Yesterday was the Outer Banks Marathon/Half Marathon. Is it really a year since we ran it last?
As those of you who have read the posts below will know, I wasn't really sure what to expect from this one. I really haven't done much distance work recently and on top of that a nasty cold and too much business travel recently have really "cramped my style" when it came to training over the last month or so.
I was signed up to run with my lovely wife ("She Who Must Be Obeyed") but a combination of circumstances including illness and a host of kids activities meant that she couldn't make it this year. Rather than let the registration go to waste, our friend Kim stepped in at short notice and decided to do her first half marathon with no training! Now that's not quite as crazy as it seems..... Kim claims that the furtherest she has run before is eight miles, but she's a fitness trainer and basically works out for a living giving classes at Gold's Gym and the new HEAT studio in downtown Raleigh. She's also incredibly "high energy" (I'm being nice Kim!) so I certainly wasn't expecting to find her crumpled by the roadside!
Traveled down to Nags Head on Friday evening and spent Saturday doing some chores and at the race expo. to pick-up race packets with 8,000 of my closest friends! Got good deals on a fuel belt and a hat for cold weather running. Always a good festive atmosphere and good to see so many fit people milling around! Somewhat disturbingly, when I went to collect my number and goody bag, before I even opened my mouth the lady behind the counter said "oh, you're that English guy who ran it last year". I was a little stunned - am I really that memorable? I can only think that my accent and well-known reputation for "bantering" with people I don't know must have been the cause!
Kim's husband Chris cooked a great dinner on Saturday evening (thanks Chris) and I got a relatively early night after watching some college football; laying out my gear and putting my Accelerade in the fridge.
5:00 am alarm and a breakfast comprising a Powerbar; two vanilla Ensures and a large coffee. Picked Kim up at 6:00 amd and took the short drive to the designated parking area at Nags Head Elementary School before strolling up to the start. It was, thankfully, a beautiful morning. Saturday was pretty windy but the winds dropped overnight and the low was around 52 F, so nothing to complain about..... actually scratch that...... Kim whined like a three year old about having to get up early and being chilly, but hey, I only had to put up with her for the morning! :-)
|Porta Potty Row at the start|
|Kim displaying S.W.M.B.O's race number|
|Looking pretty relaxed before the start|
The route takes you south on 158 for about 8 miles through Nags Head (with a couple of detours through neighborhoods) at which point you basically turn right onto the route 64 causeway and over the bridge that connects the Outer Banks to Roanoke Island and the finish in the town of Manteo.
Kim passed me (smiling) within about a quarter of a mile and that was the last I saw of her! She did an awsome job on her first time out and finished in 2:06:30 - not bad for someone who "doesn't run"!
For my part, I kept a pretty good steady pace to start and was pleased to see that my mile splits were coming-in at comfortably under 10:00 pace. For about the first six miles or so I found myself running with a very cheerful group of ladies dressed as Wonderwoman, so that provided some entertainment!
For nutrition I had mandarin flavored "Gu" that I took at miles 4 and 8 plus some sips of Accelerade from my new fuel belt.
Here are my splits for the first seven miles: 09:45 09:29 09:33 09:43 09:42 09:42 09:42 (look at the consistency of the last four!). Heartrate was pretty steady at around165.
Last year I did the race in around 2 hours 19 mins, but really hobbled home the last few miles on my bum right knee. As you can see in one of my posts below, I thought that 2:10 was probably a reasonable target for this year, so at mile 8 I was feeling pretty good about things.
Unfortunately, as I crossed the bridge onto Roanoke Island at about mile 10 I could again feel some slight discomfort in my right knee. Certainly nothing like as bad as last year, but troublesome none-the-less. I also started to feel a little fatigue creeping-in, which was not particularly surprising given that I had done so little distance training - just one seven miler and one nine miler in the past few months - not exactly an ideal build-up!
The bottom line is that I managed to keep it going and got home in 2 hours 11 mins and a few seconds. Eight minutes faster than last year and, all-in-all, not too bad given my lack of training. My splits for the latter half of the race looked like this: 09:52 10:06 10:17 10:14 10:14 10:35 10:14
Overall average pace was 09:55.
After receiving my medal and chugging some finish line Gatorade I very quickly found Kim who was basking in the glory of finishing her first half and had a facebook picture posted for her adoring fans within about ten minutes of finishing (what a crazy connected world we live in!).
|A chilly Kim warming-up in the sunshine.|
|Where did the bottom half of my medal go?|
After enjoying the finish line festivities for a while we managed to find Kim's husband Chris and her kids and were soon heading back over the bridge into Nags Head and watching the full marathoners push their last few miles in the opposite direction.
After showering and resting a while it was off to the OBX Brewing Station for a pint of BlackEye PA (yum!) and a well deserved burger and fries!
A really nice day and a very well organized and fun event. It was the fifth anniversay race this year and it continues to get bigger. Well over 8,000 participants this year. Because it's a "flat track" it seems to attract quite a few folks trying to qualify for Boston. The winner of the mens half this year was a Kenyan guy who ran it in 1:02:30..... do you think he made it? That's the entire 13.1 miles at well under 5 min/mile pace - unbelievable!
Time for a rest!