Monday, March 11, 2013

Tune Up For The Edinburgh Rock N Roll Half Marathon With TeamREFUEL - Chambersburg Half Marathon Race Report

Take the energy of a well attended community 5k, add about 10 miles and you have the Chambersburg Half Marathon. The Chambersburg Road Runners Club has a genuine family feel. I live an hour away and only know a couple folks from the area, but felt right at home with this extremely friendly crew. Their volunteers were great and those running were just as cool. I always laugh when I go to a run and the crowd is full of super serious game faces talking about their PR's and their split plans. Those guys were there, but they were out numbered by chatter about families, kids getting tall, the weather, etc. A half marathon in Pennsylvania in March? Sure, why not? It was positioned as a perfect tune up race for me. Truth be told, I had scratched 2 events this year and I was really Jonesin' for a race. I needed to run against the clock to get my year started. When I was looking for races, I couldn't believe the registration was still open on  Wednesday before the event. I asked Janice if we had plans for that day, she said "no" and I was in. 


The big story here though, is that the cool people at selected me to go to Scotland and fly The TeamREFUEL colors in the Edinburgh RockNRoll Half Marathon. I get to take Janice with me, with our flights, 4 nights lodging and $200/day spending money paid for by TeamREFUEL. I was notified that I was chosen early last month and needless to say it was difficult concentrate on anything else that day. Running the Edinburgh Rock N Roll Half has dominated many of day dreams since. With that said, I wanted to see if I still knew how to run 13.1 miles at my best pace before I ran in Scotland. There's no true test to your fitness and pace management abilities than the atmosphere a race provides.

Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Edinburgh - mackenzie films HD from mackenzie films hd on Vimeo.


I ran into Bill Dann, a co-worker from Chambersburg and he had Danny Mowers in tow. I know Danny through ultra trail running and Facebook. Bill had concocted a contest to see who could make the silliest face to the on-course photographers. I was definitely all-in. I knew Jim Grove would be there too, but I never found him in the crowd before the start. Jim I met in a beer line at a Harrisburg Senator's baseball game. He was wearing a Pittsburgh Marathon shirt and I was wearing a North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile shirt and we were destined to talk. Jeff Reed, an old friend I graduated from high school with was entered in the same race. I hadn't seen him in many years so I was pretty psyched to see him.I recently found out Jeff had taken up running by seeing a post on Facebook. It's been nice to know that another guy my age was enjoying the same addiction. I was looking for a spot to stand as the race pack formed for the start and I ran into Jeff. We started talking, heard no race instructions and suddenly somebody said "Go" so we hit our watches and took off. I'm a solo runner. I really enjoy the solitude of running miles enveloped in my own thoughts, but when you're immersed in this kind of warm comaraderie that running provides; you realize you can't duplicate it many places.


This wasn't an ultra and I told Janice she should probably just wait for me at the finish line, but she wasn't having any of that. Janice was hot on her plan on how she could drive out to points on the course and still make it back for my finish. Heck, I guess she didn't need to worry about my whining for Gels and Coca-cola at aid stations so she must've thought this would be a sinch. I saw her stationed along the course with camera clicking and of course she was right there at the finish line too. 

When I see our Jeep along the course,
I know Janice and her camera can't be far away

Speaking of the course, I asked about it and Bill Dann said, it's got some nasty little hills. A
friend of his said there was hill at this mile and that mile so I thought, "ok this shouldn't be so
bad". I had run The Sol Lipton Half Marathon in Pottsville, PA where they have a mammoth hill climb in the early miles so I thought if I survived that with a 1:50, I could do ok on Chambersburg's "couple of hills". Well, I was told about 2 hills, but some how my trusty informant had forgotten about all the other hills. This thing was a roller coaster and I really saw it chew up some runners and spit them out. There were hills throughout, but somehow I found them as a welcome taper to my pace. I had to slow down on the uphills so oddly after I got my breathing back under control, I felt refreshed and even somewhat rested at the tops. In all the trail running I do, hills are a constant so perhaps I was prepared. The race route winds through beautiful countryside, passing numerous farms. There's an out & back stretch and the cows along that section were mooing loudly. I'm certain they were cheering for me in my GotChocolateMilk jersey. We definitely interrupted the country Saturday morning, but many folks were outside cheering us on with their children and their dogs. I did see a guy target shooting with his rifle and wondered what he really had in mind for a target. There was also a guy restoring old furniture in his front yard who didn't even seem to notice runners going past. Children clanging cowbells at the one hill-top was certainly an inspiration. The course wasn't closed to traffic and that got a little dicey in spots. There was even some yahoo in a white pickup truck who seemed hell bent on running over a course marshal and then he decided to see how close he could get to the old guy in the TeamReFUEL jersey. Sorta' reminded me of my lunch-time training runs on the roads around my office. The weather was beautiful and people were out everywhere.

Over one hill.


Hard right turn


And over the next.

I'm getting better at running within myself and not making the mistake of allowing the excitement of the race ruin my pace. Just before the half-way mark I looked at my watch and decided I felt good enough to maintain my pace at about 8 minute miles and finish under 1:46. There were some considerable hills remaining so this required me picking up my pace at about the 11 mile mark. With one last turn and the finish line almost in sight, I couldn't believe it, I was kicking and with a glance at my watch I thought I may just get that sub 1:46 finish. There was only one thing in my way and that was my own belief in runner etiquette. With just a few hundred meters remaining I was over taking another runner. I'm a firm believer that you don't pass someone as the finish chute appears. I think it's rude, bad form, poor sportsmanship, all of those things. So now I was faced with the dilemma of, "was I far enough from the finish to pass him?" We had a good distance to go and I wasn't changing my pace or sprinting, I was legitimately over taking him so I decided to pass. I thought, "well that wasn't so bad" and with about 50' to go he tried to beat me into the chute. I wasn't having that and I picked up my pace to maintain my position. Long story short and lesson learned(again), not everyone believes in that same runner etiquette.


I was happy to see that I finished in 1:45:something - my fastest half-marathon on a pretty tough  course. I met up with Bill Bann and Danny Mowers afterward who had run pretty darned impressive times and I hung out to cheer on Jeff Reed as he pushed it to the line. Later on I found Jim Grove and we laughed about seeing one another on the course and made plans to hookup at Senator's games. I ran into the guys who had been asking me for chocolate milk out on the course and now they wanted to know why my Jeep wasn't a milk truck and why I only had 2 Rockin' Refuels and I wasn't sharing.

2 Fast Guys & Me

Central Dauphin HS - Class of '79

I had a blast representing TeamREFUEL throughout 2012 and I hope to rejoin the team with a sponsorship for 2013. I'm especially stoked about running for them in Edinburgh Scotland next month! I've never been there much less run there. I'm hoping I'll be able to handle the excitement of travel and pull off a half-marathon too. I can hear them now, "look at the silly American who just tripped and fell 'cause he was gawking at our beautiful scenery"...I sure hope not. The race is Sunday April 14th in beautiful Edinburgh. Part of my being selected to travel to Scotland The Brave is to blog about my journey so stay tuned for coverage of my exciting trip overseas!


Posted By Blogger to Perry's Trails at 3/11/2013 05:52:00 PM