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<span style="font-family:Verdana;">Reporting in after a few requests ... <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"></span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;">After my third successful full marathon last Fall, I set my sights on March’s New Bedford Half. I’ve run New Bedford 2 previous times, and only one other Half in Vermont. I like the Half distance, it's long enough to be a challenge, but doesn't wear you down like a full.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;">New Bedford</span> <span style="font-family:Verdana;">isn’t an easy course, but is a USATF-NE Half Marathon Team Championship race and draws a lot of New England’s top runners (of which, I am not!). There’s a moderate hill during mile 2, then runners are treated to what I consider a major hill starting at the mile 3 mark. After that it’s relatively flat for the next 9 miles, but runners are on the water (Buzzard’s Bay) for approximately 3 miles and the wind there can sometimes make you wish you were running hills again. Mile 12 is a long, seemingly never-ending hill. It’s just so late in the race and all you want to do is be done. Once you crest that though, it’s flat to downhill to the finish.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;">My training went really well and I’d had a PR at a 10 mile tune-up race the month prior. I was hopeful for a PR at the Half as well. I was somewhat stupid though and overindulged on a girls’ night two evenings before, leaving me pretty dehydrated the day before the race. DOOH! The forecast up until race morning was looking bleak – windy, snowy, and cold. Low and behold though, race morning the forecast changed and the winds wouldn’t be as bad as predicted, the temp around 40 degrees, and any snow or rain would fall after 3pm (the race started at 11). MUCH better!</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;">Fast forward to the race … it’s chip timed, but with no start mat. I started too far back and lost about 35 seconds at the start. I spent a lot of time the first ½ mile trying to get around people who (I’m guessing) put themselves too far in the front at the start. Frustrating, but I knew the slower first mile would help me in the end.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;">Running up the moderate hill in mile 2, a woman next to me was saying “I thought this hill was supposed to be at mile 3”. I had to break it to her that this was not the hill, just a warm-up. Then she saw the mile 3 hill and I swear she gasped! There’s a water tower right near the top of the mile 3 hill. When I wasn’t looking 20-30 feet in front of me, I’d focus on the tower. I was able to pass a lot of people on this hill and only would see a few of them catch me again.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;">The next 4-5 miles were uneventful. I remembered to take my Gu around mile 5 ½, which I was pleased about. (Last year by the time I remembered to take it, I was around mile 10). I did walk through that water stop to get enough water to wash down the Gu, and I also walked through another at around mile 8 (I think?) to drink more. My dehydration was evident, although I started the race well-hydrated. Lesson learned, no overindulging 2 nights before a race! To keep myself in good mental spirits, I would set my sights on a person up ahead of me, then surge and pass. I did this as much as I could throughout the race.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;">The first section of water we were on wasn’t really windy at all. I was pleasantly surprised. Mile 9 hits as the runners are taking a little side loop off the water, then back to the water. And there was the wind … waiting for us. I drafted as much as I could, hoping to conserve energy. I was getting tired and the wind wasn’t helping. I kept repeating my mantra in my head <i>"court the pain</i>" (from the Comptetive Runner's Handbook - a gift given to me when I first started running).<br></span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;">I was aware of my overall time and quickly did the math in my head. I knew I’d be close, VERY close to a PR. Once we hit the mile 11 mark, I pushed as hard as I could for a mile because I knew what was ahead.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;">The first time I ran this Half, I nearly walked up the hill at mile 12. Upon reaching the hill this time, I knew I needed to stay strong and focused. I slowed for sure, but everyone around me did as well. There were people walking, I would not be one of them. I kept pushing and passed probably a dozen people in ½ a mile. With about 700 yards to go, I could see the turn for the finish. I refused to look at my watch because I knew I’d be close. I picked up speed down the hill and rounded the final corner.</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;">Vogelmd was there to cheer me on with about 50 yards to go. I sprinted in (if you can call it that!), and could finally see the clock. 1:48:77. WHAT? What the heck is that? Yes, it really <span style="text-decoration:underline;">did</span> say 77 seconds and I was not hallucinating, but then flipped to 27 as I was about to cross. That gave me a huge laugh!</span><br><br><span style="font-family:Verdana;">I crossed in 1:48:29 - a 31 second PR (over last year’s time on the course). Even though I had a slowed start, walked through 2 water stops and definitely slowed more than I’d have liked for a few miles on the water, I accomplished my goal. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do in the Fall on a flat half marathon course!</span>
 

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Great report, and nice job! You've obviously improved and tamed that tough course <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif"> I also ran it, but for my first time yesterday - boy did we luck out with the weather <img alt="icon_sunny.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_sunny.gif"> all that was missing was a little sunshine. I too found myself racing against a clock counting seconds in the nineties! Maybe they had it set to count hundredths of a minute, it was ahead of the mat time in my case by about 8 seconds. Awesome job, Jen <img alt="banana.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/banana.gif">
 

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Great job Jen!<br><br><img alt="banana.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/banana.gif">
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks all. Now, to get this swollen ankle all back to normal so I can race a 5k on Saturday (yes, I am pretty much insane). <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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Way to go, Jen Sparkly-Pants!<br><br>
(Had to throw in a little ElaineVT, there....)<br><br>
Seriously, it sounds like you were a lot stronger -- and ran much smarter -- than many of the folks around you.
 

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Yeah former VRAA Teammate!!!<br><br>
Great job!!!
 

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Now that is the way to race a Half! You stayed very strong mentally and ran tough on a challenging course. Congratulations on the PR, jen!
 

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New Bedford on race day, sunshine, not too much wind, nah not very likely. However, maybe that is part of the charm.<br><br>
I ran it this year too, 5th in a row. As usual I had to take my top layer off way before the 1 mile mark. If there was sunshine then almost everyone would be over dressed.<br><br>
I love that course and this year was special since it's the longest distance beyond a 10K I've raced since NB last year. I was injured and I miss the distance quite a bit.<br><br>
Jen sure did well by staying focused. Congrats, Jen. I was determined to run gainfully on every hill. The reward for the one between mile 3 and 4 is the long barely perceptible downhill that you are doing until mile 7 were it's flat until just before mile 12.<br><br>
I take a van full of friends there every year as it is the front door into spring running. There is always a large crowd of familiar faces and the fish chowder and sandwiches are great. This year the chowder was so hot you could not just wolf it down.<br><br>
If you talk to enough people you will find that the New Bedford Half is the PR course for quite a few of them. It is my PR course as well.<br><br>
The start is slightly down hill to flat for 1.75 miles before you have a mild Hill. That's plenty of time to get loose and warmed up.<br><br>
Then the 2 larger hills at 2.5 and 3 ish have some long downhill just before them. Then until the hill in mile 12 there is nothing high to run over other than some road paint.<br><br>
The other factor is that many people are training for Boston and are in really good shape and just itching to test the legs at something a bit more than a marathon training pace.<br><br>
The race and course are very well managed. Great support for the race from the City of New Bedford on traffice control. Did anyone notice how there were volunteer cars parked sideways across many of the streets coming onto the course and traffic cones not only in the parts of the course that were not completely closed but there were cones in the entrances and exits of most active businesses preventing cars from getting on the course clandestinly. It seemed there was always a motorcycle policeman going by every few mintues watching for cars that tried to sneak onto the course. Stuff like that make running a race a pleasure. Sort of like "you know your in good hands"
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Oh it's absolutely well-managed. And the fact that City Hall (right at the start) was open for people to use the bathrooms or stay warm, or warm up afterward is an added bonus. The city really embraces the race - even the cigar & pipe smokers came out of the bars to cheer us on! <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif">
 
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