A cool Sunday morning with temps in the lower 70's brings a new half-marathon PB on a hilly course. Kind comrade Barry Smith drives me to the race and back; we find a 7-11 on the way home and I insist on getting him coffee and a chocolate milk. Before today's race I suck down an energy gel, and during it I take two more, at the 40 and 80 minute marks. Rebecca Rosenberg is distributing electrolyte-ice-pops at the mile 8.5 aid station, and one of them helps too. Speedy Albino Castro, whom I've met in recent months at the Mi Rancho restaurant in downtown Silver Spring where I often pick up Tex-Mex carryout, gets cheers whenever I see him during out-and-back segments of the course. Friendly Adeline Ntam, Ken Swab, and Emaad Burki are also running today.
Ken introduces me to his softball teammate Meghan Walsh, a 24-year-old who has only run one half-marathon before and never longer. We chat before and during the early race. Meghan is from Boston and has a great accent; she is looking forward to the Marine Corps Marathon this October. I offer thoughts on training, injury avoidance, optimal pacing, etc. After a too-fast-for-me first four miles, during which I take the lead on downhills and am passed again on the climbs, she pulls ahead for the rest of the journey and finishes ~45 seconds in front. Brava!
The official results show me in 115th place overall, 95 of 285 males, 4th of 16 in the 60-64 male age group, at 1:52:56 gun time and 1:52:33 chip time. Runkeeper agrees generally with the Garmin GPS, which estimates rough mile splits of 8:10 + 8:09 + 8:17 + 8:09 + 8:51 + 8:38 + 8:27 + 9:14 + 8:51 + 8:12 + 7:58 + 9:12 + 8:12 and a slow final fraction when I fail to stop the watch in a timely fashion. (Runkeeper says ~8 min/mi on that last bit.)
Compared with the prior four years:
^z - 2013-08-16