Since I began running in 2007, I have run 7 marathons and 15 ultramarathons. Surprisingly, until Saturday's Lewis-Clark Half Marathon in Clarkston, WA, I had never attempted a half-marathon.
The race is put on by the Seaport Striders, a club about 30 miles south of where I live. I've participated in a couple of their races this year and I really enjoy them -- they're low-key and low-fee.
When I woke early to the thermometer reading 30-degrees F, I took a deep breath and finally admitted to myself that summer had gone. And what a great summer it was. But no time to waste, autumn is here and it won't wait for me.
Sadie and I drove down with my buddy, Joe. No dogs allowed for this event, though, so Sadie had to wait for me until post-race to get some running in. It was a bit warmer down in the Lewiston-Clarkston valley, with a temperature in the low 40's for the start.
The course is a flat out-and-back along the Snake River. I seemed to remember that I had hit the half-marathon split during my Foot Traffic Flat marathon in July at around 1:25, so I thought that was a good aiming point for this race. I hadn't done much speed work since then, and even less since my Run Across Idaho in August. But I knew I could run a sub-1:25, I just didn't know if I had it in me for this particular morning.
A group of about 10 shot out like a gun. Our pace was pretty quick and I settled in behind another guy at the back of the lead group for the first mile. A 5k fun run was attached to the half-marathon and they started at the same time as us. My impression was there were only a few people doing the 5k, but when we reached the 5k turnaround there were about 6 or 7 guys ahead of me who made the turnaround. I found myself in third place about 50 meters back from the leader, Joe, and a guy tailing him.
I hit the turnaround point at 42:30 (6:29min/mile) and still in third place. However, the fourth and fifth place guys were close enough (maybe within a minute or so) that I had a bit of incentive to pick up the pace a little for the second half. I fought the urge to glance back to see if they'd gained ground on me until about mile 11 when my wheels felt like they were going to come off. I looked back and saw no one behind me. Not sure what I would have done if I had. :)
There was a very small (but very noticeable!) climb up to the finish line, and I rolled across in 1:24:09 (6:25min/mile) for third place overall. My buddy Joe was overall winner. Full results .