On Sunday March 21st Heather and I headed down to New Bedford for the New Bedford Half Marathon (results), the second race in the USATFNE Grand Prix Series. The weather was looking good, maybe just a touch warm and I was expecting a fast day out there on this fairly quick course. We parked in our usual spot a couple blocks from the start finish area and headed over to the YMCA to collect our numbers and timing tags. After a long and disorganized wait to get our numbers and timing tags, we met up with coach Dave and some of our Whirlaway teammates. Then it was back to the parking lot to get ourselves organized and ready to race. Soon I was off on a warm up with Jose Ortiz, Mark Hudson, and another guy I did not know. I felt OK, but not great on the warm up I also did not feel very focused.
Back at the parking lot I got changed up into my racers and got myself ready to race. Then I heard there was a 15 minute delay on the start due to the slow number pickup. Not long after I made my way down to the start and worked my way up to about the third row of runners. Not too long after that the gun went off and the race was under way.
I got out OK and went through the first mile in about 5:20 and was feeling OK....but not good. I should have felt pretty good at this point and I knew I might be in for a tough one. I relaxed through the next few miles that included a couple pretty good hills. I was thinking that I would stay relaxed till I hit the flat to downhill after 4 miles and then start to move the best I could. Just before 4 miles Kim Smith went by me and I tucked in behind her for a while thinking she would pull me along. Instead she dropped me like a stone and went on to run 1:10:52, a very quick time! I knew at this point I was not going to have my best race. I was feeling awkward in my form and just could not get comfortable at all. I soon found myself with my teammate Tom Deeg, I just tucked behind him and just tried to go along for the ride. We ran a few miles right around 5:25 and I though maybe I could just keep this going and get in under 1:12. But Just before 10 miles I lost contact with Tom and I started going backwards. I went through 10 mile in 55:00 flat, right on pace for 1:12, but I was hurting. It was a long 3.1 miles back to the finish. I got passed by quite a few people including teammate Jose Ortiz who had a great 1/2 marathon debut. I did my best to finish up strong, even passed a couple people in the last up hill mile and finished up in 1:12:32 in 39th place. Considering how I felt I was actually surprised that the time was as quick as it was, it could have been much worse.
The Whirlaway Open team finished 4th with the Masters and Seniors both taking first place. Heather had a tough go of it and ran 1:30:02 good for 357th place.