Thought for the Day

Monday, April 1, 2002

Monterey Bay Half Marathon

The Monterey Bay Half Marathon was at the California State University, Monterey Bay, on Saturday. CSUMB is on the grounds of the former Fort Ord, a large military base just repurposed for this four or five years ago. As I warmed up jogging near the start near the stadium, a lot of things reminded me what this place used to be, like the stenciled messages on a lot of these very plain-looking, windowless buildings.

"EXPLOSIVES - NO SMOKING WITHIN 50 FT."
"RADIOACTIVE - AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY"

The stadium is nice, but not extravagant. It dates to before the place was a university. It doesn't look old or new. A red, rubberized track, showing some wear, and an astroturf field.

Once again, I didn't have the right clothes. Last week, the weather had been cool, and I went to a race wearing a long-sleeved shirt.
Then it turned out to be a very sunny morning.
Saturday, we had had a very warm day Friday. The forecast was for more warm weather. But Fort Ord was foggy all morning.
(It was still foggy when I left, so I don't know if they ever got any sun over there, but it got into the 80s in Hollister both days this weekend.)
My favorite long-sleeved shirts were at home in the laundry, but I had one, too tight and purple, but coolmax, in the bottom of my gym bag. It did the job for me, so I shouldn't complain.

The race was very well managed, water stops every two miles, well-marked with volunteers at every point where someone might possibly make a mistake, and emergency vehicles on the course.

The race is named for the bay, but it really goes out into the hills away from the ocean. I didn't get a glimpse of the bay except from the freeway on my way there and back. From some of the peaks you might have seen the water on a clear day, but as I said it was foggy.

The fog was never really thick, but at points you couldn't see more than fifty yards. It did effectively block out any warming from the sun, though, and the air was always moist and cool.
I started out fast, as Doc recommended. It turned out to be a little too fast, as I ran out of breath. I had to slow a little just to breathe, but when I got to the first mile marker, it turned out I hadn't slowed down too much.

This race is an official tune up for Big Sur, and they use the same mile markers that are used for the Big Sur Marathon, big cello-shaped plywood cutouts. It really is great training for Big Sur, too. The hills are tough.

I'm blathering on here too much again, so I'm going to go through the race really quick:

mile split
---- -----
1. 7:16 (Doc's fast first mile Rx)
2. 7:50
3. 7:27
4. 8:03 (Rolling hills to this point)
5. 8:23 (Hills start to get serious)
6. 8:15
7. 8:05 (A long downhill)
8. 9:29 (Steep uphill and other problem*)
9. 8:27 (Really steep up and down)
10. 7:58 (Starting the downhill trend)
11. 7:54
12. 7:18 (Huh? I sped up but...)
13.1 10:02 (9:07 pace for 1.1 miles)

* Between 7 and 8 I dropped and chased the cap to my glucose tablets, then had a slow water stop while I tried to wash down some glucose. So part of that long mile was a big hill, and part of it was clumsiness.

I have to believe that the mile between 11 and 12 was marked wrong, and that the last part was more than 1.1 miles. I did speed up quite a bit through that 12th mile, though, and the last mile or so was no longer predominantly downhill, just rolling.

As I turned the corner into the stadium parking lot, probably less than half a mile from the finish, there was some poor guy lying on the ground getting oxygen from the EMTs. It must be awful to get so close and not be able to finish.

I had a great day. I ran a 1:46:33. I can't remember any other half marathon times, though I know I did several in my teens and early twenties that were much faster.

But I'm calling this my over 40 PR for this distance, and I'm happy with it. Knowing that my legs weren't really fresh going into this, and this course is rolling hills from beginning to end, with some significant altitude along the way, I have high hopes for Big Sur. I just need to put in a couple of good long runs and I'll do well.

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