Sunday, October 21, 2012

Empire State Half Marathon

70:45 Finish time and 5th place Overall.  Winner in my age group and on a nice cool fall day with some strong head winds, ran exceptionally well. I placed 5th in the USATF Niagara New York Half Marathon Championships and was the last place on the podium and 50 dollars richer.

The race was nice and cool with temperatures in the upper 30's and lower 40's. I was at the event with my father as Ashlee was at work.  I will say that as I waited in the coral to start the half marathon, I did not see any fast-looking guys until the last 5 minutes before the gun.  This race started at the Alliance Bank Minor League Stadium in Syracuse and then we would follow the Onondaga Lake Trail which is a great wide bike path.  At 8am, we were off. I was deciding on going out nice and conservative as it was my first ever road half-marathon but soon saw the pack of guys I would be running the entire race with.  This one guy, in a yellow-singlet shot out ahead averaging 5:10 miles and soon was just a glimer in the distance.  In my group of people was a Kenyan wearing some neon clothes, a Saucony-Sponsored guy, and a Master's champion at the age of 41 who could run super fast wearing a YMCA jersey.  I constantly ran my pace with these guys as the lake windchill made things tough for us.  We split several 5:15 minute miles the first 5 miles as I would help surge the group then drop back though I spent the majority of the time in the race working the David Rappleyea, the Saucony athlete. The kenyan constantly dropped back then would surge then drop again. The YMCA runner, Kevin as I heard his name all over the course, "GO KEEEEEVVVIN!" was struggling a little with the pace but I knew was still going to be in the hunt.  At mile 6, I suddenly had a strong stomach cramp that was making me hurt pretty bad.  I immediately, began to drop back intentionally in the hopes of drafting and regaining my feel.  At this point, the Kenyan decided to surge ahead drawing out the other guys.  Soon, the group was gone as the lovely lake trail became lonely for me even though we shot back the way we came with tons of other runners screaming for us on the course.  I could see them battling up front with having maybe a 45 second gap on me.  The sun was blinding me and in a whole world of hurt just told myself to remain strong and hold on for fifth so I could get some hard-earned prize money.  I kept a strong pace and after a few miles, I had caught the group again.  I was with the Saucony athlete, David, as he noticed me right on him. At that point, I just wanted to maintain contact.  I gritted my teeth and hung in there as water and gatorade at every water stop from mile 7-10 gave me the burst needed to hang on and finish in 5th with a 70:45 half marathon which was really a great time averaging 5:24 a mile.
Looking back on the race, physically, I have trained to run faster for this distance and as I run more of these competitions, I should dramatically improve.  It was a great race day and I wish Ashlee was there! I know that she is going to get to see some amazing races very soon!

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