Monday, September 6, 2010
New Bo Fest Half Marathon 2010
The Inaugural New Bo Fest Half Marathon was the first half marathon held in my hometown in about 15 years I think. Despite just finishing a mountain bike race the weekend before I wasn't going to miss a chance to be in on the first running of a race right here in the local area. So the race as the name suggests started in the New Bohemia area of Cedar Rapids. This area is still struggling mightily to recover from the flood of 2008 and almost every building except the one we started at, which happened to be a bar, was boarded up or closed. It is sad really, the point of the festival is to showcase the area and maybe get people to visit but it may take a few more years to make that happen. The race had about 300 entrants so it was small, I expect it will grow larger as the word gets out. This first year was pretty minimalist, entrants got a t-shirt and a goodie bag which is normal but the t-shirt was the same for finishers and volunteers and no finishers medals were handed out. I did like the fact though that the t-shirt was a cotton blend and not one of those tech shirts most races are found of handing out. When I run a race I want to wear the shirt and those tech shirts just don't really lend themselves to everyday wear, I much prefer a cotton shirt.
I met a fellow wrestling official who was also running the race and we chatted before the start, he mentioned this was his first half marathon and he was shooting for under 2 hours. I mentioned that I felt like crap from working outside the whole day prior and was using this as a training run for my upcoming marathon. Just prior to the start we told each other good luck and I moved to my normal place at the back of the starting pack. A local news personality started the race with a rather quick "ready, set, go" and we were off!!! I started out at an easy jog fully intending to get the most out of my money and run the race at training pace or slower.
The first mile was easy along city streets then we headed out of town along the river, it was shortly after this first mile that I saw my friend just ahead so I got up beside him and we talked a little more, it was about then when I remembered that I had been gabbing and forgot to hit the porto potty pre-race. So when I saw an inviting group of trees I headed into the bush to do my business. He kept running of course. When I was done I happened to be at the base of what was the start of a group of fairly steep but short hills between miles 2 and 4. Something I have noticed is that when I run I usually pass a lot of people on hills. They catch up later but I guess all that road marching just made me strong on uphills. So I powered up this hill and eventually caught up with my friend and with a wave and a few words I passed him. I was feeling pretty good and holding a steady pace through mile 4.
Mile 5-7 was fairly flat and along a country road, I continued to hold a steady pace but I could feel the heat start to rise as the day progressed. At race start it had been overcast and fairly cool but now the sun was out. Water stops were about every mile or mile and a half and the even had a GU station at mile 6. I had to stop somewhere in this stretch and tighten my knee brace up as the velcro was coming loose. At mile 7 we got off the hard surface road and hit the Sac and Fox trail as the course started turning back towards the start.
The trail was a little rough at first, it was showing the effects of the heavy rains we had experienced a few days before and rocks and sticks were everywhere. I turned my ankle slightly on one of the rocks but for the most part the sandy/dirt surface of the trail felt better than the pavement had. This part of the race was the most tedious and it is also where I think I lost some time. It was harder to run in the sandy soil and also running through the woods along the river it was hard to see ahead and behind. It felt unlike a race and more like I was running on my own. I could see people up ahead but no one behind. This went on for 3-4 miles while I tried to maintain a pace with really no references. Miles were not marked and there were no water stops on the trail.
At mile 10 we popped out of the woods and hit the pavement back into town, back along the first 3 miles of the course. Up one more very steep hill ( thanks music guy that was the perfect place for your motivational tunes) and it was fairly flat until the end. I continued to try and maintain a steady pace even with all the jack rabbits behind me speeding up and passing me in the last mile. It is a personal point of pride with me I don't sprint at the end to beat someone, people who do irritate me because it means they have to much energy left. At least that is what I think. Turning the corner I saw the finish line ahead and steadily ran on through.
I looked at my time and I had missed my PR by about 6 minutes. I had lost a lot of time on the trail but still it was a good steady pace and I was satisfied with my time. I grabbed a Kolache, banana, and some Gatorade and went back to the finish to see if my buddy was coming in. I waited about 30 minutes and never saw him. When I got to my car his truck was gone. Since I know he didn't pass me I must have missed him when I got my food and drink. All in all it was a good race, they will be posting results later today.