|Sunday morning on the Little Blue Trace Trail in|
Independence, MO running the Larry Mattonen Half Marathon
Larry Mattonen Marathon/Half Marathon
October 27, 2013
Half Marathon Time: 1:39:40
Place: 1st Place Overall (out of 29)
Well that was different. On Sunday Michael and I ran in a Half-Marathon race ... I think. I mean there was a $30 fee, and race bibs, and a starting line, and a "3 ... 2 ... 1 ... GO!", and about 29 competitors. Wait, what? Yeah ... 29! Weirdest thing ever. And out of that great throng, I'm pretty sure I emerged as the winner. But who really knows.
There has never been, or will ever be a race of any size in our area that eludes my wife. If our legs and pocketbook could handle it, the woman would race every weekend. Conversely, I would be good with two or three a year. So I can't say that I was surprised when she signed us up for the Blue Springs 50/50 and Larry Mattonen Marathon & Half Marathon on Sunday. The event featured 50K, 50 mile, Marathon, and Half Marathon distance races. We opted for Half. It was sponsored by a local running club, The Blue Springs Runners, so I figured it was a good way to get a good 13 mile recovery run in, and support a small local club at the same time. I had no idea exactly how small we were talking.
|Michael pre-dawn, super excited about the big race|
We had picked up our race bibs and short-sleeve race shirt the night before at Fazoli's Italian Restaurant, which in itself was a little different. And by the number of remaining packets left on the restaurant booth used for registration, we knew it was going be a fairly small event. But it was a little surprising when the race director announced at 6:55 am "Anyone wanting to be counted in the seven o'clock start time, sign up on this paper with your number". Hmm, well okay. Michael and I both signed the clip-boarded piece of paper. And then the same gentleman counted backwards and started the race. All 29 of us who were lined up, started the "race". Yes ... again, I said 29.
I had just ran 18 morning miles the day before, with a 4 mile recovery run in the evening. Obviously my legs were still a little raw. So I was just planning on taking it fairly slow, and maybe running a few Fartleks on the back end, or at most a few miles at marathon pace. I had absolutely no intention of running this hard. And the small crowd of runners certainly reinforced this thought. There was no way to get caught up in "race day excitement" and go out faster than planned. I was just going to use this event as a nice long'ish, but faster than normal recovery run ... which I did.
|Beautiful changing leaves and fall colors along the trail ... photo courtesy of Michael|
It was a little foggy along the trail early in the morning, and the heavy frosted ground was evidence of the chill in the air. But as the sun began to rise, the remaining orange, red, and yellows lingering in the trail-side trees were lit up like Autumn neon signs. It was beautiful. Sometimes along this trail, you'll encounter a few deer, but I didn't see any this morning. Nope, pretty much all I saw was an empty trail in front of me and the occasional water jugs left out for runners. There was actually one manned water station with some frozen volunteers trying to warm up next to a camp fire. It was great of them to lend a hand for such a small event. Getting volunteers out is always a challenge for race directors. No doubt these folks were friends of the Blue Springs Runners, and their help was much appreciated.
|More incredible Autumn colors from a great run on the Little Blue Trace Trail in Independence, Missouri|
|My SWAG award for 1st Place Overall|
The great Solar Dancing Snowman! Simply ... AWESOME!!!
After I made the midpoint turn, and stopped at the aid station to visit with the volunteers for a minute, I settled into my marathon pace. I felt pretty energy depleted after 22 miles on Saturday, but other than fatigue, everything felt fine at that pace. And as I came around the bend just before the 8 mile water stop, I saw that I basically caught the young lady. Four people, who I instantly figured out were her family, were waiting for her at the jugs of water. She downed some water quickly and then was on her way, but not before glancing back over her shoulder to find out how quickly I was gaining on her. She appeared to really be "racing".
When I got to the aid station, about 200 meters behind her, I jokingly told her parents that if I didn't catch her, my wife wouldn't let me back in the car to go home. I was joking ... kinda. Truth is, if I would have come in second place to a teenage girl, even though I wasn't racing this "race" ... I would have NEVER heard the end of it around my house. Never. Michael's just like that. Imagine the pressure cooker I live in! Yeah man ... that's what it's like to be me.
|What ... don't all the great champions do this at the finish line?|
The fan-fare at the finish line of a major race like this is simply overwhelming. Sarcasm. The four volunteers, and two other people standing around said absolutely nothing as I approached ... they were freezing. When I eclipsed the plastic sign labeled "Start Finish", one guy mumbled, "Wow .... strong finish." I thought, "What's wrong with these folks? Don't they recognized greatness? Don't they know I just crushed dozen of runners?" About that time, the main race director, a kind faced small'ish older gentleman said, "Did you get a shirt? Grab a souvenir out of the box." It was a box filled with a bunch of plastic figurines that "danced" when the sun hit them. I chose what all great victors would choose ... the Solar Dancing Snowman! After that I waited a bit for Michael and then we headed back to Lee's Summit.
... be great today!