Stats: 13.1-miles in 1:26:15 @ 6:35/m pace #2 of 34 in the M45-49 age group #31 of 207 male finishers #37 of 407 total finishers
Yesterday was the 2010 Vancouver Lake Half Marathon across the Columbia from Portland in Vancouver, WA. The last time I ran this race was 2003 where I set my current (and still standing, unfortunately) PR of 1:24:21. I was feeling pretty good in the days and weeks leading up to the race and if the weather was decent (you never know in January in the Pacific Northwest) I felt I had a good shot at challenging that PR even though I set it seven long years ago.
Sunday morning was not what I had hoped for from the Weather Gods. As I waited for my daughter and my two buddies to arrive at the house it was dumping rain. Big, fat, heavy-drops kind of rain, but at least it wasn’t snowing. We drove north to Vancouver Lake Park and the start and it rained and whole time. And kept raining while we got our race numbers and sat huddled in the Outback. And it was still raining a few minutes before the start when we made our way there. But, a couple of minutes before the start it stopped raining…for a little while. Waiting for the race to start I had a chance to talk to a lot of my Ironhead Triathlon teammates and Mango Project running friends: Jamie, Ed, Troy, Tim, Dan, Pete, Cormac, Anne, and others. Having so many friends and my daughter out on the course was great since there were four separate out-and-back sections where we passed one another and it was fun to wave, holler, and give/get encouragement.
When the horn finally started I ran just behind Ed and alongside Pete for some of the first mile but when Ed started to pull away I decided to leave Pete to his own race and follow Ed as best I could. The course is very, very flat and the conditions were very good headed out the to the first turn-around and I settled into a pace that slightly uncomfortable but one which I thought I could maintain. I passed several runners who started out too fast and before long I was running on the path way along the canal. At this point I found myself running alone with a group of three runners about a 100 feet ahead that I just couldn’t quite catch up to.
I made my way out to the 2nd of four 180-degree turns and headed back towards the start I again got to see Mike, and Jen, and Jay and all the others running their own races. It was here, too, that the wind for the day made itself known. It wasn’t real bad, but it was strong enough that I could tell i t was affecting my pace. I was able to catch and pass two more runners on this stretch and then I was running along the path again and running cross to the wind instead of straight into it. Soon enough I passing the start area for the 2nd time and running back out the very section and the wind was at my back. Once I made the 180-degree turn again I saw there was a couple of runners behind me, but I didn’t think they’d catch me (they didn’t) and once again I was running into the wind. I was still on pace to be close to my PR time, but I was beginning to think I wouldn’t be able to break it. I tried to push a bit more, but I didn’t have a lot left in the tank. It helped that many of my friends were running the other way and it helped to see them and shout encouragement, but the rain had come back by then and the wind felt worse and I was tired. One more time through the start area and then I was out towards the final turn. I made that turn and once again was running with the wind to my back and less than a mile to go so I picked it up a bit more (at least I think I did) and pushed hard to the finish under a very heavy rainfall by that point.
I feel pretty good with my results and I’m not too disappointed with not beating my PR since I do have seven years of mileage on these old legs. I came close…and maybe next year I’ll try again. My effort yesterday did get me a 2nd place in my Age Group and bragging rights on the drive home with Mike and Jay! Oh, and my daughter took 6-minutes off her PR and busted out a 7:48/m pace for her race! Next up on the race calendar is the 2010 Shamrock 15K on March 14th.