The Slowest Fast Half Marathon
Finally, after a week of waiting after the postponement of the original race due to a big winter snow storm that dumped several inches of snow, the Spring Fever Half went off without a hitch yesterday. This was my first race of the season, run mostly to get more experience at racing and to see how things were going fitness wise early in the spring. The race started off with blue skies and warm temps - I was in a t-shirt and shorts for the first time since last fall! I didn't have any specific plans in terms of splits, simply to go out near the front, try and keep a solid pace, and see what type of fitness I'm in after a winter spent skiing, doing hills, and what not. At the start line there looked to be some really fast guys (the race was sanctioned by the USATF) so I tucked myself into the back of the lead pack and tried not to go out too fast (or slow).
I felt good, and after the first mile, no one passed me for the entire race. The first half of the race was mostly downhill or flat, which allowed for a really fast pace to be set. However, after the turn around, runners encountered a brutal headwind for the final 700' climb and last 5 miles back to the finish. As happens on spring days along the frontrange, the day started out warm and calm, but as the sun rose, the winds started up and by the time we turned around there was a steady 20 to 30 mile headwind. This wreaked havoc on everyone's times, as evidenced by the winner, Mark Currell posting a 1:16:23 time. I say this because Mark was in the 2008 NCAA championships in the 5,000 meters (14:11) and has run under 2:20 for the marathon. That should give you an idea of just how strong those headwinds were for the last 5 miles, as this was a relatively fast course.
I came in at 1:42:43 for 12th overall. Not bad. I was pleased with the result (not the time - I really wanted to get a better time, but with the headwind that was just not happening) because this race had a lot of fast roadies and this course is their bread and butter. For me, I have not done a single speed session since last October, I prefer courses with more hills, and am still relatively new to racing in general. Despite this, I'm happy with the result and believe that this bodes well for this summer.
The race was well marked, had easy parking, and was very well run. If you are looking for an early, fast half marathon, this may fit the bill.