>Look What I Can Do!>St. Andrews 1/2M brief report - and I PR'd every race this year!
Interesting end to the race season yesterday - I ran the St. Andrew's half-marathon in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. This was the race's 33rd year, but for some reason only ever has a small field - yesterday was particularly small with just 30-some runners. The course is a point-to-point with runners bussed out from Middleton to a dot on the map named Clarence - then we run back to Middleton. It's a beautiful rural setting and the weather was perfect, including a stiff tailwind! One runner on the bus out, told us how one year he ran NYC and this race a week apart - you couldn't get two races more diametrically opposed.
Ok, so there only 3 water stations at fairly random distances apart, and I only saw 2 distance markers, 1 mile and 10km! I don't think there were any awards or suchlike, but there was minestrone soup and focaccia bread at the end, plus coffee and timbits, and it was a fundraiser for a small independant theatre, the Evergreen Theatre in Margaretsville. For those reasons alone it was worth making the trip.
My recent years PB was 1:39:42 at the Bluenose this year, but I hadn't run another half since. I wanted to run faster than that, as I have PR'd every other race I've run this year...
After a short warmup off the bus we got going and I found myself in a group of 3 in the lead (small field, remember). Felt good, but then we passed the one mile marker in 6:40, uh-oh - that's a bit too fast really. Shortly after, my right calf blew and I hobbled to a stop. After walking, stretching and debating about pulling out, I tentatively got going again and decided to do or die..
I found that by running on my toes, it wasn't too sore and I started reeling folk back in. The first 8 miles are fairly flat, followed by 3.5 miles of rolling hills, then flat to the finish. I was running fairly strongly, but was having to be careful with my stride, especially between hills when your gait changes - it was painful, but didn't seem to be getting any worse - carefully does it.
I eventually got to a point around 12 miles where I knew I wasn't going to catch the next person ahead, but was fairly sure that the person behind wasn't going to catch me either. That meant it was now down to time - only problem being, I didn't actually know how far I had left! I had to just block out the leg pain and keep going...
Around a corner and there was the finish! I ran 1:36:23, but could hardly then drive home from the pain! Encouraging though. I reckon I could have run 3-4 minutes faster. That means I PR'd every race I ran this year - and I'm looking forward to next year already. My all time PB for half was 1:28 set somewhere around 1998 - it's amazing to think that next year I might be running fast enough to challenge that, all these years later.
Congrats.Get some rest.
Run until the trail runs out.
The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff