Wednesday, March 23, 2016

For the Want of A Chip Time: Mark Duggan's New Bedford Half Marathon (3/20/16)

Pedals and Paddles Worldwide presents its first guest blogger.  While Global Cyclist was running his half marathon in NYC, Mark Duggan ~ with a goal of running at least a half marathon every month in 2016 ~ joined most of the rest of the Somerville Road Runners for the annual trip to New Bedford Half Marathon. His story is below:

We couldn't find any pics of Mark from the race, so here are two bananas who ran
photo by Paul Hammond
Those of you who pay attention these things will notice that my finishing time at New Bedford today was 1:57:59 (1).

This was not the spectacular implosion it appears, at least not from a running perspective.

The morning started with John and Ellie being extremely punctual and arriving at 8:30 for a lift to New Bedford. Darren was a bit tardy and arrived at 8:43. I started the car and drove around to Starbucks on Mass Ave where I grabbed a 'quick' coffee. By the time I returned to the car John had gone back to his house to check they hadn't left the oven on (2). John got back around 8:55, and while that was later than I wanted to leave I was still pretty happy we'd get there in reasonable time. 

Then I tried to start the car. No dice. Battery was flat. 

Ran up to the garage on Mass Ave to see if they had a jumper pack. Nope

How the editor imagines the scene (notice the right hand drive that I'm sure Mark's car has)
Ran back to the car. Alarm was going off because I'd locked it out of habit as I ran away from it, and Darren and Ellie were still inside. Next tried to sign up for Zipcar as they have a Zipcar at the garage. Looking good until I found out despite all their "app" goodness, they still want a physical card to unlock the car. We're rapidly running out of ideas but John and Ellie suggest we use one of the traditional car rental places in Harvard Square. We check that Thrifty have availability and we start to run towards there. By the time we get the car it's now 9:55-ish, and I know we're really tight on time.

We jump in and once we hit the highway, I'm basically doing 80 (3) in a Nissan Versa all the way to New Bedford. We are in the right vicinity at around 10:50 and I think we're going to make it or be kinda close, but then I fuck up and take a right to early and need to double back. At that point once I see the first parking lot I pull in and we ditch. 

Unfortunately, this is nearly 2 miles from the Y so we have to book it over there and by the time we grab bibs and all that we're back to the start line for around 11:30 (Darren and I started at 11:28:42 precisely). Of course, my watch decides to crash and takes inordinately long to find a satellite. Word to the wise, the Garmin 620 won't start recording until it has a GPS signal, which took about .12 miles. 

The race organisers let us start but we were lucky. The roads were already open and that first 3 miles is not a place you really want to be running without those roads being closed. 

Anyway, at this point I've thrown all race strategy out the window and I'm just running hard. I reckoned that I'll just go and if I die at mile 10, it'd just be fitting. I catch the walkers at the back after about 3 miles before that really nasty hill, and when I crest the hill and turn left I'm not long before I catch the cars at end of the race. I know I have a lot of downhill now, so I'm settling in for passing folks for the rest of the race. 

There was a headwind from the very beginning so I knew once we hit the water it was going to be tough. Mile 7 gave me a taste of it but Mile 9/10 was rough but I knew I was still on target to break 1:30:00 so I kept at it. At this point I'm passing a lot of runners. Two guys shouted at me "Are you on your second lap?" and another said "How are you just passing us now?". I shouted over my shoulder "Well I started a half an hour late" 

Once I got out of the wind in that stretch between 10+ and before the hill at 12, I was feeling pretty good and reckoned that even if I ran 8 min/miles for the rest I was going to go under 1:30. But I kept it going and as that bastard hill loomed, I was able to run 7 min-ish up it and once I managed to get to the top without vomiting I just kicked home for a Gun Time of 1:57:59. 

I got back to the Y and waiting for my chip time, which unfortunately never came. I asked the guys from Yankee timing and he told me they turned off the mat at the start after around 5 minutes or so.

Between various calculations from Darren's watch and also presuming the race went off pretty promptly at 11:00:00, I reckon I did a 1:28:41; which I'll take as an unofficial PR and something to aim for in Berlin in two weeks.

After leaving the Y and because we'd not really paid close attention to where we were parked and none of us had phones, and basically I'd had a quick look on Victor's phone to get an idea of where we needed to go; we obviously got off track and ended up needing to ask a police officer how to get to where we were going.

He kindly gave us a lift, so we ended our adventure in the back seat of a cop car in New Bedford, warning us we were in a pretty dodgy area crime-wise (4).

We made it back to Cambridge in time to return the rental, and I continued the saga by getting my car towed to AutoZone so I could get a new battery...

There are easier ways to PR that's for sure...

I want to thank Mark Duggan for this recap.  For Berlin, here's a map of the U Bahn and "Viel Glück."  

And if anyone else has a race or outdoor trip they want to tell through Pedals and Paddles just email me, we can make it happen!


(1) - Of course we noticed while sitting in our friends co-op on the UES trolling thru New Bedford results... No really we did ~ editor
(2) - Important question here: What breakfast did they make that required the oven?  That seems ambitious the morning of a Half Marathon ~ editor
(3) - We assume this is mph despite the Irish author's penchant for occasionally using metric in situations Americans would never understand him ~ editor
(4) - As opposed to those "non dodgy areas" of New Bedford? ~ editor

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting Jesse.

    With respect to using the metric system occasionally, I blame growing up in Ireland where the switch to metric was only happening as I grew up. The road signs were still in mph until 2005, but we were taught in metres in school. But my parents generation were all imperial. Even more confusingly they were more comfortable using Celsius than Fahrenheit, except when we were sick and they talked of a temperature of 100+ being bad. The Brits still use miles/yards on the roads...

    Oh, and I absolutely do it wilfully to confuse you guys sometimes