Today marked the end of my 2011 season. Doyle's 5 miler, Patriot Half Triathlon, Vineman 140.6, Reach the Beach, HUB on Wheels, and Applefest Half Marathon. phew.
Today was the third year I ran Applesfest. It is a hilly run in southern NH that ends with the sweet reward of applecrisp. WILL RUN FOR PIE! My day started at 6 am with a dog walk n' big cup o joe. Road races are so much easier to get ready for than triathlons and start SO much later!!! After putting air in my cars tire and momentarily loosing my wallet I was off at 7 am with a mug full of coffee n' a PB/honey/banana samich. I arrived in Hollis with plenty of time to stretch and relax. At the start of the race it was around 60 with cloudy skies and humidity. It rained on and off for most of the race. Though it was humid this is my ideal road racing condition.
In years past I have gone out too hard and fast. The last half of the race is the hardest. You ascend for 5-6 miles with some rolling hills and a few descent ascents. This year I stayed focused and tried to hover around an 8:30-8:20 min mile for the first 6 miles. At mile 6.5 I was averaging 8:13 min/mile. I thought, ok this is pretty fast for me, but I felt good! Around mile 8 I slowed down a bit, but kept up good momentum and cruised up those hills. At mile 10ish you take a R hand turn down an open section of road. In years past I have had nothing left at this section of the course. NOT TODAY: I picked up my pace until the last little blurb of a hill at mile 12.34. Though I slowed a bit up the hill I turned up my pace after making that final R hand turn down to Hollis High. I called upon my ironman will, determination, speed, and strength; and with the school in sight I sprinted the last half mile. I finished feeling strong! I did not experience any nausea or lack of energy. I have been battling a minor pain in my R adductor/vastus medialis since my long run at RTB. That talked to me a bit during the race, but did not prevent me from maintaining pace. It was so great to see friends at the finish line! Jill and Freya were there waiting for me. We found Grant later and all enjoy a delicious breakfast!!
My results: overall: 217 age group: 9/74 F3539 1:49:54 8:23 min/mile. Today's half was a PR for the race by 7 minutes and a PR half marathon by about 3 minutes. My goal was to place in top three in my age group. HOWEVER, I am pleased with my results. Applefest is a very hilly and challenging race and my prior PR was a flat fast course in Boston (Run to Remember). I think if I had trained a little harder in the last month I could have placed, but my body and brain would not let me! IM training took more out of me than I really new until it was all over and that buzz had worn off!
I have gotten fast and stronger in the last year. Clearly, it is imperative to gain strength when training for an IM. What I was not expecting was a speed gain. My avg speed has increased by over :30 per min/mile since last year and over a min/mile as compared to 2009. I have approached triathlon and training differently in the last two years and it has clearly paid off!!
As I drove home today I began reflecting on the last year of my life and all of my racing and personal accomplishments. I need sometime to put my thoughts in order for a proper reflection. Until then I raise a glass to myself, my family, and all my friends that have supported me in the last year.