Monday, January 5, 2009

12/14/08: White Rock Half Marathon

Somewhere around and between all the traffic jams and mob scenes and pomp and circumstance at the White Rock Marathon and Half Marathon, they actually managed to run the races. The races seem like something between an afterthought and a necessary evil, overshadowed by the expo and the flyover and the dancing elephants and the talking giraffe which I probably sound like a grumpy old man right about now but that’s because I don’t want hassle; I just want to run. Unless I’m tired, in which case I just want to walk, or nap or whatever.

It’s always interesting to hear the different perspectives people have on the weather – spectators thought it was great, half marathoners mediocre, marathoners piss poor. Driving down to Victory Park sometime before seven in the morning, the weather bulletin board on 183 showed a temperature of 67 degrees and humidity of 67%, but it didn’t feel quite that bad mostly because it was overcast and windy. Running the half, the skies stayed cloudy and the wind helped keep me cool when I was running into it, most notably while running south on Skillman. Around 10:30, after I was finished, I was standing outside the American Airlines Center and I saw the sun come out from behind the clouds and I knew things were about to get a lot tougher for the marathoners and half marathoners still out on the course.

I started the half way too close to the front of the pack; my strategy was try to keep up with the crowd as best I could while working my way to the outside as quickly as possible. Then, once I felt like I was out of the speedsters’ way, I’d drop back to a pace I felt more comfortable with. For the first three miles my legs felt like lead mostly from playing too much ultimate frisbee the day before (league games – couldn’t be avoided) but once I got used to a certain level of discomfort it never really got any worse. I cruised through the first ten miles at about 8:30 pace before tiring and slowing; I took one walking break of about two-tenths of a mile around the 12-mile mark and finished in about 1:54:30. An unofficial 1:54:30; my stupid timing tag came off about halfway through the race. I was happy with my time mostly because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to run more than half the distance and wound up running it about as fast as I did the Madison Half.

I wasn’t nearly as happy with the postrace food as I was with my run; it was severely downgraded from what I remembered them having the last time I ran this race two years ago. Then they had the food on the floor at the AAC and it was take as much as you want and they had all sorts of cookies and fruit and chips and other stuff (maybe even pizza); this year they had a tent sent up between the finish lines and you could shuffle through there and pick up one granola-type item, one yogurt-type item and one fruit-type item. I think I wound up going to Denny’s where I ordered up one Gran Slam-type item.

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