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Cheshire (CT) Half

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fostever
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Michele "1L" Keane
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Alex Kubacki
Michael Enright
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Cheshire (CT) Half Empty Cheshire (CT) Half

Post  Michael Enright Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:06 pm

I'm training for the marathon in Burlington, VT, which is in 4 weeks, and this new half marathon looked perfect for a bit of a test race. "A" goal was a PR, but based on my last few weeks of training, I thought that was off the table. Still, I figured I'd give it a shot and see what happened. No suspense, I finished well off PR pace. But it was a good test and told me I am right about where I thought - capable of running another sub-4 marathon, but probably not much faster than that. I've been doing nothing but GA training for about the last year, when I developed the PF that knocked me out of my Vermont training last year, so it comes as no surprise that I am not picking up speed doing that during my mid-50s.

I thought I'd get over to the race nice and early, given that it was the inaugural run, and logistical challenges could be expected. So, I arrived about 7:00, thinking I was about an hour pre-race. It took me about half an hour to figure out that the race didn't start until 8:30! This was just the beginning of my confusion for the day.

I took a look around for Alex, but didn't see him. I used the porta potty a couple of times. Probably only needed to use it once, but there were no real lines that early. There were later (they only had 18 porta units), so I was glad I took care of that. And I just hung around. I was glad during this long wait that I was dressed as warmly as I was, but it turned out I was over-dressed by the time the gun went off. I had on long running pants and long sleeves over a short-sleeved T. I could have done without that stuff. My last couple of races have been very cold, windy affairs, and I didn't want to be cold. But this time I was a little warm. Didn't matter in the end, I think.

The chute was a nightmare after I got in it. They had trouble getting all the people to line up in back, because of the way they set it up. No worries for me. I got in early and lined up just about right for me. And then I saw Alex across the way, so made my way over, said hi and wished him a good race. And he had one!

The gun sounded, and we were off. I lost a little bit of time to the crowd in the chute, but not a lot. I had planned to take the first mile a bit slower, expecting congestion and just wanting to warm up and not overdo it (which I have done before!). The first mile came in just right, at about 8:35. So now I figured I'd crank it up to goal pace (about 8:00) and hold it there as long as I could, and maybe even a little faster at the end and squeeze out the PR.

As I approached mile 2, I looked down at my watch to get ready to hit the split button, and was confused by what I saw. I figured it out quickly enough - when I hit the mile 1 split, I hit the "pause" button instead of the "lap" button. It was still stuck at the mile 1 split. Dang. What to do? I figured to heck with it, I am terrible at keeping track of the data anyway, and having it off this way would complicate things, so I just powered it down. I'd run by the race clocks and by feel. More by feel, as it turned out.

I seemed to be running about the right pace based on the splits I saw at mile 2 and 3, compensating for that first slow mile. But then we headed onto the canal trail (which, although a bit congested, was not overly-congested, and was really nice), and there were markers, but not split clocks. Oh, well. Maybe .2 before mile 7, just before we turned onto the road, there were volunteers calling out splits, but they were not at halfway, and they were not at mile 7. That was weird, and not useful.

I was feeling ok, but not tremendous, and not very speedy. I just kept plugging along at what I hoped was close to 8:00. At the mile 8 split, I determined that I was averaging about 8:20 per. So, I figured I'd better change my goal. I did some quick arithmetic and thought I could probably still break 1:50 if I didn't slow down, and maybe better, if I could speed up in the last 3.1 or 2.1, depending on how I felt when I got there. The terrain was gentle rolling hills, really pretty nice. There was a bit of a headwind occasionally, but it was never a factor, except for maybe about a third of a mile late in the race, and not a big deal by any means.

Then, I got really confused. I lost track of things a bit here. I felt fine, but between missing mile markers and being confused by the splits I heard called out, I had no idea where I was on the course for the last few miles. I probably would have run a little harder for the last couple if I had known. Whatever.

I hit mile 10, at least I thought it was mile 10, and a guy was calling out splits, but the number he called out made no sense to me. I forget what it was, but it told me I was running way too slow to break 1:50 (I didn't feel like I slowed down much, if at all!). At the same time, in retrospect, it was too fast to be a correct mile 11 split.

I figured what the heck, just keep going, but don't speed up yet, and did that. When I got to the next split clock (I didn't see a marker) the time read 1:41:xx. I thought this was mile 11 and wondered how the wheels had fallen off so badly - I still had 2.1 to go. But then I heard someone call out that there was just one more mile left. 1.1, I guess. I wasn't sure whether I should believe him! I started speeding up, because I knew I could, but I didn't crank it as much as I would have if I was sure it was really mile 11. After a little while, I gathered from where we were that it was the final mile, so I went faster, but still held back just a bit - worried that I was further out than I thought, and not wanting to flame out. Finally, I knew where we were, and cranked it up more, and passing a fair number of people. Then, we took a sharp turn onto the track for the finish, and in the 2/3 of a lap or so that we ran on that, I was basically sprinting. Passed some people, onto the homestretch, and saw the clock ahead read 1:49:xx, and just wanted to break 1:50, and sprinted harder, and knew I would, and it was probably 1:49:39, or something.

I saw Alex right away, chatted a bit (hard to hear over the announcer). He had a great race, like I said. I was happy with how mine turned out. Clearly, I can run a 4 hour marathon in 4 weeks, weather permitting. Probably not much faster than that, but that's ok, that's been my goal since I started this training cycle, and I seem to be on target. Plus, I felt great after about 5 minutes, and I clearly did not tax myself too much in this race, so that's a plus, actually.

I would run this race again. They need to figure some things out with the markers and splits, and why would you hand out gu AFTER the water stop, but what the heck? It's their first run of this one, and its a nice course.

So, in general, a good day in Cheshire, and I'm happy and smiling like the cat!
Michael Enright
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Post  Alex Kubacki Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:18 pm

Great job today Michael. A nice speed run to get you ready for Vermont. Congrats on getting it done. It was great seeing you again.
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Post  mul21 Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:58 pm

Nice job in spite of the watch and course issues! That should set you up nicely for a sub 4:00.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:17 pm

Congrats, Michael. I think you are right on track for that sub-4.
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Post  Michael Enright Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:46 pm

mul21 wrote:Nice job in spite of the watch and course issues! That should set you up nicely for a sub 4:00.
Thanks. I think the issues were more about me than the course or the watch! I'm big on race time confusion...
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Post  Michael Enright Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:47 pm

Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Congrats, Michael. I think you are right on track for that sub-4.
Thanks Michele - I think you're right!
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Post  dot520 Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:49 pm

Not sure where my post went.....

You certainly had your share of 'off' things at the beginning of the race and then to be running split 'blind', well...you had an awesome finish! Congratulations.
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Post  Michael Enright Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:09 pm

dot520 wrote:Not sure where my post went.....

You certainly had your share of 'off' things at the beginning of the race and then to be running split 'blind', well...you had an awesome finish! Congratulations.

Thanks Dot! All things considered, I'm pretty happy with the way the whole crazy thing went.
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Post  fostever Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:00 pm

Looking great for a sub 4:00 if ya ask me. Nice run, Michael!
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Post  John Kilpatrick Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:40 pm

Sub 4 is a great goal based on that race. I know how I am, so I chuckled when reading your report. I can imagine the endless calculations in your mind and the going round in circles after the watch pause boo-boo. Classic. Really good job today and I agree with the GU thing - maybe someone should actually talk with a few runners before setting the aid stations up!!! Anyway, congrats!!!

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Post  Michael Enright Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:08 am

Thanks guys!

They were handing out the gu just past the water/gatorade, so it was ok as I had some water and gatorade in my belly, but I probably would have stuck with water if I'd known I was about to be handed a gu.
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Post  Dave-O Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:21 pm

Good stuff. Passing grade on the test; onto the big one!
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Post  Michael Enright Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:32 pm

Dave-O wrote:Good stuff. Passing grade on the test; onto the big one!

Thanks Dave. Coming up soon!
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Post  Schuey Sat May 12, 2012 2:50 pm

Little late but nice race report! Always good to have a race to give feedback to were you are in your training and to know you are on track for your goal for the marathon.
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Post  Chris M Sat May 12, 2012 11:25 pm

Michael Enright wrote:
Dave-O wrote:Good stuff. Passing grade on the test; onto the big one!

Thanks Dave. Coming up soon!
Allright, I'm going to be a little more harsh....yeah, absolutely passing grade on the mid-cycle tune up half. I'll even give you an 'A' on the pure running.

But Garmin use? FAIL. You hit pause at a mile marker (a goof but not the end of the world) and then you REALLY have me scratching my head when your response is to power down the whole watch! Ha ha. Imagine this using a garmin/nav system in a car...oh shoot, I missed the turn it told me to take there.....nothing to do now but rip the thing out of dashboard and throw it out the window!

Next time just do the 3 second hold button reset and start a new workout at the next mile marker!

Looks like all systems go for Vermont but let's avoid any Garmin user error up there!
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Post  Michael Enright Sun May 13, 2012 1:25 pm

Schuey wrote:Little late but nice race report! Always good to have a race to give feedback to were you are in your training and to know you are on track for your goal for the marathon.
Thanks Schuey, and happy Mother's Day to your bride!
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Post  Michael Enright Sun May 13, 2012 1:30 pm

Chris M wrote:
Michael Enright wrote:
Dave-O wrote:Good stuff. Passing grade on the test; onto the big one!

Thanks Dave. Coming up soon!
Allright, I'm going to be a little more harsh....yeah, absolutely passing grade on the mid-cycle tune up half. I'll even give you an 'A' on the pure running.

But Garmin use? FAIL. You hit pause at a mile marker (a goof but not the end of the world) and then you REALLY have me scratching my head when your response is to power down the whole watch! Ha ha. Imagine this using a garmin/nav system in a car...oh shoot, I missed the turn it told me to take there.....nothing to do now but rip the thing out of dashboard and throw it out the window!

Next time just do the 3 second hold button reset and start a new workout at the next mile marker!

Looks like all systems go for Vermont but let's avoid any Garmin user error up there!

I can't argue with that, really!
Although your analogy re the car is a bit over the top, at least I got a
real good laugh out of that one (actually sounds like something I'd be
inclined to do!).
I'm kind of glad I turned it off. I don't know why I get so dimwitted in
races with whatever time piece I have on my wrist and/or hitting the splits, but I do it over and
over again. Can't tell you how many mile markers I have just flat out
not seen. Just crazy.
As it turns out, part of my confusion at mile 10 was because they marked
it way wrong. There were a lot of complaints about this on Active's
site about the race. So at least I'm not completely disconnected from
reality.
Though sometimes that's not so clear...
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Post  Chris M Sun May 13, 2012 7:30 pm

Makes sense. It did sound as though they didn't have the course marking/time calling thing down at all. I could see how that would be very confusing. At least you thought you had 2.1 to go and it was only 1.1. Plenty of times I've thought I had less to go and then come to the next mile marker and have that little fantasty bubble burst.
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Post  Michael Enright Sun May 13, 2012 7:39 pm

Chris M wrote:Makes sense. It did sound as though they didn't have the course marking/time calling thing down at all. I could see how that would be very confusing. At least you thought you had 2.1 to go and it was only 1.1. Plenty of times I've thought I had less to go and then come to the next mile marker and have that little fantasty bubble burst.
That would truly suck!
It was a very strange feeling. Only time I can remember underestimating distance to the finish of a race was a 10k a couple years ago. I thought it ended back at the start line, and found out the hard way that the finish was a fair piece beyond the start. I didn't like that one bit!
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