Friday, February 20, 2009

Lost Dutchman Half Marathon

You learn something at every race.

Yes, you do. You learn something at every race you run. I hadn't run for three days and my legs were fresh. Real fresh. This is a tale of what you learn when you go out fast in a half marathon.
The day started with a beautiful sunrise over the Superstition Mountains.

I got my picture with the Lost Dutchman himself. He wouldn't disclose were the his goldmine is. After all, it's the gold that's lost, not the dutchman.

Right around 7:30 the gun sounded and we were off. Actually, we waited as the faster runners were off. At this time I commented to all around me, "there goes my PR." But eventually we did get to run and it was less than a minute wait.

That's the Superstition Mtns. in the distance. Only about 700 runners in the half, so I didn't have to do a lot of weaving. The first mile split was 9:47. My goal was to see how many miles I could do under an 11 minute pace. 1:13 seconds was way too fast, but my legs wouldn't let me run any slower.

The second mile was 10:12. More reasonable, but still on the fast side. That made me 2 for 2 goal wise. I was a bit worried that it would get me later on. This course is half paved, half dirt road with lots of small hills. Mile 3 was 10:59, perfect and mile 4 was 10:42. I felt like I was getting in the groove.

Maybe it was the site of the medals before the race that got me in a fast mode.

There were lots of medals. I got the HM one on the right. Before the race I got to meet Alissa from Fountain Hills. She's one fast runner and it would be the last time I saw her.

Mile 5 was done in 9:58. Don't ask me. I have no clue as to why I was going so fast. Mile 6 was done in 10:06 and I was cruisin' to the half way point.

Then came mile 7. My first one over 11. I did it in 11:07. Was the first six fast miles catching up to me? I did the 10k in 1:03:47, which would be the fastest 10k I ever did. I did the 6.55 in 1:08:01. That mean't I had 2 minutes in the bank. I was hoping to do 1:10's each way.

Then came mile 8. I was trying to walk thru the water stations. I did it in 10:26. I skipped some stations and this mile most have been one of them. Mile 9 was my second mile over the 11 goal. It was done in 11:27, my slowest mile. I think it was the mile that I saw Lobster Girl. Two years ago I ran behind a girl in a lobster hat for a long time. I even took a picture and she happened to be in it. I recognized her this year. Asked if it was her and we talked for awhile. She's done 8+ marathons and can't even remember how many halfs. And she's young. I was a bit jealous.

Mile 10 was 10:43. Mile 11 was 10:58. Mile 12 was 10:27. During these miles I got to talk with a guy from New Mexico and a gal from Minnesota. We all got in the leap frog mode. When I walked, they would pass me. When they walked, I would pass. Sometimes we would chat. The gal from up north eventually passed me for good. Not sure about the guy.

But, I still had 1.1 miles to go and my legs weren't as fresh as 2 hours ago. Mile 13 came in at 10:25. I did a lot of walking, but I was running in the 9's and I was holding up pretty good.

Good enough to sprint to the finish line at an 8:50 pace. I stopped my garmin about 5-10 seconds after I finished.

It read 2:19:52.

2:19:52 is 7:17 better than I ran PF Chang's 28 days ago. It was 7:23 better than I ran London's Run 15 days ago. It is the fastest Half Marathon I've ever run.

It was a great day. No rain. Sunshine. High 40's to start. Mid 50's for most of the run. The third HM in less than 30 days. Two of them for PR's. The 11th HM of my life. 11 of the 13 miles under 11 minutes. A cool medal. A cool t-shirt.

If only the Dutchman would have shared where the gold is.

Gold Canyon Resort & Golf was a proud sponsor of this race.

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