Sunday, December 13, 2015

Race Recapping: Thompson Speedway Race (CT) Half-Marathon

So this race is the last one of the year, and it took me quite a while to register for it.  I had been eyeing it for some time, mostly because it was located in the eastern part of Connecticut, and only 1 hour from the house. Another race in CT, run by the same company, was being held in June but it was 3 hours away which means I would have to get a hotel room.  But once the weather forecast for December 6th was released, and I saw there was going to be nice weather, I signed up!  (December in CT could have meant 3' of snow, hence my initial hesitation.)

The race was the Thompson Speedway Race, and on the morning of, I awoke early, got dressed and got on the road by 0630, leaving three peacefully sleeping boys in their warm, toasty beds.  The temperature on the dashboard read 36*, but since there was a layer of frost on the car, I seriously doubt it.  I drove to the start, a very uneventful drive (thank goodness!), and the first big shock of the day was the temperature drop.  It was 27* when I got to Thompson. WHAT?!?!? This would be the coldest half marathon that I have run...well, at least the coldest when it starts. The thermometer read 50* when I got in the car to drive back home.  No wonder I was shedding clothes faster than an professional stripper once I got to my car....

This half-marathon offered me the chance to literally run a race track.  Our starting and finish line were both on this track, so we started by running 1.7 laps around it before we headed out into the community.  The race director said he ran it the day before, and while they were not shutting down the roads, the roads were not heavily traveled.  In the fours hours he was out there, he said maybe 30 cars passed him, and that seemed to be true on race day as well.

The majority of the race was held on roads, but there was a mile or two on a tail.  Thankfully it was better than the race two weeks before, as these "trails" were more of the dirt road kind of trail instead of woods/tree roots/pine needles type of trail. I can handle these trails, since I would still look ahead and zone out--rather than looking down for roots and leaves and rocks.  The course also had a few hills at the beginning.  Why is it they seem huge when running them, but when you are coming back, you don't really noticed the downhill portion?

Like other races, this was an out-and-back race.  While running it, I had several thoughts on it....because, you know, when you are running for 2+ hours, you have A LOT of thoughts.  So here they are in no particular order.
  1. Out and backs can be very encouraging, because as you are running, those already heading back are cheering you on to get there.  One guy told me "Great running form! Keep it up!" Seriously, no one has ever complimented me on my running FORM, but that was a small pick me up and helped me through the next few steps.
  2. But they can be discouraging as well. You are passing people who have already made it to the turn around (which is usually the half way point in the race).  That means they are more than half done, and you're not there yet! 
  3. And when you DO finally reach the turn around, as you are running back there is no one cheering you on on your way back.  I did pass several people, cheering THEM on, saying "you're almost there!". 
This was a very small race, probably only 200 people, and at some points in the race, I could look forward and backwards and see....nobody. There were a few times I thought "Am I lost???"

The final list of times can out, and I am proud to say I WAS NOT LAST! Seriously, after starting the race, and seeing how small it was, that was my goal---to not be last.  It was not my best race, but it certainly was not my worst as well.  I am happy to say at the finish line there was a nice size group (about 20 or so) that were cheering the last of us on, but I was disappointed to see 95% of the food gone.  I got a banana, and a few pretzels. Wishing they could have a few bagels or donuts left for those of us who finished at the end, but oh well. It is what it is, right?
See that TINY bit of green in the upper right?? Yeah, that is what I ran that day.

FINALLY crossing the finish line. 2: 42:46 was my official time.

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