Sunday, March 14, 2010

Celebrate Life Half Marathon Race Report

This morning I dragged the entire family (wife + child + doggy-teddy) on a long 100 mile drive north of New York City to the small town of Rock Hill in the Catskills. This was so that I could run the Celebrate Life Half Marathon, part of the King and Queen of the Mountains Challenge race series. This race series is organized by the Sullivan Striders. The Wurtsboro 30K, the second race of the series, has become one of my favourite races within close driving distance of New York City. Since we would be away for the Wurtsboro race this year, I wanted to try the half marathon instead. However I didn't want to spend most of the day away from my wife and daughter (and doggy-teddy). Spending the whole day running instead of being with family always makes me feel like a loser. So I suggested to my wife that she accompany me to the race, and afterwards we would spend some time in the Catskills and enjoy the countryside. Being the totally cool and wonderful person she is, she thought this was a good idea, so off we went.

It was hailing when we left the house just after 8am. The drive to the Catskills was notable for long delays caused by flooded roads from the previous nights storm. It was also notable for the improvised bathroom break I took while driving 80 miles an hour on the I-87. We arrived at the race 5 minutes before the start, and I quickly registered and lined up with the other runners.

The quick transition from driving to running made the first mile or two quite difficult. I settled into a comfortable pace after a couple of miles, and enjoyed the frozen lakes, snow and fir trees. The race was hilly. Not big hills, but rolling hills for most of the way. I was almost always running either uphill or downhill. However I enjoyed myself far more in this race than I ever do on the New York Road Runners five borough half marathons. The miles seemed to whizz by surprisingly quickly and unexpectedly. I slowed down a little towards the end as my legs became tired from the constant hills. I finished the race in 1 hour 51 minutes, a time I was satisfied with given the challenging course.

The organizers had arranged for postrace food catered by Outback Steakhouse. While this was far more impressive than anything I am used to, we chose instead to drive to Wurtsboro for lunch, where every restaurant seemed to be Italian (although there was also an Italian / American / Chinese restaurant). After lunch it started raining hard again, so we decided to go home. We took a circuitous route back in order to avoid the flooded roads. We didn't actually get home until after 4pm. It was a long day, and not one I would have liked to have spent alone. I am getting soft in my old age. Maybe running is not the most important thing in life after all.

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