Emerald Isle began with our friends Ken & Laura’s New Year’s resolution to run a 5k. To sweeten the goal they decided on the Emerals Isle race weekend to combine it with a trip to the beach. Race weekend has a half and full marathon as well.
The word “aimless” doesn’t begin to describe my winter training. I spent two months scratching my head over the half or full (which did nothing for my hair loss) before deciding that I didn’t have the training for a full and opting for the half.
Inspired by Ellen’s training plan for the NYC half, which included several 20 mile runs, I signed up to pace the 3:40 group with Mark at Tobacco Road Marathon. True to character I didn’t look at the calendar, or else I would have noticed it was a week before my goal race! We successfully brought our group in at 3:38 but not without some foot problems on my part. A 5 mile depletion run and 3 hours in the car left my 2nd toe throbbing by the end of the day Friday.
Last year’s winners finished the half in 1:17. Two weeks earlier, Erin and I ran the Sola 5k at about 6:00/mile pace and had enough breath to joke around. My race plan was to hold on to the 1:17 people as long as I could and try for a HM personal record.
I stayed at the Islander Hotel which adjoins the start/finish area and afforded the luxury to warm up in my room and walk to the start line. The front of the correl looked very casual. Me. A really fit looking guy in a tshirt. A shirtless guy with a lot of artwork.
A local woman sang the National Anthem, there was one hand cart racer that left at 8:30 and we were off by 8:35.
1-4 6:17 6:19 6:21 6:39
We were off and I established myself in the front. There was a lead bicyclist who provided some motivation and pacing. By mile 2 we started passing slower marathon people. Effort seemed in the right place as I tried to say something encouraging as I went by people. The lead bike saw one of her friends and dropped back to ride with them instead (umm…nevermind). At mile 3-4 we caught the hand bike rider and probably the most rolling part of the course.
5-8 6:20 6:20 6:21 6:22
This part of the course follows the oceanfront road. It looks like a through street on the course map but is actually short roads separated by bike path. The fit tshirt guy was in earshot behind me. We got to the half turnaround at mile 7-8 and saw he was about 200ft back closely followed by the shirtless guy.
9-13 6:21 6:28 6:23 6:34 6:20
One of the volunteers runs next to me to tell me the marathon leader is about a mile behind. The remainder of the race was bike path that paralleled the main island road. My original plan was to refocus my effort at each street crossing, which turned into how much can I back off to avoid blowing up, while remembering My friend Andrea’s advice, “don’t be a pussy!” Am I really still in front? I managed to find a little more the last mile thinking I would be outkicked to the finish.
Final time 1:23:58.