Wednesday, 1 January 2014

November 2013 - a couple of races in America

I was in America for two and a half weeks in November on business. I would be there over two weekends. Naturally the web was scoured for every possible race opportunity. The outcome was:

Sat 09/11 - LUNGEVITY Breathe Deep Busse Woods 10k, Chicago.

This was run in aid of the Lungevity lung cancer charity. It was well organised with electronic timing, small and friendly and consisted of an out-and-back on an undulating and winding paved biking/walking trail, so it was fast compared to what I'm used to. My time of 46:38 was 20 seconds outside my PB at Offerton 10k earlier this year (on a much hillier course). Business travel takes the edge off.

Post race I enjoyed a conversation with a Scot living in Chicago who ran a race in my home town earlier in the year. The running world really is a small one. Then I enjoyed another 4 miles of exercise retrieving course markers, which earned me a free lift back to the hotel.

Next day an icy blast blew down from the north and dumped over a foot of snow on us on Sunday night and into Monday.

Lake effect snow beside Lake Michigan in early November.

Sun 17/11 - Silver Strand Half Marathon, San Diego.

Vintage Chevy and surf board at the start.

This race was also electronically timed, but with a turnout of thousands rather than tens like last week. It followed a flat, linear route along the coast from Coronado to Imperial Beach. There were also 10 mile and 5k options, a wheelchair category and a roller skater category. Talking of whom, the winning skater completed the 13.1 miles within half an hour. That's averaging 26mph!

The skaters, poised for the off.

We started next to a military base and followed freeways that had been closed just for us before running a big out-and-back through another military base just before the finish. I set off ambitiously with the 1:40 group. I had to let them go by 3 miles. The 1:45 group caught me just after 7 miles. I thought I'd tag along with them instead. No chance! I couldn't hold onto them either. The 1:50 group crept up on me on the return leg in the military base with just over a mile left. I sped up and did my best to hold on, but couldn't even manage that. I just about held them in sight as we entered the long straight to the finish.

As I crossed the line a finisher's medal was draped around my neck. It's a quality piece as these things go, depicting as it does the vintage 1950s Chevrolet with vintage surf board on top that was there in real life.

Nice bling.

I can't remember when I last ran a half marathon; it's been many years, but I know I've run faster than 1:51. Did I ever say that business travel wrecks running speed?

The pleasant temperatures had resulted in much perspiration and a salt encrusted face by the finish. We recovered in the sunshine at Imperial Beach with food nibbles, beer and live music, after which it was time for me to return to the hotel. It was still only 11am. They start races early in the US.

I was able to take pictures this time.

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