Monday, October 10, 2011

Complete the Sweep: Harwich Half Marathon (10/2/11)

Complete set of Finisher and Division winner medals from this year's Cape Cod Trilogy!

Race: Harwich Half Marathon
Location: Harwich, MA
Distance: 13.1 Miles
Goal Time: 1:36:00
Actual Time: 1:37:53 (1st in the Clydesdales)

It’s not often that you know exactly where the racing part of you ends. But it was at 8.82 miles. I took a step with my left leg and said to myself: racing’s over…time to run in easy. And I had the presence of mind to look at my GPS watch – 8.82 miles; 1:04:something. Alright, 4.3 miles in 35 minutes (cakewalk).


After the Hyannis Half Marathon, I made it a goal of mine to sweep the Cape Cod Half Marathon Trilogy this year. In February, I won Hyannis; in May, I won the Johnny Kelley; and last week…

I went into Harwich with one goal: just win the 211 lb+ Clydesdales. This wouldn’t require a PR but still I might was well try.

I did well sticking with Kerry at 7:15/miles for the first 4.5 miles before I had to take a short break in a batch of woods. (Kerry’s husband, Jon, later asked me if I could have stuck the whole race – probably not, but at least I think for 8.5-8.82 miles.)

I then spent mile 6 running too fast to try to catch up with Kerry again. But with her in my sight and knowing that she was doing 7:15/mile, I figured I was in good shape.

In what I think of as the Horse Latitudes of a Half Marathon, miles 7-10 where you are more than half way but still not really close to done, I kept a close eye on who was passing me to make sure that nobody near my weight class could get any advantage.

Around 10.25 miles I passed a group of high school kids throwing the football around. I had one of them toss me a pass, which I dropped (immediately reminding me: “if you could catch you’d have played offense”) and had to chase across the street before throwing it back. I probably lost several seconds here.

Right after the football incident was the Water Tower Hill that took us up to Mile 11. Here I was not accelerating but it began what even the second time is an odd thing for me. I spent the next two miles keeping my pace at around 7:40 or so and steadily passing people. (In the past I would be barely hanging on with people blowing by me). I think I am both in better shape AND a better racer.

I made the down hill turn at around 12.85 miles to see my teammates, Jon and Robert cheering me to gun it – which I did. The last quarter mile might have been my fastest as I (“looking like a linebacker running back a fumble” per Robert) rumblin’ stumblin’ bumblin’ to actually only miss my PR by 10 seconds. Considering my stop in the fifth mile, the dropped pass and the virtual resignation at 8.82 that I wasn’t going to do it, I did fantastic.


Sure enough, at the Awards ceremony, as Jon and Kerry taking the 40-49 and Robert taking the 50-59, I won the 211+ lb Clydesdales! Clean sweep of the Trilogy!

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