The day started with cloud cover overhead and the tantalizing rays of sunshine just out of our reach. The front had decided to park itself over us and keep it cool and cloudy. We could see the end of the line of clouds just off to the North, so close, but the chill of the morning persisted.
We headed down to the start and took our places amongst the crowd and waited through the normal pre-race announcements, anthem, etc. Soon enough it was go time. Off went the gun and the crowd began its surge forward.
Now, when it comes to races, one personal rule that I have managed to stick to almost without exception is that I never wear anything that I have not previously worn on other runs. I managed to break that rule in two ways this race. I wore a new shirt during the race but fortunately that turned out ok and actually helped keep me warm during some of the cold, windy spells. The other item, which I was obligated to wear, was a velcro ankle bracelet that had the timing chip on it. I knew this was going to be an issue as soon as I saw it. Between miles 2 and 3 I had to stop and readjust the strap because it had cut up my ankle so much that the blood was freely flowing. Thanks for that organizers, it felt really great in the shower today.
Other than the bloody sock (and some blisters, but they didn't show up until later) the race went really well. I came out a bit faster than I thought I would and decided to stick to the pace. I didn't start to feel tired until about mile 8 and it was mostly easy until about mile 10. The long (read: loooong) hill that started just before mile 12 really didn't help much but I overcame it. At that point I was ready to be done and it was just a quick jaunt to the finish.
And what a finish. 1:36:10 was my final time. That's about 5 or 6 minutes faster than I had originally planned and my second fastest Half yet. So apparently I am doing a little better in my training than I had thought. I was really happy with my time and am looking forward to my next Half (after the marathon that is).
One last jab at New Bedford: I know it is a tradition and all, but could you please expand your post-race refreshments to include something other than fish sandwiches and clam chowder. There surely is nothing more appetizing after running your ass off for 13.1 miles than a steaming bowl of clams and milk. Yum. Even some plain crackers would have been nice.