Friday, November 16, 2012

Trenton Half Marathon November 2012

I have finally recovered from my month long tour of Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Botswana. I mentioned in my last post there would be some big news coming from me about my village.

So here is the BIG NEWS - I will be leaving my village for good sometime in the next few months. Before I do I will spend a week touring some of the most beautiful parts of Botswana one last time. There will be more on the BIG NEWS sometime in December.

I just arrived in the United States as it is time for my annual trip to South Beach. I came over a few weeks early to run the inaugural Trenton Half Marathon taking place in Trenton New Jersey and Morrisville Pennsylvania.

Running with me are a bunch of folks from the famous Full Moon Running Club. Heather, Lorenzo, Laine and Michael. Also joining us is Lynn Adams a friend of Heather's, Kate a friend of Laine's, and Kevin a friend of Lorenzo's. Lynn originally played professional women's basketball she has now turned to professional road races for her tension and anxiety release. Kate is from Maine where she spends most the warm weather months tending to her maple syrup farm and in the winter she hunts rabbit. Kate knows Laine from the navy. Kate and Laine were the first two women to serve as Navy Seals. Kevin is a very quite guy.

Race day was perfect 50 degrees with partial clouds. Being the first time this race was being run you would expect some issues; a start that was 45 minutes late was not one of them. The race directors handled the problems well and I am sure next year will be much smoother.

The Full Moon Running Club decided to start at the back of the pack we waited a good 5 minutes after the gun before we started to run. With over 3,000 runners already on the course, we were off. The course made an immediate right turn as we headed South on Route 29 into the tunnel running along the Delaware River. As we exited the tunnel with a slight up hill we made a quick U turn and headed North back on route 29 North through the opposite tunnel. Heather and I held back as we had a goal time of 1:50 while the others were hoping to be closer to 1:45 so they sprinted ahead, Lynn's goal; finish and have fun.

Mile one came up quick as we crossed at a time of 8:19 a little faster than planned, we slowed slightly as we turned east into the city of Trenton, crowds lined the streets some corners had street bands playing for us. We covered our second mile right on pace at 8:27, Heather and I were feeling good we had passed Lynn, but the rest of the group was far ahead. We continued running through the city we turned west toward the Delaware River and crossed mile 3 at a pace of 8:15 and mile 4 at 8:23.

We were now heading across the “Trenton Makes the World Takes” Bridge. As we crossed the bridge Heather was freaking out. The bridge is grated, so as you run across it if you glance down you see the Delaware River flowing beneath your feet, while you are running on a solid surface you get the feeling you are floating. This is what freaked Heather out.

We turned right as we exited the bridge to serpentine through a park in Morrisville, PA, still lots of spectators cheering us on. Mile 5 was the half waypoint for our Morrisville Tour and we did that mile at an 8:21 pace. We left Morrisville using the Calhoun Street Bridge another grated bridge to freak Heather out as we exited the bridge we crossed mile 6 at a pace of 8:24.

From the bridge we took the entrance ramp onto Route 29 North heading toward West Trenton this was a very straight flat part of the course. We had now completed about half the race, we were feeling good Heather had been talking excessively, at this point my guess is we passed over 1,000 runners and we had not been passed by any. We crossed mile 7 at a pace of 8:18 and mile 8 was 8:18 both miles were straight and flat as we started mile 9 we headed east and up hill we could see the top of the hill so Heather pushed the hill, going all out.

At the top of the hill we got bad news, rather than making a U turn to head back down we turned left and entered Cadwalder Park for more hills. One would think if you entered a park going up a hill and left the park at the same place at some point in the park you would hit a down hill, but NO, up hill, up hill and even more up hill until we exited the park and headed back down the hill toward Route 29. We finished mile 9 at a pace of 8:13, not bad for a bunch of hills. Back on Route 29 South straight and flat all the way to the finish. Mile 10 our pace was 8:14, both Heather and I felt great and knew we would hit our goal and maybe even beat it.

We had to decide when to kick. Too soon and we would burn out, to late and we would not get our best time. We picked the pace up slightly as we continued heading South on Route 29 we crossed mile 11 at a pace of 8:11, as we passed mile 11 we caught Kevin. Kevin did not say much but he stayed with us. We had 2 miles to go and it was time for our kick. We turned East off of Route 29 and looped back through Trenton hitting mile 12 with a pace of 7:42 our fastest Mile so far.

Heather had not said a word which is rather strange for her, so I knew she was getting close to her max, but I was sure she had some heart left in her, Kevin was hanging right with us. As we crossed mile 12 we turned back on to Route 29 South heading toward the Trenton Stadium. We turned up the speed Heather was having a hard time hanging but she was hanging. As we entered the Trenton Stadium Heather started yelling, "HIT!" "HIT!" over and over, like she was possessed, at the same time she kicked in an extra gear and took off from Kevin and me. As we rounded the field it took everything we had to stay with Heather, all three of us crossed the finish line together with a time of 1:45 our last mile we ran a 7:34, our average pace was 8:03. What a great race.

After the race we enjoyed pizza courtesy of the race from DeLorenzo’s Pizza. Then the After Party Party at a local bar where free beer was offered to all the runners.

What a great race and day. Next stop South Beach.