0:48