Utah Valley Half-Marathon pacing Benjamin - 1:15:21, 11th overall, 1st master, $150. Yes, Benjamin ran fast enough today to allow me to win the masters while staying with him the entire race. This was my first race as a master if you do not count the ward "fun run" a week ago.
I was originally planning to run the marathon, but two days ago felt that I should run the half with my 14-year-old son Benjamin. I see now that this was an inspired decision. I know he needed me there. The Lord also gave me a sign of sorts - the stars aligned and with the help of my advanced chronological but not yet quite as advanced biological age, a generous prize structure, and the absence of Iain Hunter, I was able to win $150. Even though we are quite well-off financially nowadays, cash prizes still excite me. It is rare that a cash prize goes unclaimed by a decent competitor. So it does feel good to be the competitor that claimed the prize.
Race account mile by mile.
1 - 5:39 - Downhill. Lots of runners still around, I am recognizing Steve Anderson and Steve Ashbaker. Benjamin is faithfully on my tail with the absolute minimal gap, just like I have taught him. I listened to him, his breathing sounded good. The split was 11 seconds faster than planned, but I sensed that Benjamin's effort was maybe slightly higher that ideal, but not 11 seconds. So I eased the effort maybe by 2 seconds per mile, and continued.
2 - 11:18 (5:39) - Lesser downhill. Steve Anderson pulled ahead, Steve Ashbaker is with us. I was surprised that we repeated 5:39 with what felt like an easier effort and what looked like a lesser downhill. Probed Benjamin's breathing - it sounded like he was handling the pace fine, so I maintained the effort.
3 - 17:11 (5:53) The Heartbreak Hill of the UVM. Was pleased with the split on the climb and Benjamin's response to it. We dropped Steve Ashbaker and passed Steve Anderson. After that we were in no man's land the rest of the race, but that was what it took to run 1:15 today. Had I gone for the marathon and left Benjamin to fend for himself, he probably would not have had the confidence to break away at this point. Contrary to what I had supposed, there would have been nobody to run with him.
4 - 22:57 (5:46) The end of the UVM Heartbreak Hill followed by a steep decent. Benjamin groaned a couple of times, but it sounded positive - meaning "I am mentally struggling, I have the fear of having to run another 9 miles like this now that I've run 4 and I am quite tired but I am in control of it, I now what it takes to win against it". We passed a water station, and I established the ritual that I would repeat at all water stations later on grabbing a cup, turning around and dumping it all on Benjamin.
5 - 28:30 (5:33) We hit some nice downhill. Benjamin is still doing well.
6 - 34:10 (5:40) Flatter, also I may have eased off a little sensing that Benjamin might be about to start struggling. I am figuring our 10 K split was around 35:20, which is a PR for Benjamin, and is actually my masters PR as well.
7 - 39:50 (5:40). Nice slight downhill grade. I observed that we had 39:12 split at the 20 mile mark of the the UVM, which means about 10 K to go.
8 - missed the split. Benjamin is hanging in there, groaning more, but maintaining contact.
9 - 51:14 - 11:24 for two miles, 5:42 average. Dave Taylor joined us here for a 4 mile tempo at the end of his 16 mile run.
10 - 57:07 (5:53) - 10 mile PR for Benjamin. We did the last 5 K in 17:55. Benjamin is now in the unchartered territory. He's never run more than 10 miles hard. He worried about being there. I did not as much - I know if someone is holding pace through the first 10 he does not crash too bad in the last 3 in the half. If you are going to crash after 10, there is usually some pace bleeding after 6.
11 - 1:03:08 (6:01) - uphill mile. Benjamin survived it with our encouragement. Now the time to shift gears in the last two miles and see what we can get.
12 - 1:07:57 (5:49) - gentle decent to the finish. I shifted gears mildly to recover from the uphill mile, and Benjamin responded.
13 - 1:14:44 (5:47) - Benjamin took the initiative and gave it a courageous push in the first half of this mile and I thought I was going to get dropped in the last quarter for a minute or two. But then he ran out of juice and I was in control of the pace again.
13.1 - 1:15:20 on my watch, 1:15:21 officially. The kick in 36 seconds - 5:30 pace. We finished together side by side, but the official timing was messed up - Benjamin ended up with something really odd - 1:15:26 chip time, 1:15:29 gun time - it should have been 1:15:21/1:15:21 - I wrote to the timing company about it and hopefully they will fix it.
In the afternoon Joseph, Jacob, and Jenny ran in the track meet. I managed to look up the start time in the wrong place, and we got there late. Nevertheless, the meet officials were nice enough to organize a special 800 meter heat just for us at the end of the meet. Jenny won the battle against the 86F heat and the wind and qualified for the meet in Eugene with 3:01.66. Joseph and Jacob were still feeling the effects of the bug they picked up and struggled - Joseph ran 3:18, Jacob 3:25. Jenny's splits by 200 were 41, 47, 47, 46. I was happy with that - she courageously pushed from the gun and then kept pushing all the way. Now all of our children 6 years and older (Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, and Jacob) have the qualifying mark. Benjamin will run 3000 with the goal of setting the Utah state record in the 13-14 year old division, everybody else is running 800 trying to break 3:00 (Jenny, Julia, Joseph) or get to is as close as possible (Jacob).