27 May 2013

Jemez Half Marathon

We wrapped up our training in Breckenridge on Tuesday - the rest of the week were short runs with Hudson

Headed to Santa Fe Wednesday. The view coming into the Arkansas Headwaters area on US-285

Sunset in warm, sunny and snow-free Santa Fe

On Thursday we headed up to Los Alamos to get our race packets

This must be where the elites run the 50K and 50M races - no lovely open fields on our little sadistic course

Our haul - including free t-shirts from prior years and a nice headlamp that Maureen won in a raffle

The week was perfect - we were rested and injury-free. We had been sleeping and eating well. The night before we were all packed and ready to go. Only one thing left could cause havoc - insomnia

4 years of playing pro hockey and sleep was never once an issue. It's not as if I am worried about winning (hahaha). Yet it is an issue for me running non-local half marathons. Best guess is it's not the race but having to wake up early and a mind that doesn't shut up - I end up doing math and can't stop it ("if I fall asleep in the next 30 minutes I'll get 6 hours sleep and...")

I did fall asleep 3 times and as early as 9:15 but woke each time within a few minutes. By 2:30am I had grabbed a beer to go with my cigarette - stolen from our post-race celebratory stash. Next thing I knew it was 5:15am. Breakfast was not terribly enjoyable but got about 500 calories and off we went

My goal going into the race was to beat 2:30. I hadn't really worked as hard this year running "fast" for much longer than 7 miles. Which was OK - I had fun lolly-gagging in the wilderness. It just meant I had no expectations of beating last year's 2:18:23

The race is so mellow and the volunteers so cool that it was easy to get into the spirit. The half-marathoners are a mix of some serious runners but mostly locals and others in it for the challenge. It was already warm when we lined up and just after 8am someone said something like "OK, go" and off we went

Last year I went out fast and did the first section (4.2 miles with 721' of gain and 555' of descent) at a 7:58 pace. This year I kept it mellow and was in a good group going at a fine pace. I would guess we did something like an 8:30 pace

The second section is brutal. 2.2 miles with 1,540' of gain in the exposed sun. I got to the top and asked what time it was. It was either 9:11 or 9:13, can't remember. At the the time I thought I was about 6 minutes behind last year but was actually only 3-5 minutes behind. Woo-hoo! The crux of the race was done

The third section is 5.3 miles with 1,792' of descent. Last year I did this section at an 8:29 pace. I would guess I met or beat this pace. I ran with one guy for about half a mile. It was his first Jemez. We talked about our goals. He said his was now 2:20. I told him mine was 2:30 and he said how that was no problem. I didn't break his spirit - we were 1:40 into the race with about 4 miles to go, including two sadistic hills, and he was not going to make 2:20

About a half mile from the final aid station I started to fade and was aware that I was dehydrated. I was a mess at the aid station. I filled up with water although my bottle was mostly full and grabbed a strawberry that I spit up

The final section is 2 miles with 426' of gain - with a 200' hill leaving the aid station and a 100' rock waterfall (dry) at the very end. Last year I did this section at a 12:26 pace - was definitely slower this year. I was in such horrible shape by the end that once I reached the top of the waterfall I thought I heard a runner coming up behind and moved aside. But it wasn't a runner. It was a 70-year old woman walking who said "Oh I'm not a runner dear, I'm just a spectator"

The final tally was 2:26:45 for 42/229 - 8:22 or 37 seconds per mile slower. I'm totally satisfied and left it all out there

Maureen beat last year's time by 6:24. It was 80F when she finished. More importantly she went from announcing her retirement from racing to committing to the 2014 Jemez within 30 hours

Our self-purchased finisher trophies: mine (Huichol beaded donkey)

Maureen's (from Madrid, NM)