Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mesa Falls Marathon Part 2 - Race Day

Race day finally arrived.  After verifying that our large group in the group site had not blocked the route and ensuring the restrooms had plenty of toilet paper - I'm still a campground host - I got ready for the race.  I laced up my over-worn shoes.  I was tempted, when I found both Lube Stick and Blister Pads in my race packet, to use them.  But I remembered rule #1- nothing new on race day - and resisted.  I drove into Ashton and caught the bus to the start line at Bear Gulch.

There were 191 runners in the Half Marathon.  Remembering my running etiquette, I started at the end of the pack.  I had decided that my strategy would be to hang back on the trail and catch them on the hills.  Looking back, I think this cost me a couple of minutes.  I did pass quite a few racers on the hills, but could have really opened up on the trail if there hadn't been so many slower runners in front of me.

At about mile 8 I caught up with a couple of runners – Ryan and Tricia – that seemed to be running at my pace.  They appeared to be in their forties.  Ryan welcomed me and commented that “it’s nice to find your pace group friends.”  As we chatted about kids and her grand-kids, I realized that Tricia was not forty-something; she was fifty-something.  I had to beat her.  I made my break at the aid station on the last mile.  I crossed just ahead of her.  I took second place in our age group; she took third.  I gave her my coupon for a Huckleberry Shake for one of her kids.

My final results:
Time:  2:05:39
Finished 2nd of 8 in my age division
Finished 30th of 119 women (top 25%)
Finished 64th of 191 overall (top 34%)

Lessons learned for the next race
1.  Buy a new pair of shoes at least six weeks before the race and run in them.  That way I’ll have a choice on race day.
2.  Start in the top third of the pack.
3.  It’s OK to be friendly – but all’s fair in love and racing.

My goal for the next half-marathon:  finish under 2 hours.

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