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St. Quentin Half Marathon

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Today was half marathon #8 for me, in St. Quentin, France. It is about an hour from where I live/work. I signed up about a month ago. It was not in my original plan to run another HM this close to the full but the employee committee was sponsoring runners and apparently there is a good sized group of people where I work that are runners. So in the interests of integrating into life here I signed up. There were 4 other people from work who ended up running today; we were supposed to be 7 but 2 people were injured.

I carpooled with 2 other people to the race. We checked in & got our dossards (bibs) and shirts. Mine is pink, their shirts are not. I am SO NOT a pink person. But it does add another shirt to my collection and that is the important part, right? emoticon

The race started with a short out & back and then into the race proper, which ended up being 3 loops of about 4 miles each up & down the river. It was in the low/mid 40s, just like in Paris 2 weeks ago, except today was overcast. Despite the very beginning where I didn't follow my training plan because I didn't want to start walking quite so soon in front of all the spectators at the start (the actual start line was back a bit from the finish line / MC platform) I followed my run / walk plan for almost the entire race.

It's good that I did because I very quickly became just about the very last person in the race. It turned out there was one woman behind me, and then I passed an older gentleman eventually. It was kind of demoralizing to be among the last runners. It was especially demoralizing when the front runners started passing me on their 2nd loop before I had even completed my first one, and most of the finishers were done as I was starting on my last loop.

It's good to know the emotions involved since I will be among the slowest for the full. Intellectually I know it doesn't matter, I was not prepared for emotionally. Now I am.

But...I ran my own race and stuck to my marathon plan. I finished 6 minutes faster than I planned, in 2:31, so for me it was a good race. At the finish I felt like I could have kept going, although I was slowing down. Whether I could have completed another 3 loops..I don't know.

I was concerned about my knees after the knee cap pain in the right after the Paris HM. I did replace my shoes but my long run last weekend was only 10 miles. I had planned to do at least somewhere between 15-20 but at right about the 10 mile mark my left knee cap suddenly out of the blue hurt with every running step. It did not hurt when I walked except for an occasional twinge but I decided to stop so as not to make it worse. I actually ended up wearing my knee brace for 3 days afterwards because it still hurt. I was a bit concerned how it would go today but aside from some very minor twinges right at the beginning I had no issues with either knee. I think those twinges were more because I was expecting something than actual protest from my knees.

I think I had a little bit of obstacle slowing me down overall because my iPod quit 30 minutes into the race. I had it plugged in to recharge last night but it must not have been plugged in all the way or something because the battery died. So on one of the walk breaks I had to figure out how the radio on my phone worked and find a station to listen to; it wasn't my music and there were the breaks. I know that did have an affect on my running; I have proven to run slower and harder without music. I don't even want to think about trying to run any kind of distance without my music so am considering a back-up iPod for next month.

Overall it was a good race. Not my best but that is not what I was trying for today. I followed my plan and finished ahead of schedule and did not feel like I was at the end of my strength when I finished.
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