Monday, November 25, 2013

Cleveland West Road Runners Club Fall Classic Half Marathon

Yes, that's a mouthful. And there's plenty to say about it as well. Luckily for you, dear reader, I am in a brief (vs boxer) sort of mood today.

I carpooled with John Pavlick and Amy Grentzer, The weather forecast had been for snow showers with 1-3 inches possible, along with a low of 19, a high of 26, and extremely cold winds. Sure enough, it was 19, and those extremely cold winds made it feel like it was in the low single digits. The snow didn't materialize, however. But standing around before the start was C. O. L. D! We saw some other friends and were able to commiserate a little. Once I started to warm up, things felt better. Except whenever I ran into the wind.
Before the start

And once the race actually started, I began to warm up some more. I went right out at my usual 7:30 pace, and actually felt okay. I'd averaged 7:30 at my last half - the Inland Trail Half - only a few weeks ago. I'd been thinking that I could do better this time, and maybe I could.

But then I turned around, and felt the wind in my face. This race, which I've done more times than I can count, is a double out and back on the Valley Parkway in Strongsville. It winds around a lot, but there are no hills. One of the neat things about it is seeing all your friends, regardless of your speed or their speed, so many times during the race. This year it was no different. Except that everyone was so bundled up, it was at times hard to recognize everyone.

Oh yes, the turn. As I headed back north and west the wind nearly stood me up. And it felt as cold as ever. I went by many of the 5K runners for my first circuit through the start/finish area. My time was something like 49 minutes and change. I'd slowed down a bit.

Somewhere in the middle
Now came the second half. Could I pick it up? I ran much of the way with Eileen Meisler. There was quite a bit of back and forth with her and a few others. As we turned back for the final 5K, that wind hit once again. But Eileen got ahead of me and picked it up some more. I tried to follow.

I did manage to pass her and a couple others in the final 1/2 mile, but one guy passed me. I think those last two miles were my fastest. My time was 1:39:19. That was tough!

Once again, it was fun, but C. O. L. D. to hang out at the finish, talking with everyone about that cold wind, and how cold we all felt. Naturally that only made us feel colder. I changed, but my hands were still freezing until John lent me his warm gloves.

I found out that I was second in my age group, but a matter of seven or so seconds. I hadn't seen the guy, but then remembered that the awards were based on chip time; he may have been behind me.

Maybe next year will be my year. Oh yes. I do have at least one more race for this year. Some little thing called BW50K.

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