Sunday, September 12, 2010

Harrisburg Half Marathon

This is my second year doing the Harrisburg Half Marathon. Last year I brought my wife's friend, Dr. Jen Lutz, but this year she couldn't make it because she was working.   This year I brought my wife's other friend, Stacie Zozos.  I am helping her to train for the Marines Corps Marathon in October, if any one is interested, she is raising money for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) and you can read more about that here.  I wasn't really nervous except for over sleeping or doing something stupid like that.  But I didn't do any of that.  So this is how my morning went.

Woke up after the strangest dream I ever had before a race.  The dream is just too weird to explain, just take my word for it, it was strange and I was glad to find out it was just a dream at 4:30.  At 4:30 am the alarm sounded and like normal I hit snooze four time before I got out of bed (On a side note I went to a wedding in Gettysburg last night that we did not leave until about 8:30 or so, which meant we couldn't stop at Bruster's on the way home, and we didn't get home for 10:00 or so and after my nightly ice cream snack it was around 10:30 or 11:00 before I went to bed.  The wedding was very nice though)  But anyways after I got up, I got dressed kissed my beautiful wife and beautiful daughter good bye, and told them both I loved them.  Then I went down stairs ate a Cliff Bar, and checked the Weather Channel (Not the normal Weather Channel, but the Weather Channel that Verizon FIOS has that just has the local weather on a loop), I noticed the rain was breaking up and should probably stop before the race starts, but I figure the course would be wet and a number of puddles would be on the Island and around the river front.

After the breakfast and the putting baby powder on my feet (This is suppose to help prevent blisters, and it normally works for me), I text'd Stacie and I was on my way over to her house.  I picked Stacie up and she was somewhat nervous but not to much.  This would have been the longest run she ever did so I was thinking she would be a little more nervous, but she seemed fine.  We got to the island around 7 am, and it was raining, but not to bad and we were off to pick up our chips.  (Here is a little side note, why is the Harrisburg Races not using the disposable chips like the big races, I was thinking it might be the cost, but even Frederick Marathon and Half Marathon had them, and that race wasn't any bigger than this one).  After I got my chip we had to figure were Stacie's chip was, and when I say "we" I mean the people running the race, had no idea were her chip was, but after I made a bathroom stop and I was back she had the chip.

After we got all the stuff we needed, and I saw Kathy (The mid-wife that delivered Bex), and exchange greetings with her we went back to the car and sat there listening to some 90's on 9 on the Sirrus radio and got ready, and about 30 minutes of that we started walking toward the start line (By the way no one knew were the start line was because it wasn't marked).  I took a warm up lap around the island, and then I met back up Stacie and my swim coach Andy, and later by another friend Howard, who also swims with us on Tuesday and Thursday nights at Central Penn Fitness (Well they swim, and I am not sure what you call what I do in the water is, but I am pretty sure it isn't swimming but they are much faster than I am). After talking about some race strategy, both Howard and Andy were taking this easy because they were getting ready for Chesapeake Man (that is a full ironman triathlon if you didn't know), I was trying to see if I had a shot in hell of qualifying for Boston when I run the NYC marathon so I was going to go fast.  We then were trying to listen to the race director, but we really couldn't hear him, and then we were off.

Will almost we had to get Stacie's watch working and then we were off.  We went around City island and then we took the Market Street Bridge and then down front street.  My first mile was slow around 7:29, I like to think that was trying to work around the crowd.  My second mile was faster at 7:04 and I was getting into a comfortable rhythm, well after I had to tie my shoe I was getting into a pretty good rhythm.  The race went by pretty fast after that, I remember running a section of the Green Belt by that park at PennDot, and seeing Stacie's Mom at PennDot and Bob Seacord, from the Team and Training.  The race went along the river just past the Harvey Taylor Bridge and then we went back up on to Front Street.  We stayed on Front Street turned right onto Vaughn and then left onto the 2nd Street and right onto Edwin Dr and then another right on Green and then back on to the Vaughn and then back onto Front Street.  I saw some of my friends on the way back to the island, and exchange the common "You are doing great keep it up."  I was pretty much moving at this point only, after mile six there wasn't a single mile over seven minutes, most of them were around 6:55 or so, and I was feeling pretty good at the end of the race, I felt like I could probably go another three or four miles, probably not another 13.1, but I may give it the old college try at NYC especially if my training goes well.

At the very end I did get a "friendly" elbow from a fellow runner, I don't think it was on purpose, and I was raised to forgive instead of holding a grudge (even if I don't practice all the time, I should).  At the end I congratulated him, and told him it was all good.  I took at my timing chip off and picked up my medal (which was really nice this year by the way).  I dropped the medal off at my car and then headed back to the course to make sure Stacie was doing okay.  I was almost sure she would be doing fine with Sue, but I told here I would meet back up with her on the course and I needed to get a few more miles in anyways, so I was running backwards on the course to see if I could help her and Sue finish.  After getting many weird looks from other runners, many of them telling me I was going the wrong way, and seeing Andy and Howard and some of my other friends, I finally caught with them.  It was somewhere around mile eleven and half or so, and Stacie was telling me she was hitting around a 10:30 mile pace which is really good.  We kept up that pace as we went back by the river, we got up on the Walnut Street bridge and we were flying, Stacie sprinted the last 300 feet or so, and we finished.  We met up with her family took some photos.  Then we went to the pavilion, for some food, but none of us were hungry and then we headed home for a nice nap and some professional football (I'm not a big fan, but really it is that or some dumb show that the Discovery Channel is showing)   

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