So looking at some friends blogs, I realized just how painfully close the Martinsville half really is. I’m not sure I’m ready. I know I wont be as fast as I wish I was. Ahh wait. I’m ahead of myself here.
This past Saturday I ran the DDA Shamrock 5k. A basically flat, uneventful race. Of course it was fast, being flat and all. I ran a 21:46, finished 15th overall and 3rd in my age group. I have recently decided that my age group is extremely tough to place in. I was lucky this weekend, but normally it seems that it takes a sub-20 to make the cut. I of course ran with team Goodyear men, and we had a heck of a showing. I was last on the “competitive” team, bringing in 5 of the first 15 people to finish.
I also thought to bring a camera, which is highly unusual. I always say I am, and then I forget. But here we are. Can you pick the top 5 runners out of the crowd? (Hint: you’d be surprised if you’re judging a book by its cover)
I also am not sure if I’ve ever pictured myself on the blog…if not, that’s me in the red shoes.
So that was Saturday’s excitement, but Sunday was the real challenge of the weekend. I knew the Martinsville half was coming up, and my long run mileage wasn’t satisfactory to me. I made up my mind that I needed to run a full half marathon distance before the race. I say my long run mileage isn’t up to snuff: I really dont think any of my mileage is quite enough. I’ve only logged 102 miles this year. Before the last half, I was getting in 120 miles a month. But that’s a whole different story.
The Martinsville Course is going to be more mentally tough than physically for me, I believe. When I ran it Sunday, I finished in 2:05:19…that’s nearly 10 minutes slower than my slowest half time ever. Its taxing on me. Can I maintain sub-9 miles for 13.1? Can I come close to that 1:45:00 I ran last year? It’s going to be a mental game.
As for race strategy; I think I’m going to run this one with my heart and not my head. That means start out near the front, blister the first few miles, bonk, then pick it up and run it on in to the finish. Yea. That’s my solid strategy. I’m going at it this way because I have no idea what I may be capable of. The 5k Saturday time showed me I’ve got more in me than I figured I did, I was expecting a high 23 finish time. Beating that by two minutes, what can I do over 13 miles?
So the course itself, on paper, seems extremely confusing winding through town. After I finally drove it then ran it, however, it’s honestly an easy course to figure out. Loop around the block starting at the YMCA, then down the street and loop back to (this is the tricky one if you’re not familiar with it) a random side street to catch the “Dick & Willie Passage”. Here’s where the fun starts for this race.
It’s a newly constructed trail that is on the old railroad path in Martinsville VA. Being brand new, everything is still very nice, well marked, etc. The trail is about 4.5 miles end to end, and for the half course you go out and back to cover the whole thing both ways.
As a side note for those who aren’t running a race down there, take you some water. I messed up on that one. 4.5 miles of trail, 9 miles the way I ran it…no water fountain to be found. Just a small nuisance on a training run, I’m sure that the race director will have water down there for Saturday’s race.
So I head out one way on the dick & willie, make it all the way to a blocked off end, turn around, trot back 4.5 miles to a parking lot, and trot back. Trot may not be quite the right word. Slog may be more accurate. Being an old railroad trail, the grade is slight and it drags on forever. I’m talking about a 3 mile grade. Make it back to where you enter the trail, and from there it’s a short, fast section in the streets of Martinsville to the finish.
I’ll have a better course report/race review after Saturday.