Despite being in the middle of training for the TCS NYC Marathon on November 1st, I decided to really go after the Cedar City course again this year. Last year, I had some calf issues after the 10k mark, and hoped to avoid that this year.
Seeing a friend of mine from the Ragnar Relay days at the start line, I jumped into the corral by Paul, a few people away from the start line timing mat. Paul was hoping for a 1:30 half, and I wanted a 1:40, so we talked some before the race started, and stayed focused on the task at hand.
The race started, immediately, the one wheel chair entrant rolled his chair on its side. Runners were right there to help him get back into his chair, and on his way. Paul took a few stride lead, and I just tried to let gravity pull me down the hill.
Next thing I realize, we’re approaching the 5.5 mile point, and I am only a 1/10th of a mile behind Paul?! My pace was amazing for the morning’s effort. Being too distracted to calculate a finish time just yet, I didn’t spend too much time watching my watch, and focused on running.
After the 5.5 mile realization, I didn’t see Paul again, he went around a bend, and was gone. I settled in with another group of runners, talked some, and kept on running down the canyon. As we were preparing to turn off of the canyon road, onto the path through the park system, a decision had to be made. Did I keep running, and push through the discomfort, or stop at the portajohn, and do my best impersonation of a race horse. Impersonation won out, and I ducked off the course for a moment.
Leaving the confines with a start, my legs felt amazingly refreshed from that little break. My pace was back into an impressively fast range, and I was able to overtake the lady who was in front of me as I took my brief running pause. Shortly afterward, I caught up to, and went past, another lady I had been chasing down.
The spectators start to appear around this section, as there are some parks we run through, which allows families to bring the kids out, who are more than happy to provide motivational high fives.
Exiting the park trail system, we run through a neighborhood again, have a couple turns, a small (but seemingly large) climb, a taunting approach a block from the finish line, before another turn to get the last mile in.
Upon making the final turn, onto the final straight, closing in on the finish line, my natural (or is it trained) tendency to speed up kicked in. I passed a few more runners, but settled in just behind one other runner, so as to not rudely fly by so close to the finish chute.
My official finishing time was over 12 minutes off of my previous Half Marathon Personal Record, set a year earlier on the same course.