Thursday, October 21, 2010

Brooksie Way Half

I almost wish I had done the 5K. Frank Shorter was running the race, after what he claimed was his 160,000 mile hip check up. Really, I think it was some sort of surgery, or something, but honestly how cool would it be to be in a race with Frank Shorter? And to say that you beat him?! He came in a 27:23, so it would've been possible...

But to think. If you Run 40 miles per week 50 weeks out of the year you end up with about 2000 miles. It's a respectable distance, and certainly more than 95% of the rest of the population typically does. But it would take you 80 years to run 160,000 miles. It's over six times around the world at the equator, if I remember right. It would be running from New York to California something like 50 times.

Pretty amazing to contemplate. But I digress.

The Brooksie Way took place on a day almost perfect for running; high 30s low 40s, a bit of sun, a bit of wind, and little to no humidity. Definitely fall; the season's colors were already showing forth.

Of course, I didn't see any of the colors when I got there, because I like to get to races early and sacrifice a little sleep to avoid the nightmare that is parking. So when I pulled up and in with no traffic I figured I made the right choice. Seeing the miles of backlog about 45 minutes later I knew I made the right choice. :)

I did about a 1.8 mile warm up with a friend, found another friend whom I had promised to pace, and waited for the start of the race. Though the temps were a bit brisk, warming up in a jacket let me stay warm enough to wait at the finish line in my typical sleeveless tee.

So the race started, and even though we were smack dab in-between the seven and eight minute pace signs, we probably passed a couple of hundred people in the first mile. *sigh* race etiquette. Oh well, what can you do?

Let me natter on a bit about my race plan. I didn't really have one, except I wanted to try to pace a friend of mile for as long as I could hold on. He wanted a 1:40 half, which is roughly a 7:38 pace. Personally, I thought that there I could probably hang on for six miles, I might be able to hang on for 10 miles, but would check in with myself at those points to see how I felt.

I gave myself a 1/3 chance of being able to finish with him.

The first six miles were downhill, and some pretty fast running. Though most of it was on roads, a good chunk was on the Paint Creek Trail- not paved, but flat and a good running surface. We hit mile six at 43:52, which is a pretty good clip; maybe a 7:20 average pace.

I didn't really realize that my friend's race plan was to bank time during the fast downhill of the beginning to slow down during some of the pretty killer hills of the middle. It worked. Even though our pace dropped to the low 8's and high 7's for the next three miles, we got through the 10 mile mark right around 1:16... meaning I beat my Crim time by about four minutes.

The last three miles went nicely- hard work, but good. We got onto Oakland University's Campus and wound our way through some vaguely familiar streets until we started toward the mansion, and some extraordinary downhills started. My friend asked me if I wanted to push myself, and after taking a minute or so to consider, I guess I decided I did.

When I saw the clock hit 1:39 I knew I was coming in under 1:40, and was kind of shocked. My friend let me go ahead and finished two seconds after me. We wandered a bit, met up with some friends who finished earlier, found coffee, and hung out a bit more.

It was a throughly enjoyable race, and I had a wonderful time. First time I have run as a pacer to someone at my level, and it worked better than I thought it would. Perhaps we'll be able to pace one another to a 3:15 at Bayshore next year... that would be pretty cool. :)

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