A.M. Provo River Half Marathon, 1:12:03, 1st place.
They say mice can play when the cat is away. The cat (Jeff) is in Las Vegas, so the mice got to play.
I figured the time on this course is rather meaningless, plus in the absence of a good pack it would not be good anyway, so I ran more or less tactically, more for place than for time. Plus I had never won a race wearing Crocs, and figured who knows, maybe I'll get a sponsorship from it, that would be rather interesting. Not that I cannot afford a pair of foam shoes for $10 once a month, but they might offer more, like paying to travel, who knows. Even if not, winning a fairly large half marathon in Crocs is a good story in and of itself.
From the start, Walter went with me. I did not have plans to make an effort to drop him until the course flattened out (around 4 miles), but I noticed he struggled on the mini-uphills, and figured it would make the job easier if I turned up the heat there creating a gap, then he would be softened up by the time we got to the flat part. So I managed to open up about a 10 second gap by mile 2, and from that point on it kept increasing.
However, there was much more serious trouble ahead. Around mile 4 Brian Summers appeared out of nowhere. That was disturbing because he had to go pretty fast to catch up. On the positive side he was breathing pretty hard. On the negative side, we were 4 miles into the race and he was still alive.
I let Brian pass me and sat behind him. We were on the trail with the triangle marks. The pace on the downhill according to Curt's marks was a steady 5:07, and I believe it could have well been right. On the trail it fluctuated between 5:20 and 5:40 according to the marks. I did not want it to be 5:40 as it would give whoever was chasing a chance to catch up. So when Brian slowed down I would make a feeble attempt to pass him. Feeble so that I would not waste energy and so he would believe he could hold me off. I noticed he likes to lead. That is OK because I like to draft. But I want the pace fast. So I communicated to him that I wanted the pace to be faster by attempting to pass him.
When we turned the corner to start the climb up the old highway I saw more trouble. Justin Park closing on us. That is trouble because he came out of nowhere as well. Not surprising with our erratic pace, though. I made an effort to pass Brian up on the hill to keep the pace fast a couple of times to get away from Justin. He responded. I was glad he did because if he had not I would have had to run uphill into a headwind alone.
When we got to the end of the hill and turned around, I was quite well rested, about as well rested as I could be after 7.5 miles, and turned up the heat. I was expecting Brian to respond and live to mile 10, and then I hoped to win the battle off fuel knowing that he blew up in a marathon badly a couple of months ago, and would likely be soft after 10 miles. But he did not go, he was too worn out from running uphill covering me from the wind.
In about a mile I gapped Brian by about 20 seconds, and Justin had not caught up to him, so I figured as long as I kept my quarters not slower than 84 (5:36 pace) I would be safe. I tried to motivate myself to run a more honest race and go faster, but it was difficult. I was running sort of scared, but not as scared as I should have been. Sometimes too much knowledge is not good. I knew the limits of my competition, and it was not good for my pace.
I got to the finish without problems. Sarah was kind enough to get up early in the morning in spite of being only a couple of weeks away from giving birth and be there to take a picture. I will post it when I get around to transferring it from the camera.
Brian came it around 1:13:30, Justin was about 10 seconds back, Walter was around 1:14:00. Michelle won the womens with a course record in 1:17:38 (I think). Saw Rob finish, he got 1:19:04 or about. That is a PR in the half for him. Went back and paced Stuart (the lost sheep), and then ran some more miles to make it 20 for the morning.
Update: the picture is here. Note that the clock shows the wrong time, it was started 1 minute before the actual start of the race.
P.M. 2 with Benjamin in 16:47. 0.5 with Jacob, Joseph, and Benjamin. Jacob and I hung back with 4:55, Benjamin and Joseph ran 4:26. Jenny and Julia ran 2 in the AM.