Two Way Torture Test
Temps were perfect for a half marathon, a brisk 47 degrees and humid, but threatening to rain. A name is required for this race and Mark and I agreed on the fitting team name Masters Trying to Avoid Disaster.
For whatever reason, the men’s field was sort of stacked this year, with 5 of the
top 7 runners from last year’s Equinox Marathon. Mike, Matias, and Kevin have owned the Equinox for a decade now, and here they were, doing the tougher counter counter-clockwise loop that I was running.
My first 1.5 miles was at 6:20 pace, about 30 sec per mile slower than theirs, but a little faster than I’d planned.
The long uphill was indeed a grinder (3rd mile in 7:30) and I worked it just under threshold as planned. Kevin and Matias dropped Mike half way up, and he became my focus. Rested for a half mile at the top with some easy running. Crossed half way in 44:07, about 1.5 min behind Mike, and a couple min behind Mark, who was way out in front on the clockwise loop.
It’s weird to see half of the field going the opposite direction.
I did hold the promise for leg preservation on the steep downhill section. Tamara and Tristan offered some water and cheers. Also caught some great views of the emerald lined Tanana River, a half mile wide-braided water flow, on its way to the mighty Yukon.
Tristan said I was 1:15 behind Mike, so when I got to the bottom I decided to put it down. Hit 10 miles in 1:05:22.
The last part was on a bike path mostly flat but with some strange twist, turns, ups and downs snaking over driveways and side streets. I gained but didn’t have enough, and finished about 30 sec back.
Covered the last 5K in 18:13, to finish with a 1:23:35 (5th overall). Mark (1:19:05) and I won the men’s division team race and overall. So we did avoid disaster.
Going all out, might eke out 1.5 to 2 min off my time, but the payback would be two weeks of sore quads. My legs are tired, but it seems a good tired. Besides, per usual here, there is no more reward for 1st or 30th. All the same: a piece of paper that says "I Survived the Torture Test." Maybe it's a gift certificate to the Pump House, maybe not. I wasn't clear on that.
Matias and Kevin (just turned 40) did 1:16:35, which is pretty fast for this course. And probably the last time that the course will be run (see article).
Here’s a summary from the paper: http://www.newsminer.com/news/2009/may/31/...ut-chena-ridge/