Saturday, April 7, 2012

Known Unknowns: Return to Great Bay (4/7/12)

Race: Great Bay Half Marathon
Location: Newmarket, New Hampshire
Goal Time: 1:28:25
Actual Time: 1:27:21

Trivia Question #1
Who was the oldest Secretary of Defense?

Trivia Question #2
Who was the youngest Secretary of Defense?

Oddly the answer to both these Questions is Donald Rumsfeld. You may ask yourself: "Self, what does Donald Rumsfeld have to do with a half marathon in New Hampshire." The short answer - absolutely nothing; the longer answer - absolutely nothing but bear with me.

Two years ago Felix and I ran this race. I ran what was my second and my worst Half Marathon.

This is why I jumped at the chance to run the race again. To both redeem myself and to try it knowing the course.

What did Donald Rumsfeld say?

"[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know."

Running the course again was great for the known knowns. I knew that I knew the course. I knew the rollers from 3-6; the HUGE hill at 6.5; the annoying bitchy hill at 12.5.

Of course there were the unknown unknowns. Like I forgot about the tough tough hill going up to mile 8. As I crossed 8 I saw I was at 55 minutes (and some seconds between 0 and 60).

Then there are the known unknowns. These are the parts of racing that make racing fun. (They are the parts of life that make life fun). We don't know how we or others are going to react or feel on any given day.

At mile 8, after I had climbed up the beast of a hill that was an unknown unknown, I started to put the hammer down. I slowly built speed over the last 5 miles (admitedly less hilly miles). Only one person passed me in that stretch. As I sprinted to the line, I caught both the only person who passed me and the first female finisher.

My 1:27:21 was 16 minutes faster than I ran the same course 2 years ago. And it was a new Personal Record for me - beating my time at Hyannis by over two minutes.

Now The Great Bay Half Marathon, like Rumsfeld being both the oldest and the youngest Secretary of Defense, is my fastest and my slowest half marathon. (I told you to bear with me.)

Shoutouts -

Chris Smith finished in 8th overall and 3rd in his age group.

Urvi finished 13 miles for the first time since she dropped out of the Chicago Marathon last October.

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