A.M. Raced Painters Half in 1:10:29, third place after Logan Fielding (1:08:57) and Nick McCombs (1:09:00). The course measured 12.91 on my GPS, 12.92 on Logan's and 12.95 on Ted's. Ted's never measures long. So for now we'll call it 12.95, given the fact that the start was about 0.15 further ahead of where Steve Hooper and other St. George guys thought it should have been. Details to follow later.
More details. Around 30 degrees at the start but it kept getting warmer. I called out for Mr. Little Bad Legs to identify himself. He did not hear me. Then Ted noticed his legs and pointed him out to me. About 1 minute into the race I found myself right next to him, we talked, and it was discovered that it was indeed Glen Tucker as Steve suspected. But I think the name Little Bad Legs is now going to stick. I love those 5:30 pace introductions. Incidentally, that is how I met Paul Petersen as well.
We started at a brisk but comfortable pace trading quarters. In addition to myself, Nick, Logan, Dave, Little Bad Legs, and Karl Wilcock, a talented high schooler that needs to run more miles, were in the pack. This was a perfect picture moment - four FRB team members in uniform in the lead pack with police escort.
Karl looked a bit scared, so we did not make him take his quarters. Everybody else did their turn up front religiously. We went through the first mile in 5:35, followed by a 5:31. Then we hit the downhill, and picked it up - 5:19. It flattened out, but Nick pressed the pace, and we ran a 5:24. Somewhere around there we lost Karl. Then Nick put some serious pressure up the little hill, he climbed it as if that hill was not there. This lost Little Bad Legs, and made Dave show some signs of struggle. I started hurting as well, but acted normal in response to pace changes.
Now we were on some rolling hills in the neighborhood, and Nick was pressing the pace relentlessly. 5:25 on the next mile which was uphill. That hurt. Now downhill. We are moving. Next mile in 5:11. Dave fell back a bit, Nick gapped me and Logan. I told Logan to go with Nick if he felt confident he could keep up, otherwise hang around with me for a while and trade quarters so we would not both end up in no man's land. He felt good enough to go with Nick.
As we hit the bridge coming off the downhill and charging hard, the 90 degree turn on an icy surface did wonders. Nick went down then quickly got up like a hockey player, Logan did exactly the same, Dave and I saw it and eased off enough to avoid their fate. Then Dave suggested we should close the gap. I told him it was a bad idea. That was all I had the breath for then, but here is the reason. In a half marathon you should almost never forcefully close the gap. There are a few exceptions - e.g if you think the competitor had just made a move he would not be able to sustain, or if you are approaching a section with strong headwind, or if you are within a mile and a half of the finish. In distances up to 10 K it is all about how bad you can hurt. In a half marathon, it is the opposite. Any pain that is past anaerobic threshold pain makes you run eventually slower, you pay for it.
So Dave and I traded quarters for another mile, then Dave fell back. We hit the Bloomington loop. It did not seem to have one flat spot - you were on a constant roller-coaster. I focused on running steady and naturally. Even though Dave was only a few seconds behind, I felt confident about my position due to the laws of nature. I knew that as long as I hit around 5:30 flat equivalent I was safe. There is something about half-marathons. Things rarely get better between 8 and the finish, and they definitely do not get better if you fall behind.
Hit 10 miles in 54:12 (by GPS, course mile markers were fairly consistently 0.15 short), so 26:59 for 5 miles, was quite happy with that. By that time I was also fairly certain that the course would be short. This made me lose focus a bit. I was not excited about running a fast time any more because I knew it would be about a minute fast. So from then on I was just coasting, just running naturally and not trying to fall asleep. Slowed down to about 5:35 pace once we got back on the trail. I think that section had a mild grade because going the other way the same effort gave me 5:20, and I did not feel I had lost that much steam. Lots of runners coming in the other direction, many of them were cheering. That was nice. However, dodging them was an interesting exercise in eye-leg coordination. I remembered a story my mission companion once told me about how while he worked as an EMT his boss made him drive an ambulance at 90mph on the wrong side of the freeway.
Finally made it to the finish, safe in 3rd place, but Dave made a heroic effort and closed the gap to 9 seconds.
Still had some miles left for the workout, decided to use them wisely. Ran back, paced every blogger I could find. Messed up a couple of times, and mistook two fast blonds for Marcie. She would have beaten them on a good day, but I did not realize she was struggling. So I paced two Marcie-looking runners for a while, and only afterwards realized that they were taller than 5-1! But on the bright side of things they got to see the blog commercial.
Total of 20.25 for the run.
P.M. 1.1 with Jenny and Julia in 11:09, then 2.2 with Benjamin in 17:15 in St. George on the 0.55 loop near Steve's house.