My second half marathon took place during the Fredericton Marathon last Sunday. It had been four months since my first half, and I would have been thrilled to have finished in under 1:50, but realistically I was just hoping to knock a few minutes of my first finishing time of 1:56. A photo taken during the expo is below. Had I known I would be doing this little blog, I may have taken more pictures (or at least one!) during race day. The expo was small, but I don't think it's the selling feature that draws folks to this marathon.
The course was an out and back, mixing walking trails with city streets. It was not originally slated to be an out and back, but the winter was not kind to parts of the trail, causing the organizers to update the route a few days before the race. I ran the original route a few weeks before the race, and there were some parts of the trail where it was not possible to run, with much uneven elevation with many large rocks and small hills to traverse. The weather called for rain on the race morning, but it held off until just after I finished. Unfortunately for my wife, who finished a bit behind me, she did catch a bit of it.
I wore my Garmin during the race, and although my pace was a bit faster than I would have expected over the first couple of miles, I generally controlled myself and kept a steady pace throughout. For much of the race I was paced by an older man wearing a Boston Marathon shirt. I'm not very outgoing at the best of times, and rarely say a word to anyone during a race. However, Frank (my pacer) was happy to speak to other folks, and I caught parts of his conversation. He is from Saint John, ran Boston this year, and has already qualified for next year. Well, I checked out his running history a bit, and noticed he ran the Run for Hospice 5k the day before the half, finishing with a time of 25:36. That sounds pretty good, but if you look at the link I provided, you'll see that he's 70 years old! Turns out he also ran the Boston Marathon last month in 4:05. That is incredible.
As I said, I kept a steady pace, largely due to Frank, except for the three or four aid stations where I got water and took a Clif Shot Block. I have yet to master the art of drinking on the run, and I'm not sure I ever will master it. It wasn't so bad though, because I probably walked for only about half a minute at each station. After the race, I checked my pace for each mile, and it pretty consistently clocked in between 8:25 and 8:40, and my finishing chip time was 1:52:20. I was happy (but not thrilled) with it, given that it was four minutes faster than my time four months earlier. My joke now is that if I can improve by a minute every month, in a few years I'll be ready for the Olympics. This course, like Tallahassee, is relatively flat, so I can't use hills as an excuse. Also, the weather was nice and cool, and not too windy, except for a short stretch along the river at the end. Unlike Tallahassee, I did seem to have enough energy at the end to put in a good finishing kick. Perhaps that means I left a bit of "speed" on the course?
An acquaintance I mine who ran the course about 15 minutes faster than me said the he didn't look at his watch once until he hit the 16k mark. That made me stop and wonder if someday I'll run a half "Garmin free", maybe even skipping a regular watch, just to see how it turns out. I'm contemplating running the half at the Marathon by By The Sea as a training run prior to the PEI marathon. Perhaps I'll give it a shot there, since it won't be a race where I particularly care about my time. The other thing I want to try sometime in a race is the run/walk Galloway method, to see what difference that makes. I haven't checked my manhood at the door and done any training with this method yet, but I know a lot of people do like it.
Well, that's too much writing for this post. I'm in Campbello with the family for the weekend. Perhaps I'll post a short note about my runs here sometime over the next day or two.
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