It was with great excitement that I made my way to Franklin Park in Boston, MA for the fourth half-marathon of this year/my life. Having run several high school and college cross country meets at Franklin Park I’ve developed a deep connection and resonance with the area, as I’m sure have many others.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of running in the New Bedford Half Marathon, one of New England’s premier races. This race was a lot of fun and a huge reminder of the BENEFITS of gradual progress. This was my second half marathon, and my first time doing a road half. My first half was the indoor track palooza I did in January.
Over the weekend I competed in the smuttynose palooza indoor half marathon. Yes, you read that correctly, *indoor* half marathon. I saw this race advertised online a while back and thought it would be a nice opportunity to make my debut at the half-marathon distance. Despite having run two full marathons, I have never raced a half, until this weekend.
I didn’t train specifically for this race, I Just did what I normally do which is a lot of slow running, a little fast running, and a good amount of core strength and yoga. I was mainly using the race to get an idea of where my fitness might be.
I got to the race nice and early so I could check out the track and watch the half-marathon relay. This would give me somewhat of an idea of what to expect in my race. I did some barefoot walking and very slow running and body looseners to make sure I was nice and loose when the race started. Although I was not really concerned about time, I did do a little math to figure out various lap splits. The track is about 300 meters, and it is about 5.2 laps per mile. In other words, it is not a normal length track so any numbers I am used to hearing would mean nothing in this race. I basically did this to make sure I wasn’t running too fast in the early stages of the race.
We lined up casually at the start and before I knew it, someone had already said “go” so off I went. I started out nice and relaxed and slower than I thought I should. This was again, to make sure I didn’t start off too fast. I figured coming off three track meets running shorter, faster races might have me going out too fast for a 13.1 mile race, so I made sure to take it extra easy in the first mile. During that mile there was a group of three guys about 10 meters ahead of me.
After the first mile I was feeling settled in and very good so I took the lead and didn’t look back. From there it was about 60 laps going around and around and around. I held my pace pretty consistently, with my fastest miles being mile 9 and 10. Luckily I didn’t get bored in the race. Quite the contrary – I was engaged and excited the whole way. There was music blaring and a great announcer that would call out split times and make comments. It was cool to be the leader and have the announcer say my name as I completed lap, after lap, after lap (68 total laps!)
My main focus for the race was staying super relaxed, especially in my face, neck and shoulders. This focus seemed to work well, as I felt smooth for the entire time. I can see some differences in the video from my left and right side. Always something to work on...
There were 60 people in the race and I began lapping people somewhat early on, but this wasn’t a bother, it was actually nice to give and receive encouragement from the other runners.
I ended up finishing up in about 1:19 for my half marathon debut which is fine for this point of my training. After I finished the race I grabbed a seat and had some coconut water with a scoop of recovery accelerator. One of my favorite things in the world is the feeling of good nutrition moving through the body after a solid effort. Despite having run 13+ miles at right around 6 minute mile pace, I felt similar to how I feel after any other track race. It really didn’t feel like I had “raced” at all, and this is good news as it indicates I had a lot more in the tank. It will be interesting to see how much I can bring the time down once I run a half marathon on the roads.
Overall, the smuttynose palooza indoor half marathon was a great experience. The race was well run, plenty of food and beer, easy registration and check in process etc. The other great thing was the chip system which allowed each lap to be tracked by computer. It was great to get updates on how far along in the race I was. Some people told me I was crazy for doing an indoor half marathon but the truth is – it’s cold and I would rather race inside where it’s warm then outside in single digit temperatures.
BUT DOESN’T THE TRACK WRECK YOUR BODY?
Some people expressed concern that running 68 laps on an indoor track would wreck my body. I’m sure the constant left turns caused a little bit of imbalance in my body but I don’t think it’s a really big deal. The day after the race I ran very slow for about 2 hours and afterwards I felt fine. No harm done from the track. Next up is another track meet where I will once again be running the 3,000 meter.
Kripalu Yoga Class
Mondays @ 7:15pm
OFF Season Physical Therapy
Cost is $12