BRASS TAP HALF MARATHON - Ozone, FL
1:30:32, 5th overall, 4th male, 1st place age group. I have to go back to Dec 2013 for a faster time.
Last year's time was 1:34:00. I had two goals this year - run faster than 1:34:00 and at least run the first 3 miles at 6:59 or faster. I managed to run the first 9 miles at 6:59 or faster.
Miles 1-9: 6:37, 6:48, 6:47, 6:48, 6:47, 6:52, 6:46, 6:57, 6:58
Into the second mile, as the crowd thinned out and the three fastest guys were way out in front, I was trailing closely behind the first place female. The course winds through town, the does an out and back on the Pinellas trail, crossing over a pedestrian bridge, then doing a 180 turn, back over the bridge and looping back through the town.
So, about mile 5 or so, I finally caught up to first place female (named Christina), go slightly in front of her and very promptly missed a turn. I could see arrows on the asphalt pointing which way to go but for some reason I thought those were only for the second loop. There was a policeman there. I suddenly was not sure about my second guessing the arrows, said something to Christina who asked the policeman who said that yes, we were going the wrong way (he figured we knew what we were doing). Fortunately, we didn't go that far out of the way. I still felt bad for messing up just as I took the lead.
However, I think we had been slowing down slightly and now both picked it up maybe due to the panic. I got slightly ahead of her again as we did the out and back near the bridge. Mile 9 marker was just before the bridge. I was ahead slightly but then slowed down and she passed me on the way down. I was suddenly running about a 7:45 pace.
Miles 10,11, and 12: 7:26, 7:24, 7:15
I followed Christina, tried to not stay too far back and slowly picked it up and hit mile 10 at 7:26, did a little bit better the next mile at 7:24, and same with mile 12. We were nearly side by side at the mile 12 marker and both picked it up. She pulled a little bit ahead as we ran headed toward the finish line, with last mile split for me at 6:49.
Course is a little bit short, but it was also last year when I ran 1:34:00, and the year before when I ran 1:30:50, with this year's race 1:30:32 (Christina got 1:30:25). I was grateful for being able to race against and work with Christina on the course. With the three fastest guys way out in front and the two of us ahead of most of the others, it would have been a tougher race if I didn't have anyone to chase and it seemed to help her, too.
We chatted a little bit after the race and I heard her mention the overall winner's (1:14:29) name was Michael MacDonald, whose name sounded familiar (from fastrunningblog.com!!). So, I said hi to him and asked if he had a blog here. Yes, indeed, same person. Great meeting another FRB'er