Race: Applefest Half Marathon
Location: Hollis, NH
Goal Time: 1:30:00
Actual Time: 1:34:01
O' zapft is! - (It's tapped) - the traditional beginning of Oktoberfest.
And thus without the full fanfare of 12 Guns like Munich, the first (and probably only) Halftoberfest is launched! Part one of my month-long quest to complete 4 half marathons and a full begins.
The first race is a classic Southern New Hampshire hilly challenge. Much like Lake Winnie, Great Bay or Derry, the course if fraught with steep downhills, short steep uphills and long windy uphills. It is not the best PR course in New England. Of course, regardless of John Wichers' warnings, it didn't stop me from trying.
In the morning it looked like it might be one of those excellent autumn days for running. By 10 am, at the startline we realized it was not. Wendy and I stood sweating awaiting for the gun to go - temperatures were at around 70 for the start and probably 75 by the finish. Between the hills and the heat I was beginning to question my racing this as my first goal of Halftoberfest. But, it did have a Clydesdale category, so I went racing for apples.
Fuji: Start - 5kFuji apples, a Japanese hybrid of Red Delicious and Virginia Gennets, are easily my favorite apple. Sweet and large with a long shelf life. With their crispy yet refreshing meat, they are so easy to eat.
The first three miles of the half were just like that. Even the hill between mile 1 and 2 wasn't that bad since it was so early in the race. I sailed through the first little loop at 6:30 miles (realizing this was too fast in general but okay for the downhill). It was at the top of the hill that I noticed another guy probably over 190 who was running well. Uh,oh this is my challenger in the Clydesdale...The loop passed the start finish again so we got the cheers of the crowd a second time.
Baldwin: 5k - 10kBaldwin apples date from the 18th Century and the variety is a New England original. It was found, other than developed, by a guy named Baldwin in Wilmington, MA. At first bite they are sweet. Yet, then the juice slips down your chin and then you are hit with wee bit of tart....
Miles 3-6 had a reasonably tolerable long hill, followed by a downhill. Yet this downhill was far too steep to be a "clydesdale hill." (The long reasonably flat downhill where the extra momentum of the weight and Newton's Apples are helpful.) Instead I lost any advantage I might have had over others. I couldn't even break away from my Clydesdale challenger on the hill.
Gala: 10k - 15kDeveloped in the 1970s in New Zealand, I always think of Galas as "faux Fujis." They aren't quite as sweet and aren't quite as crunchy as the Japanese hybrid. If you find fujis a bit too sweet, you'll probably love Galas. They still are what I buy if there are no fujis and the Golden Delicious aren't available.
At the end of the steep non-clydesdale hill at mile six the course is in the Nashua River valley with only little bumps and lumps. It was not as flat as I thought it was going to be; so I was not able to break the elastic of the other Clyde. I opened a bit of a lead, but realized that the next 3 were going to be a challenge for me...
Granny Smith: 15k - 20kGranny Smith's are my number 2 LEAST favorite apple ever (mealy, waxy Red Delicious are number one). Granny Smith are tart to sour, ubiquitous and worst of all occasionally fall into the Golden Delicious/Ginger Gold bins and a week later trick you into eating them! Yet, once you've already bitten into them you have to finish them. (To be fair, they are still apples... they are still high up in the hierarchy of delicious things to eat...)
Yep that's how miles 9 - 12 were. There is a long series of mild-steep hills from 8.5 to 10.5. I knew they were coming and I knew I would have to fight through them. But coming up to it I also knew I had to be in the lead over the other clyde at the top of the next hill at 12.5 miles. But I didn't want to destroy myself over either of them since I did have the BAA Half Marathon the next day. I kept a good time over the first series, with the idea that if the other clyde caught me, I'd go with him. The second hill of the granny smith section (which is also the hill from mile 1 - 2) was the one that was make or break. I knew I would be okay if the worst thing I did was let Clyde number 2 catch up and not pass me.
Ginger Gold: 20k - finish
Ginger Gold is an accidental variety of the strong stout Newton Pippin and the Golden Delicious. The pippin takes away the mealiness but keeps the golden's sweetness. It is my second favorite apple.
The other Clyde did catch me at the top of the 20k hill. We talked for a bit and realized we were each other's competition. Fortunately for me 20k to the finish is largely a clydesdale down hill past the Larmouth's house and then a left hander at 13 miles into the High School to the finish. I was able to run the last 1.1 as a progression sprint. I sprinted away from the Clyde and by another woman who had passed me on the uphill. At the left hander I looked over the marshy field and saw I had lost the other clyde.
I pulled in for a respectable 1:34:01. On the hot day and hilly course, I'll take it.
It turned out I was actually racing for 3rd in the Clydesdales not first. For which I won a medal and an apple pie. As we were about to leave the awards ceremony we heard Wendy's name called (she had just left). So, John and I went to get her medal and pie for third place in her age group. As we were walking away again, "and in third place in Male's 35-39, Jesse Morrow"). That meant I got two medals and DOUBLE PIE!
- Wendy took third in her age group
- Urvi did better than she expected in her pre-marathon tune up
- Julie Dragon took third in the Filly's category.
Tino Pai (Tino Pie?)