Monday, January 17, 2011

Run For Regis - Trail Half-Marathon

Yesterday Luke and I headed to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park for the Run For Regis races.  The run starts together at the Ledges shelter, and there are 2 loops, of about 5 miles and 8 miles.

The half-marathoners turn left and run the 8 mile loop, followed by the 5.  Marathoners and 50k runners turn right and run the 5 first, followed by the 8, then both again (and the 50k people add another 5 for good measure).

I entered the 50k but decided a few weeks ago that I would run the half instead.  There were several reasons for this:
  • With the weather, running slow for 5-6 hours didn't sound like much fun
  • I'm racing a mile on an indoor track at CWRU this Saturday, and wanted to be recovered
  • Victoria had plans in the afternoon and I needed to be home by 12:30 to work the day-care
I wasn't sure what the competition would be like and assumed most of the "veterans" would opt for the longer distances.  However, local college runner Patrick Fisher told me before the start that he was doing the half, so any hopes for winning went out the window.

I wore YakTrax Pro's over my shoes.  I have run in these several times with no issues but yesterday the left one would slip to the side, off my toe, every 2-3 miles.  I think I was pushing off harder than normal in an attempt to run "fast".  Not that you can run very fast in 6-8 inches of snow.

In the early part of the race, I was running 5th with a group of 3 right behind me, including Jim Chaney.  I talked with Jim a little and found out that he is the narrator for the Burning River course videos, which I really appreciate! (Even though I haven't done the race yet, I have viewed the videos to prepare for other runs in the area).

Eventually I stopped and stepped to the side to adjust my YakTrax.  I got going again and was now in 8th.  Another 2 guys were following right behind me and we ran together until I stopped again to mess with my shoe.  Now I was 10th, but a couple of them must have stopped at the 8-mile point and not continued on.

My first 6 miles were progressively slower, starting with 8:21 (mostly downhill) and slowing to 11:03 for #6.  Everything from 5-12 was in the 10's or 11's except for #9 (where I got lost).  Miles 10 and 11 were quicker than all but the first 4, at 10:03.

I really appreciated those volunteers that directed runners and worked at the aid stations and at the finish line.  What a hard job that is on a cold day.  Thank you!

After checking in at the start/finish area at 8 miles, I headed out on the 5-mile loop.  In the next mile there was a sort of canopy of pine trees overhead, covered with snow, it was so beautiful and peaceful!  I got to a spot where I wasn't sure if I should go left or right, and that cost me a couple minutes, I was hoping another runner would come along behind to show me the way but eventually I started walking and after a bit I saw an oranger streamer which showed me I was on the right path.

Pretty soon I did hear some runners catching me from behind, I worked hard the last 2-3 miles to hold my position, and in the results I was 8th overall out of 103 runners!  I think this is my best finish yet in a WRTR race!  My time was 2:22:22, results show 2:23:20.  Either is fine.

That is me in the picture, wearing the blue shirt, finishing strong (I hope).  Also wearing the glove/mittens I won at the Vertical Runner raffle on Christmas eve!

It was great to see many friends and other runners, and it was fun to hear some of the comments, as I was the only runner in shorts!  I was running hard though and generating lots of heat.  During the race I never was cold and never regretted the decision.

After the race I walked / jogged back out on the course to find Luke, he ran the half also and did well, finishing 31st in just under 3 hours.

He is in this picture, in the white jacket.  He really seems to enjoy running and racing, I guess he is crazy like his old man!

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