Middlebury Maple run half marathon
I heard about the “sweetest half” late last year when they bid to be part of the USATF New England road running Grand Prix. Somehow the race was snubbed and not put on any slate! The powers that be really dropped the ball by not allowing the members of
USATF NE to vote for this race to be in the series (instead we had to go back to which had an exorbitant entry fee). New Bedford
My calf was bothering me after having some minor spasms during the Pipestave trail race on Thursday, so I decided the best move would be to “run through” the half. My plan was to run 7:00 place and get in my long run while having some company. It was a bit warm and breezy in Middlebury, but I wasn’t worried as I had no intention to race. I hit the scenic TAM (http://www.maltvt.org/tam.html) “Trails Around Middlebury”, getting a nice easy three miles in. Quick switch over to racing flats and another mile over to the start line. I met up with teammate George Adams who made a late decision to run and was looking to finish “in the money”. There was a little money to be made in the overall and also for a masters course record which was around 1:25.
I put on my headphones and with the Decemberists playing headed off with about 650 others. I went out very easy and within 400 meters found myself alone. I counted places just before the mile and was in 25th place, that seemed about right (in 2012 29 people ran under 7:00 pace). I was really surprised to pass the mile mark in 6:05…it felt way easier than that. So much for 7:00 pace! New plan, stay comfortable and aim for 6:30 pace. I ran 6:16 for the next mile and 7:10 (which had to be wrong) for the third mile. At that point I figured 6:20 pace would be fine. I also thought it might be fun to try and catch one person each mile. A 6:08, 5:39 (also had to be wrong), and 5:59 (86 feet of drop) had me passing through 6 miles in 37:15 (6:12 pace). I’d moved up to 20th place and was thinking that 6:10 pace was realistic…and also still pretty comfortable.
For the 7th and 8th miles I ran 6:24 and 5:59 and moved up to 17th place. I figured top 15 would be fine and looked ahead to the 4 or 5 guys who were in sight. At 8 miles we passed the start/finish and we’d do an out/back 2.5 miles. This was probably the most scenic part of the course, and the slight uphill seemed to bring some of the guys back towards me. By ten miles (splits 6:05 & 6:10) I’d moved into 13th place and began seeing the leaders coming back from the turn. I was shocked to see George in 7th place with the turn in sight. The idea of making a little cash if I could catch him got me going. I was 40 seconds back with 2.5 to go. My last three miles were 5:53 (picked it up at 10.5), 5:48, and 5:48. It wasn’t enough to catch George but I did move into the top 10. I ended up 8th 24 seconds behind George but the top 40+ was another 16 seconds in front of him. Oh well, I hadn’t planned on racing anyway and I got through feeling very good.
I grabbed a water and headed out for an easy mile warm-down, then hit the road for the three hour drive south. I closed out the 22 mile day with a stretch of the legs at the
Merrimack River trail with a very slow four miles.
J Matthew Medeiros