Third year here in a row. Jody doing the Olympic distance triathlon. I am not a fan of the open road course with bikes and cars. Also slanty and rough in places pavement. The worst part is the heat but that will not be an issue this time. It is cloudy and much cooler than usual. Even a little mist and light rain at times.
People come here for the triathlon races. The running events (10K and half marathon) are a bit of an afterthought. Last year the run races started a little late as they were waiting for all the bikers to get on course. I expect the same today and do not go near the start line until about ten minutes before the scheduled start. The 300 or so runners are all being told to stay in a little patch on the side of the road as the bikers are still coming through. The RD says that we will start on time however. I go up to the main road to get in a little warm up. When I get back, the RD is having all the runners cross the street at once and line up in front of the narrow chip mat. I end up about midway in the crowd and it will take me almost 20 seconds to get to the mat when the race starts.
Start - Super crowded and slow in the hotel parking lot. Stay relaxed and try to not do anything drastic as we turn left and then right and up the hill out of the lot. Right turn onto the road, all in the first two tenths of a mile. Now on the road I can pass a whole bunch of people and get even with those who are running about the pace I want to be at.
Mile 1 - 7:44 and now accelerating some.
Mile 2- Average pace at 7:40. On the down hills I get it down to 7:36 and let it go back up on the uphills. I think that my PR pace is 7:40, it will be interesting to see if I can hold it. At times it seems easy, at other times it is more laborious.
Mile 6 - Pleasant running with the other racers. I have passed a few and also been passed, but now that the 10K runners have turned around I am mostly running alone. The kids at the aid stations are great. Yelling out if they have water or gatorade.
Mile 6.5 - Steepish uphill to the turn around. I pass a bicyclist just before the turnaround cone. Now I get to run downhill, with the wind at by back, though it is gentle. Tammy Herzog sighting. She tells me that I am in either 19th or 20th place. She is having a good race and will go on for a sub 2 hour time. I just try to hold the pace.
Mile 8 - Gradually catch one kid who is having tons of fun, hooting and hollering at everything. We encourage the stragglers still heading out.
Mile 9 - One woman has passed me, but now I see that two guys are getting closer. At the aid station they both start walking. I am able to pass them both.
Mile 10 - Merge with the hordes triathlete runners and now I will not know if someone passing me is in my race or a triathlete, unless I think to look for a number on their leg. Mostly though I am focused on my own thing. It is getting harder, but I am still at 7:40 pace. The math in my head does not quite add up though and at the mile marker I see that my GPS is reading long. My actual pace is a little slower than what the watch is reading, if that mile marker is in the right spot. If the GPS is right and if I am able to have a strong finish, I could actually PR. But if the mile marker is right, I will not PR, though it will still be a very decent finish time.
Mile 10.5 - Jody on the bike part of her course, yells to me as she whizzes by.
Mile 11 - Uphill and things start to fall apart. Trying hard but I am slowing.
Mile 12 - Pass by Jody who is at mile 1 of the running part of her race. The watch says that I am at 7:42 overall pace, but after seeing the last mile markers I know that the GPS is in fact off, or that the course is a little long. I will maintain this pace, up that last hill and down to the finish, but my official overall pace will be recorded at 7:47/mile. I try very hard to get a time under 1:42, but come up a few seconds shy. Still more than five minutes faster than last year and one of my top half marathon times.
I placed third in my age group. The past two years we all got finishers medals and I got a nice glass mug for being and age group winner. This year there were no age group awards for the runners as "we gave you medals" we were told. Somewhat beat up after this race but I should be ready to go again next weekend.
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