Today I ran the 15th Annual Wilmington Half Marathon.
The forecast was for temps in the 70’s and some cloud cover. My Garmin says it was 68° but my body said otherwise!
Wilmington is about 15 minutes from my house and the race began at 10:00 AM. Some people didn’t like that start time because it was too later into the day. For me it was perfect.
I got up, had some coffee and hung out for an hour. I got ready to run at my leisure! Can’t say that happens very often!
I left my home after 8:30 and was in Wilmington before 9 AM. The parking lot at Wilmington Local Access Cable was already full! When I ran this race six years ago I just rolled into that lot and I don’t think I got there that early. Maybe I did.
They directed us through a street-side parking lot and crossed us into a lot across the street. The first person in line seemed flummoxed by a lot that didn’t have lines. As cars backed up across the road I wondered where they got their driver license.
I finally managed to park and head over to Race HQ to get my bib. They had plenty of volunteers and I had my packet and swag bag in no time. I used a porta-potty and headed back to my car.
It was still about 45 before race time.
As I got my gear together I struck up a conversation with the couple parked next to me. Anthony and Lynn Malisz had driven up from Wrentham for their first half! They asked a few questions about the course but I told them it had been six years and I vaguely recall the course.
I did tell them that every one gets the nerves before a race and not to stretch and drink too much. It doesn’t help and can cause problems.
Running The Wilmington Half Marathon
Around 9:40 I headed over to the start area and met Nicole Jacob and one of her friends. We were a little confused about the start. I thought the 5K and half started together but on different side of the start. We also thought the 5K runners had a different color bib.
Turns out the 5K started first and the people with the different color bib had done race-day sign up.
A little after 10 they had the 5K runners start and then the 5K walkers. Then at 10:09 they let the half marathoners start.
There were 254 half runners which seemed a little light to me, but they run an old school race which keeps expenses low.
As we ran out the driveway towards Waltham Street I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had only run seven miles the previous week and wasn’t in great shape.
Wilmington Half Marathon Mile 1-3
8:25, 8:32, 8:35
As soon as we got onto Waltham Street I tried to settle into a pace that I could hold. No sense going out blazing fast only to flame out down the road.
As you can see from my times above I managed to keep it around my 10K pace. A little fast for a half, but not too bad.
When we got to mile three I took my first GU.
Between miles three and four I began to feel like this wasn’t going to be a great race for me. Maybe I had gone out to fast and maybe I was just out of shape.
Wilmington Half Marathon Miles 4-6
8:33, 8:41, 8:27
We hit mile four in a neighborhood. Even though I had my marathon belt pretty well stocked, I had been getting water at most stops. It was in the mid 70s and not much shade.
I ran by a house where the kids were handing out 500ml bottles that looked cold. They just looked at me as I ran by with my out-stretched hand. WTF? I can’t really complain since it was free and they only had so many bottles. Maybe because I looked like I loaded for bear.
So I continued to get cups of water at most stops. I was roasting.
I’ve been wearing an Under Armour compression tank to avoid chaffing. Today I wore my Summer Classic 5K cotton tank over that and it was too much. Still better than bleeding!
My watch chimed six miles before the race mile marker and I took my second gel. This was a Honey Stinger which I have come to prefer.
As we hit the 10K mark I just felt like crap.
Wilmington Half Marathon Miles 7-9
8:27, 8:47, 8:42
I thought about walking but nothing hurt. My legs and hips were fine. My left foot had been tweaking early in the run but had settled down.
My lack of cardio conditioning was becoming evident. My legs could out-run my lungs!
I began to focus on my breathing which I typically try to ignore. My feeling is that if I’m thinking about breathing, I’m probably in trouble.
I wasn’t about to crash and burn but some active management was needed to keep me going.
As I ran I tried to take long deep breathes. In other races I’ve had some shortness of breath when I’ve out-run my lungs.
At this point in the race I wasn’t worried about passing anyone. I just wanted to hold on.
Several time I tucked in behind someone. I just wanted to stay there and not pass them. But most of these people seemed to be in worse shape than me and I eventually passed them.
Finishing the 15th Annual Wilmington Half Marathon
9:41, 9:17, 9:40, 9:32 last 0.23 miles – 8:34
At 9.2 miles I had to walk. I was pretty spent and I just didn’t have the will to keep running. I decided to walk until my over-all average pace hit 9:40. At 9.3 miles it was time to run again.
Usually when you walk late in a race what ever hurt before is worse and your muscles tighten up. I was worried that I was going to run ten-minute miles for the rest of the race.
Fortunately when I began to run again nothing hurt! Mile ten came in at 9:41 but that included my walking spell.
Mile eleven came in at 9:17 which was encouraging.
That last two miles were a head-down slog. One foot in front of the other. No interaction with spectators or the police details. Couldn’t spare the breath. Literally!
I was so happy when we turned onto Middlesex Avenue! This was the home stretch.
At mile eleven my over-all time was 1:36. I had twenty-four minutes to run 2.1 miles or so. Using rough runner’s arithmetic I was able to “calculate” that if I ran twelve-minute miles I could hit my goal of two hours.
I knew that I was running well under ten-minute miles. All I had to do was keep on doing what I was doing and I’d come in under two hours.
Even though I was totally out of gas I managed not to walk. This was an act of will power as my last fumes seemed to have vaporized in the Indian Summer heat.
At mile twelve I figured people would start passing me as they kicked. I didn’t have any kick so I just got to the side of the road and waited.
Only a few people passed me and I was able to kick it for the finish, much to my surprise.
When I crossed the line the clock said 1:57 and change. I had more than met my goal!
Apre Wilmington Half
I got my medal right after I crossed the mat, but missed the water. My buddy Paul Locke was there and said hello. I could barely speak and told him that I needed to walk around.
Instead of giving out single-use bottles the race had re-usable water bottles! I had to go back to the start to get one, but I needed to walk. I thought just the winners got bottles, but I guess we were all winners.
Soon Nicole Jacob,Lynda Field and Monique Plourde joined us. I don’t think that any of us had a PR or won any age-group awards.
We had fun talking and eating ice cream and hot dogs. I found Anthony and Lynn Malisz before I left. They both came in just over two hours and seemed to be happy with that. I told them that they now had a stake in the ground and have their time to beat for next time.
While it was warmer than expected I think most of us were happy the way things worked out.
Run well My Friends!