|Photo by Jeff "howlin' at the moon wolfman" Wolf|
Oh what a beautiful day for a 13.1 mile run! Today was the inaugural Stower Seven Half Marathon put on by the friends of the Stower Seven Trail. This represents another great family and health oriented activity on our tremendous, local, non-motorized trails! Fantastic work!
They had a good sized turn-out for a first year event, and the organizers did a wonderful job with frequent water stations, traffic control, and timing. Everyone I talked to said they'd be coming back next year. This is one of those courses where you don't have to worry about getting lost since you just follow the trail (which is good for guys like me).
There were a lot of familiar faces at the start which is great. The absolute best part of events like these is meeting up with active, fun, adventurous people who are willing to do something silly like run a half-marathon. Whether it's biking, running, or skiing the local group of adventurers always gives you some new ideas for different kinds of challenges. Also, it's a treat to meet new people with the same positive attitude towards life.
Noticeably absent today, however, was Ben Mullin. Ben always uses the technical approach to his race reports, and based on the Facebook comments, there are a lot of people who prefer to see the write-up in the form of a statistical analysis. So, I decided to summarize my race in a fancy spreadsheet so those of you who love the technical side of training can be satiated by this article. Here you go:
As you can see from the lovely, sunshiney picks, we had a perfect day. The organizers must know somebody...every time Cyclova starts up an event we get hit with 86 inches of snow.
On the bus ride out to the start, one of the other competitors warned us of a mean Rottweiler that lived at about mile 12 that had bit him on a prior training run (I actually saw that dog out there, but one of the benefits of being slow is that he'd already had plenty of other people to chew on, so he just grunted and let me go by).
The gun went off and Eric, Jeff and the rest took off like they were in a hurry or something. I ran along with Lisa and Katie, who amazingly could maintain a 9 minute pace while keeping up a nice conversation. I prefer running at a 12 minute pace so I can concentrate on my stories better. Katie ended up with some hardware at the end, winning her age class (and setting a course record in her age class). She now owns the course record for her age class in this half marathon AND the Gandy Dancer Trail Marathon (speaking of that the fees go up on May 15th, so REGISTER NOW, it's the best race in the universe).
I always try for around 2 hrs for halfs, and finished this one in 2:05. That involves a lot of mental arithmetic around 7 miles where you think things like:
"can I make 2 hrs?"
"I have 50 minutes to run 5 miles...I can make it!"
"Wait a minute...it's SIX more miles...there's no way...plus that .1, wait...how far is a half-marathon again?"
Every one of these thoughts is accompanied by brief accelerations (caused by enthusiasm that you might make your goal, followed by major, extended decelerations (when you realize there is no way it's going to happen).
But hey, it's all good, Lisa and Katie went flying past doing cartwheels and somersaults all while chatting, and I limped in and collapsed on the line like always. I don't have a picture of that. Here's a picture of me at the start when I was still fresh:
After the race, we headed out to Caribaldi's for margaritas and good company. What a fun day! I sincerely hope that the Friends of the Stower Seven continue with this event. It's always tough to start a new race, but once something has been on the calendar for a year or two, the numbers start to grow. Cyclova will certainly be willing to help promote this in the future!
Special Bonus--Adam Lushanko's write up:
Started with local Mark Swiontek and a couple other guys and said to myself, "I went out too fast again." Did the first 5k in around 20 min. At mile 4 I was already hitting a minor wall and knew then there would be no PR. My two new goals were to stay in 4th and run under 1:40. I achieved them both. It was a mental toughness race. The last 200 meters, the woman's champion made a strong challenge to take 4th overall, but somehow I stayed in 4th. I didn't want to give up on my no getting passed go after getting passed left and right at Zumbo. Awesome after party, can't wait for next year's addition!
Congratulations to the organizers and all the finishers!
Here's the web page with the results. Bookmark it for next year!