Weather: Partly Cloudy, 37°F, 76% Humidity, Wind: SW @ 6 mph.
Route: Winter Warrior Half Marathon
Time (Pace): 38:20 (7:40 min/mile)
Pre-Race Observations: Somehow this traditional pre-St. Patrick's Day weekend run is 20° colder than the Winter Warrior Half Marathon I took part in back in January. Despite temperatures of higher than 50°F this past week, this morning I awoke to frost on the windows and the real thought that I might need to wear tights for today's run. The desire to wear green, orange and festive colors went by the wayside as I sought to wear something that would keep me warm for the fairly short run. The runs I completed this past week suggest that my goal of bettering my time from last year's run (42:44/8:33 pace) was within reach, though the possibility of a lengthy bottleneck at the start would be problematic.
Post-Run Reflections: By the time the race went off at 9:30 a.m. the temperature had warmed, especially in the sun, which was fortunately bright. Though I had anticipated the likelihood of wearing a long sleeved running short, I left that behind as I went to the line, choosing instead to go with a short-sleeved running shirt with a cotton tee over it. The weather was perfect, allowing for me to take my knit gloves off at mile 3. I felt confident and strong going out at the start (which included the usual bottle of walkers if strollers lining up in front) and despite passing the mile marker at approximate 7:30, that turned out to be the correct pace as I finished with a mile pace of 7:44, taking over four minutes off my time last year. I could definitely feel the pace wearing on me in the last half mile but was motivated by the electronic clock (showing the gun time) which suggested I might just break 40 minutes, if I was lucky.
I left the race knowing I had bested last year's time, and eventually sitting down six hours later, it was rewarding to see that I had done so by quite a solid margin. In the end, I placed an admirable 255 overall of 1557 finishers, and 26 of 105 in the competitive M45-49 gender/age group.