Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dutchess County Classic Race Report

Well its taken me nearly two weeks but here is my Dutchess County Classic race report!!
This race has been on my schedule since I ran it last year.  A Half in my back yard is a no brainer since it involves no travel and no disruption to the normal Sunday home schedule.  Once I decided on the marathon in October it just seemed like it was a logical fit in my training.  But as the date approached I didn’t know how to run it.  Last year my goal was to finish in less than two hours. I thought about just running it like a regular Sunday or running with my friend Beth.   I had already improved my half time by five minutes in NYC in March.  A part of me did want to see if I could run even faster.  But should I?
As the day got closer I still had made no decisions.  To make matters worse the Calli Girl had chewed my watch to a point where it no longer worked, my contact lenses were lost (possibly in my eye I believed for over a full day.  Seriously I had my friend the school nurse fishing around in my eye looking) and my dear eight year old had kindly brought home a lovely head cold for us all to share. 
The week of the race I was getting e-mail updates for the road runners club about the “dire parking situation at the park”.  I knew firsthand the flooding the fields had endured as my boys’ baseball season has been thrown for a loop at that same park.   The instructional fields have been underwater since tropical Storm Irene passed thru here a month ago.  The boys have been playing on a T-ball field ever since and it’s safe to say that is the way it will be for the rest of this season.  I remember last year’s classic and that park gets more crowded during the classic than on Little league opening day!  So heeding the warnings in the e-mails I picked Beth up at 6:45 for our race that began at 9.  I realized as I was sitting in the car that I had left my blackberry at home.  My back up timing was gone.  I would have to look at my I-pod.  It’s on my arm how could I see that?  I had no idea how I was going to run this race. 
Despite my own personal issues, the day turned out to be perfect for running!  After chatting in the car for an hour Beth and I made our way to the start line.  As the horn sounded and we made our way out of the park my competitive side began to emerge.  I needed to get out from behind the slower runners.  My cold medicine had kicked in and I was feeling pretty good.  About a half mile in I finally decided I had to run faster to just run and feel good.  The sun was shining but the air was cool.  I moved in and out of the pairs of chatty people running, finding my space and moving forward.
 Just before the first major turn I could hear loud music.  This being a large but still local race there usually is no musical motivation like some bigger races.  It kept getting louder and I came upon a man running with music.  Not ear buds but speakers blaring from a fanny pack.  Odd but whatever works for ya!  Not knowing how fast I was going I only knew I felt pretty good.  At this point last year I remember thinking I was going too fast.  I had missed seeing any mile markers.  But knew I felt pretty good.   I was passing people left and right as I climbed the hills and credit that to my frequent hills on my local routes. Mile marker 4 was the first I had seen and I was cruising.  I don’t  run with my I-pod but did bring it this time.  The music and the weather gave me a boost.   
Just before the 6 mile marker I passed by Beth’s house and saw her husband and three kids sitting on the corner.  I felt like I was flying as I waved at them.    By now I was so curious about my time.  I tried to ask other runners for the time when I could but they either could not hear me or misunderstood and told me the distance.  It was just past mile seven when I talked with a pair of runners who gratefully told me we had been running for exactly an hour.    I was right on track and still felt great!   Does that mean I could have been running harder? At no point did I have that feeling “This really sucks.  Why do I do this”? 
 I knew If I kept up my current pace I could do as well as NYC and better than my time at last year’s classic.  What would I need to do to PR?   Maybe I should just keep running feeling good and not hurt myself.  After all do need to continue to run this week.  No giving myself days off after today like last year.  This time next week I will be in the middle of 22miles.  I decided to just continue as fast as I could without feeling the “this sucks” feeling.  So that was it.  The miles kept clicking by as I felt great.  I loved reflecting on how hard it felt last year and how far I have come.  After all I had just run 20 miles just two weeks ago.  What’s thirteen point one compared to that! 
The last mile was fabulous. I ran steady and passed a few people who had passed me about three miles earlier.   As I reentered the park and looked at the clock I knew I was only about a minute slower that I had been back in March!  I was happy to be close but I will always wonder if I could have done better.  My next half marathon will definitely be run competitively so I can put those doubts to rest.
Final Results
13.1 miles --1:52:49 --8:37pace

1 comment:

  1. That's so funny about the guy running with the speakers, I've never seen that before! Congrats on a great race, you are SPEEDY!!!