Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Race Recapping: Baystate (MA) Half-Marathon

This race was originally not on my calendar.  I was slated to run the Hartford (CT) Half Marathon in October, and then the Worcester (MA) Half Marathon in June of 2016.  But after my horrible summer of 2:45+ races, I re-evaluated my upcoming races.  Hartford had a time limit of 3 hours, and I just did not feel comfortable running that course.  I wanted a race that had a little larger cushion in case something went sideways...like a surprise "Cry Hill" that I was not expecting.  So I started my Google search on local races, needing something for either Massachusetts or Connecticut.  And I somehow came upon the Baystate Half-Marathon.  The description that really hooked me was "fast, flat and great for PR". SOLD!!  I spoke with the hubby and put my father-in-law on babysitter alert and signed up before the price increase in September.

I drove up to Lowell on Friday night to the packet pick up/expo.  That weekend a cold front was moving through, meaning the high temperatures were going to be in the 40s instead of the 60s and 70s we had been experiencing that week.  Most of my time at the expo listening to the runners discuss what they were going to wear at the starting line.  Most talked about how they were going to start with a "throw away" shirt----great, we got rid of a ton of clothes before me moved! That morning I had run to Target to purchase a cheap pair of gloves (2 pairs for $3) so I could use those to keep my hands warm during the first couple of miles.

Sunday morning came, and Hubby was up early getting ready to head north for his monthly Army commitment, which mean my father in law was at our house at o'dark-thirty so we could all get out the door.  I arrived in Lowell around 6:30am for a 8am start, which normally is not a huge deal.  I just chill out at the starting line.  Except today I really COULD chill out because the temperature was in the mid-20s.  I parked a half-mile away from the start/finish line because I read that the street closer would be closed off.  Once I parked and got all of my gear together, I headed to the Paul Tsongas Center at the university there, it was the only place open to keep me warm!  Of course there was one last bathroom break (20 minute wait in the line), and then dropping off my jacket at the gear-check station.

I found my way to the correct corral, and shivered while waiting for the start.  I realized that while I was standing there in my long-sleeve shirt and carpis, with these wimpy little gloves, that not only was I shivering, but also sweating.  Yeah.....sweating because I was using energy shivering. Craziness!

After the national anthem and the staring gun going off, so were we!! The marathoner and half-marathons start at the same place, lining up on different sides of the street, and at one point we go right while they go left.  The course was not too hilly, there was several, the downside of it was there were not as many downhills and there were uphills.  For the half-marathon we ran the same 6 miles twice, so on the second go-around I knew exactly what to expect and when, which was calming.

As with most races, I started off at a pretty good speed.  I had my 2:30 goal pace bracelet on my left wrist, so that when I checked my watch I could determine who well (or poorly) I was doing in this race.  Here how the first loop panned out:

       Goal     Actual
Mile 111:2611:13
Mile 222:5322:31
Mile 334:1933:49
Mile 445:4645:08
Mile 557:1256:34
Mile 61:08:391:07:51
WOW!!  This was going great!! I'm all warmed up, and even my hands are a little warm, so I decided to take off my wimpy gloves.  However, what I did not realize at the time was that my goal pace bracelet also came off. :(  For me, running is a very mental experience, so this REALLY messed with my mind.  I knew where I took my gloves off, so on my second loop I knew where to be looking for my bracelet (Amazingly, I found it! Thank goodness it is bright yellow!)  I was able to keep on pace for the first 11 miles, and for miles 11-13 I slowed down to a pace between 11:57 to 12:14. Almost a full minute slower than what I needed to be at for a 2:30 time.

Once I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch, I looked at the final time. 2:34:15. A NEW PR!!!  My last PR was at the Nashville Country Music Half-Marathon in April, 2014. Having a PR broken after 18 months, and taking 11 minutes off my time from the race in September was so uplifting.  I was excited to FINALLY get under 2:35!  I really do think I could have broken that 2:30 time had my bracelet stayed on and I had not mentally lost my focus for those few miles.  

State #5 done!

Pretty, shiny medals

Proof that I made it!!

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