2012-08-05 - Riley's Rumble Half Marathon

~13.1 miles @ ~9.2 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/running/Rileys_Rumble_2012_z.jpgCurse you, GPS! With about four miles to go it's clear that I might finish the Riley's Rumble half marathon in under two hours — if instead of slacking off I can manage to run hard the rest of the way, challenge the hills, ignore the humidity, and gut it out. Every few minutes I check time and mileage again, and every time I'm right on the edge. The Garmin GPS trackfile shows splits descending from ~10 min/mi in the middle of the race down to 9, then 8.5, followed by the long hill at 9.5, mile 13 at 8.3, and sprinting the final flat fraction at ~7.3 min/mi. Cross the timing mat with the clock reading 2:00:10, but starting behind the line makes the official chip time 1:59:44 — 16 seconds to spare. Whew!

Matt Bevan and Tom Young run with me for the first few miles, and we entertain each other with what passes for witty banter. Ken Swab and Barry Smith taunt me before the race. Rebecca Rosenberg volunteers at Don Libes's turnaround aid station and offers a welcome ice pop. It tastes like an odd flavor — tangerine? apricot? — or perhaps that's a delusion of my senses. At the next aid I take some ice chips and hold them in my hands to cool down. There's no Cave of Pain today, but maybe I do glimpse a gully of discomfort.

Official result: 160th place out of 482 finishers, 129th of 290 males, 8th of 26 in the 55-59 year male cohort.

Compared with the prior three years:
2:10:34 - 2011-08-07 - Riley's Rumble Half Marathon 2011 (meltdown)
1:57:33 - 2010-07-25 - Riley's Rumble (race declared a "fun run" due to excessive heat and humidity)
1:55:25 - 2009-07-26 - Riley's Rumble Half Marathon (unofficial new course)

(photo by Mark Schadly |

^z - 2012-08-22