Monday, May 6, 2013

Quincy Half Marathon

With the upcoming Vermont City Marathon, I felt getting a ½ marathon under the belt would be a good idea. I like the idea of a sustained effort for a good duration leading up to a marathon. I searched around the running calendar and found the Quincy Half Marathon of which I always wanted to run but had conflicts in the past. It sort of fell into my favor this year as the race was to be held on March 10 but was postponed due to weather and safety concerns from the town of Quincy. I reached out to Brett Rickenbach (WCRC) last week and he was game for the effort as he too is running VCM. Thus, we headed down to Quincy early Sunday morning. My mind was heavy as I was sore from some piriformis issues and some previous day yard work.

I changed my racing plan from requesting for 6:00 pace per mile to whatever the legs would provide without embarrassment. After a 1.6 mile warm up and stretching I was on the starting line, front row, with Brett. I followed Brett for 200m and settled next to him by our first of many turns together on the course. My legs felt OK, not great. The temperature warranted a singlet up top, Native glasses to ease the potential poke of sun which was never seen. My red and white Invo8 233’s felt smooth. Thin ragged, throw away gloves were worn for just three miles before coming off in time for a drink of water from the friendly water stop on Wollaston Beach. I found it comforting to run next to Brett. He was keeping track of Garmin mile splits vs actual course mile markers. We were averaging a low six minute pace early on while there were about 12 runners ahead of us. The miles went by fast mentally as I think we took the pressure off and just did our thing letting those in front pull away as they please. We dropped those on our heels just by our consistent pacing as we toured through downtown Quincy thanking each police officer we ran by. They were in full force to hold up several intersections of traffic to make way for the runners.  We rolled through 5 miles around 30:38. We took turns on Newport Ave leading into the wind, allowing the other to tuck in. Newport Ave turned out to be longer than it seemed on paper.

Next to Brett (1034) after the start at 8:00
Photo credit Gregg Derr, The Patriot Ledger
I recall taking my only Gatorade Gel around mile six before a water stop. I took water at each stop along the way. The Dixie cups had the perfect water to cup ratio. Brett and I would have a few words here and there.  Brett was holding a strong pace, quicker than what I thought he wanted. He told me that he was good with the pace, meaning, not looking to dip but hold it – encouraged me to drop pace when I wanted to. I was content though wanted to get some wind at my back later in the race and tee up a few targets ahead. I had two runners in my target when I pulled away just before 10 miles. My 10 mile split was 1:01:33 (about a minute slower for the 2nd 5 miles). It was just after that point where I had a two stage hill that took some time to climb. I caught the two guys over the next mile and set sight on the last guy visible to my eye. I worked hard to catch up over the next mile and finally pulled beside at 12.5 miles. We were running side by side along the road that took us to the new Quincy High School outdoor track for which the finish line awaited after a full lap. The best trash talk line I ever heard was dropped on me while I pointed over to the track and said that we still have to run a lap around that track. He said “I am a 400 meter All American.”  That got my attention but was not sure if he was serious. I felt good but was in no mood for a battle on the track at the end of a half marathon. I passed him two turns away and stepped onto the track not knowing how close he was. I went around that track as hard as I could, coming into the finish line, 6th overall with a time of 1:19:29 (6:04 mile pace). He came through a few seconds behind me. Brett followed with a solid 1:20:33 (6:09 mile pace). The guy who finished in between us is currently not in the results so I don’t know what happened there. However, I had to ask him if he was an “All American 400m runner?” He confirmed that he was at Wheaton, a relay (49.X) and is now training for an Ironman. Cool. I barely made it through a cool down with Brett and Kieran Condon (SRR) who ran a solid 1:17:59 just three weeks after running the Boston Marathon. It was nice to chill out inside to plenty of soup and sandwich wraps. I was tired but glad I got to the race and put down a solid effort. 

Quincy Half Marathon results May 5, 2013
Patriot Ledger race article

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