Because I never learn from my “mistakes,” I did the same thing I did in 2014 — registered for Paine to Pain a year in advance. Largely because September 25, 2016 marks five years since the Half Marathon from Hell, and I wanted to run the same race, but it no longer exists, so I had to settle for another half in its place, and this one would do as well as any other!
Of course, when I did that early registration thing last year, I did not know that I would end up with a calcaneal stress fracture a few days later with which I would end up running my goal half the following week.
My fall goal half is next week. This is a little too eerie for me.
And so even though my stress fracture had absolutely nothing to do with the shoes I wore for this race last year, I oh-so-coincidentally came across a pair of Cascadias in my size (well, my size in the men’s version) at the Paragon Warehouse Sale a couple of weeks ago and snatched them up. Because I need to do things differently this year, since clearly something went very wrong last year. Even if it wasn’t this.
I was also supposed to not run as hard as I did last year. I don’t know what that even means, since I find it very difficult to gauge my effort level on trails — I’m too busy trying not to face plant to focus on anything else! But since I am probably marginally faster than last year, I figured I could squeeze out a one-second PR and satisfy myself with that.
Murray chauffeured some of us up to the race, which was much appreciated — especially the part where I was able to hop in a few blocks from my front door! It was pretty chilly once we got up there… and I do not like that, as we all know.
The porta-potties were delightfully on level ground this year (because there was no deluge the day before the race), and I do always appreciate not falling into a toilet, so that’s a big plus. And the gender-specific shirts seem to fit much better this time! I mean, I didn’t actually see myself in it, but I pulled it on over the shirt I was already wearing and my desired size was long enough to cover my navel, which was not the case last year (and it was still stupidly short after I went up a size), so there is that.
This race is super organized and well-run, so we had some extra time to stand around and shiver! Apparently I’ve moved up in life, because I was in wave 2 last year and wave 1 this year, so at least I had a few minutes less of that nonsense.
It was actually warmer than last year, I think. Because last year, I didn’t push up my sleeves until we were well onto the trails, and this year I didn’t even make it half a mile before I decided it was too warm for long sleeves.
It was also sunnier than last year, which is not necessarily a good thing for me — I don’t like wearing sunglasses on trails, because I need to be able to see the ground without any barriers, but sometimes there is no tree cover and then I can’t see because of that. At least it was drier — the rocks at the stream crossings weren’t slick, so I was able to run on them this time. And I did not walk on the monster hill in mile 9. I may as well have, given how slowly I was moving, but I did not. Yay, me.
Angela was volunteering at the second aid station at mile 7.5(ish). My watch was measuring all wacky, which I know happens on trails, but because of that I was under the impression that I was running slower than last year. When I reached the 10K marker at 5.8 on my watch, I thought maybe that wasn’t the case, except it’s not actually marking 10K — it’s a general suggestion. Somewhere in the vicinity of 10K. So who knows.
For some reason, I remembered the first half of the race as harder than the second half. So I did not care that people streamed past me in the first few miles. I did end up catching some of them later, which is always satisfying. (Especially when it’s someone who zooms past you, then slows down right in front of you, then zooms past you again when you overtake them. That drives me crazy. Even more crazy than encountering a dog-walker on a single-track trail. Having been jumped by a dog while running before, they aren’t my favorite creatures to come across.)
I actually passed Oren around the midway point. He passed me back a couple of miles later, then I passed him with around 5K to go. And then he passed me again not long before we left the trails altogether, but since he’s not a female, I don’t really care that much. And I’m not supposed to be racing this!!
Except that once we were on the track (the race finishes on the track at New Rochelle High School), I had to catch the woman who was tantalizingly close to me. I just can’t pass up the opportunity to do that with a finish line in sight.
Last year, my watch measured 13 miles even. So I did run faster this year… 12.87 miles in 1:50:18, 8:34/mi. And based on HR, I ran harder than I should have. But the average was 17 bpm lower than last year, so I really must have gone overboard back then. Geez.
Officially, 13.1 miles in 1:50:15, 8:25/mi. 154/711 OA, 19/236 F, 7/80 F30-39.
My one-second PR turned into a 2:17 PR. Pity I didn’t already break 1:50 while I was at it, but I’m not exactly upset about that. I can worry about it the next time I do this race. Because I am insane and a glutton for punishment and over the course of a year I will forget that trail races like to chew me up and spit me out.
Finish Line was one of the race sponsors, so there were foam rollers available — that was nice! But I had to abandon them pretty quickly since Katie and I swapped cars with Ben and Chris (the crazy fast PPTC people who won awards and wanted to stay for the ceremony) and rode back with Oren instead of Murray.
What I did not realize was that Oren was coming back from another route, so instead of hopping out a few blocks from home, I had a lovely little 1.7 mile cool down walk, because I am an idiot and did not take along my Metrocard. Ah, well. At least I could walk. Some people take that ability for granted. I never do.
Because I am so, so, so scared of a repeat of last year, I can hardly see straight.