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Monday, February 09, 2009

Race report: Melbourne half-marathon 2-8-09

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Date: 2-8-09
Where: Melbourne, FL
What: Melbourne & Beaches half-marathon
Time: 01:59:22 PR (old 02:01:54)
Place: 17 out of 31

Okay, so maaaybbee I had a PR goal set in the back of my mind should I go through the Melbourne half-marathon without major trouble. And just maybe, if all systems were go, I’d run the best race of my life yet. Don’t get me wrong, the achy left knee was a huge burden for me to bear leading up to this trip, and I was not expecting to finish. I’ll be honest about that.

Well, it happened. I came through the Melbourne & Beaches half-marathon with a personal best in the half of 01:59:22 (official) and in 17th place out of 31 in my age group. A sub-two hour half marathon was something I wanted badly, even before the Chicago Distance Classic half-marathon last August (my first major race). I missed that goal by two minutes in Chicago.

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Action shot: Running over the first of two ginormous bridges on the course.

My strategy to ease into the first bridge on the first part of the Melbourne course worked. It’s hard to really describe how daunting these two bridges were once you come upon them. They are long, and steep. I slowed down to an 11:30 pace on the way up, coming down from a near 9:15 pace. I took little steps, and was slightly disheartened to be passed by so many people, but I made a mental note of each one, so I knew who to pass when I neared the bottom.

The downhill was just as slow. My training run in Milwaukee last weekend taught me a good lesson- the downhill slope on that run killed my knee. I knew that if I took it easy on the way down, I’d be okay. I was way, way nervous. I was nearing five miles here, and I’d never made it past nine with my bad knee.

Fortunately, the rest of the course was pancake flat. Once I reached the bottom of the first bridge, I brought my pace back up. My knee at this point felt a little stiff, but I wasn’t in pain at all. Once I reached the half way point, I started to reel in the people that passed me on the first bridge- one by one. I negative- split the second half with sub-nine minute miles. I was feeling great.

Once I neared the second bridge at mile eleven, I took a deep breath, and ran as fast as I could all the way up. I was only three miles from the finish, and if the knee went on me now, I’d have room to walk back. Fortunately, the knee held up. Thank god. I sprinted to the finish.

The beauty of an endurance event is not knowing what’s around the next corner. The mystery of the unexpected is part of why I love it so much. So many things can go wrong, that you must react to the situation at hand, or suffer the consequences. I was not expecting to PR, let alone finish the damn thing. But now that it’s happened, I’m on top of the world.

Thanks to all of you for your support. This one’s for you.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Kevin said...

Great job! I lost your RSS feed and it is good to catch up with you again. A sub 2 is my goal too, it is great to see you accompish it.

Kevin

2:24 PM

 
Blogger Frave said...

Thank you for the encouraging comment!

11:57 AM

 
Anonymous Tiffy said...

Sub 2 is amazing! I am running my next 1/2 in April and I love reading your site!

1:16 PM

 

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