Sunday, June 19, 2011


The 35th Grandmas Marathon and 21st Annual Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon were blessed with weather conditions that once made this event popular. I'm talking about the Northeast winds that can blow directly down the race course that gives the runners a tailwind.

This years events would have such a day, one that has been long overdue, and I was blessed with the opportunity to take part in the Half-Marathon. I had a plan, stuck to it and ran very respectable. The race plan did not unfold the way I had visioned but pretty damn close! One major move by one of my competitors would make the difference but like I said, I wouldn't change a thing if I had to race again tomorrow.

I woke up and got our son to Kid Connection before I returned and broke out for a short 4 miler just to shake out the legs. I knew during that run that good things could happen on Saturday. I didn't announce it to anybody but I had been waiting all week to have a run like that. Tapering, the little bit I did, play more mind games than anything and I was not feeling so well early in the week. Friday I managed to run the short loop and without thinking I was running 6:30-6:40 pace and it felt like 8:00 pace, always a good indicator ones ready to put in a good performance. I sure am happy that happened, because I sure was doubting myself earlier in the week.

Total: 4 miles with 3 striders.

Race morning came quick, as it does in the GB half, and I was so ready to get going. I quickly made my way to the computer room to check the doppler radar to see how long the rain was going to last. When I jumped in the shower it was raining quite hard and the doppler looked like it was going to pass and be over by 0630-0700. For once the weather held true and by the time our race was starting most of the rain had quit. I didn't get the warm up I wanted, so that's when I decided to use the first mile or so to warm up. That didn't quite happen but with the tailwind, it sure felt like a warm up.

The GB Half has gotten very popular since the introduction of money prizes to the top ten a few years ago. Back in the day I finished in a PR that landed me in 4th place overall, a time now that wouldn't crack the top 20! That was then, this is now. As the horn sounded the field took off like no other. The huge pack of open elite quickly made their mark and I settled into pace just to stay out of the way. I would run the first two miles quicker than I planned but remained under control. (5:22, 5:31) At the two mile mark I shed my long sleeve shirt I had on and got to business. My main goal going into the race was to run under 1:12:00 and with hopes that would place me high in the Masters Division. I kept in mind the wind that was at our backs so I really didn't panic when I saw the quicker splits on my GPS. The course is one I have run literally dozens of times and I knew where every small incline was just to make sure I didn't push too hard in a section that didn't need pushing. The next five miles would all read under 5:30/mile pace and I was feeling great. It was at that point on London Road where my main competitor would make his move and I made the decision NOT to cover it. He pushed the 8th and 9th mile and I let him go thinking I would real him in on the slightly downhill 10th mile and exciting 11th-12th miles. That never happened. I would run 5:25, 5:24, 5:25 in chase and I gained only minor ground. (I later talked with Pat an he told me he broke away with a 5:17 9th mile!) As we made our way through the downtown streets the rain-soaked crowds were amazing! They always are in downtown and Saturday would be no different. For some reason as we passed the 12th mile I started thinking too much and got behind two runners as we head into the wind behind the DECC and I let them dictate the pace. My second big mistake. They slowed down and I stayed behind slowing as well. It's amazing how one lapse in concentration can cost you 10 seconds. I had enough energy to push pretty hard down the final stretch (4:56 pace) with another runner and we broke the line just one second apart. My final time would be 1:11:43. A time I knew would be possible but I didn't really know if it would happen. I can thank the wind a lot but I did play out my race plan as best as I could have. What a feeling!!

1:11:43, 48th overall, 5th Master, 3rd in 40-44 age group

Here are my splits for you running geeks like me:
5:22, 5:31, 5:29, 5:26, 5:29, 5:25, 5:30, 5:34, 5:31, 5:25, 5:24, 5:25, 5:34, :32

Total miles: 15 miles

Weeks Total: 38 miles (taper, 5 days)
Years Total: 1184.1 miles

1 comment:

Julie said...

Holy cow!!! Awesome job Gregg! Congrats on the age group placement! I am always so impressed with your speed and finish times!

So bummed that I didn't get to see you! Damn it! I better get to meet you at a future race soon:) You are right, the weather certainly did make things difficult for any real chit chatting. It was so cold before and after the race:) After I was done I just wanted a hot shower and a nap:) One day Julie is going to get to meet Gregg! Deal?

Hope you are having a great week! Take care Gregg!