Report: Fall Classic HM
Coming off a PR in the marathon 4 weeks ago, I planned to end the racing season and shut it down for the year. After a week off, I ran a couple tempo miles and found that I had some speed left over and my T-pace actually picked up some. I decided to race one more. I few factors helped me decide:
- Andrea was targeting this race (I'd be there anyway)
- It was the only race in the Cleveland West Road Runners race series that I had not previously done (going for the career CWRRC race "slam," including the Spring Classic, Rocky River 5 Mile, Mohican Trail 100, Bay Days, and now the Fall Classic)
- I had not raced the half marathon distance since September 2005 (with a soft PR 1:26)
So I thought why not run one more race. Based on the tempo runs of the last two weeks, I had a stretch goal of sub-1:23 (sub 6:20 pace) to possibly earn the lottery by-pass for NYCM.
Training: Since the marathon and the easy post-race week, I've run about 40 miles per week with one 3-4 mile tempo run. Tempo run four days ago was 6:08/6:11/6:08, so I felt fairly confident about a PR effort today.
This past week has been unseasonably cold and snowy like a January winter. It was 14F when we drove up to the race and barely 24F at the start. I was still thinking of wearing shorts, but decided on tights, l/s tech shirt, hat and gloves. The choice of attire worked out well.
This race usually has good attendance - I had heard post-race there were about 800 runners combined in the HM and 5k. After a 25 minute easy warm-up, I shed the extra layers and head to the start. I only got in a few easy strides. Then the start:
2- 6:51 (average of miles 1 & 2 = 6:14)
Mile one kind of surprised me but I did not feel like I was going that fast (better than 5k pace) and mile two confirmed that the first marker was off. I settled in.
The course is a flat double loop consisting mainly of a three-mile stretch of metropark road. An out-and back performed twice with two small side-loops included. Most of the road was clear of snow but the two side-loops had some perilously slippery ice where we had to slow down to avoid falling.
By the first turnaround at three miles, I worked myself up to 9th position and was immediately swept up by a pack of four runners and landed in 13th. I wondered if I started out too fast.
7- 6:33 (icy loop and dodging 5k runners)
The seventh mile the course was congested a bit as we caught some of the 5k runners and also had to dance on some ice through the side-loop on the metropark path. I survive the first half, still on pace for 1:23, and wonder if I bit off too much.
9- 6:27 (icy loop)
I'm not sure if the tenth mile was marked right. I was still feeling okay as I passed ten in 1:03:21 which bettered my 10 mile PR. I did the quick math and figured I needed to push it to get the 19:40 final 5k to hit my goal. A couple guys passed me and I was in 14th position, or so.
13- 6:37 (icy loop)
Watch time: 1:23:38
Considering the cold temps and icy turns, I can't complain. I just PR'd by nearly 2.5 minutes and finished 15th OA (I think) and 3rd AG. If the conditions were better, who knows?
I went to the car to grab the camera and jogged a mile cool-down to finish with Andrea, who had a good race too. Here are a few photos from the day:
Frigid 14F when we arrived for race registration.
During cool-down. Most of the race was on metropark road like this one.
Andrea approaching the finish on one of the icy loops. You can't really see it, but the footing was treacherous in a few spots.
Thanks for reading.