Parks Half Marathon 2013

ROCKVILLE Maryland, September 8 2013

It was still a little warm, but almost getting down to good running temperatures. This was the first time I have run this race when the course was dry – the previous two times (2010, 2012) were after fairly heavy rainfall.

I am getting to the point where I know this course pretty well, which means I am about ready to stop running this race. It’s a little strange that I feel this way about road races*, but the opposite about races on trails.

I have been injured most of the year and training has been very light, so I didn’t expect to perform particularly well. I lived up to this expectation, finishing in 1:52:23 – pretty much right in the middle of my two prior times. I did manage to run the whole distance without walking, which was encouraging after a rough summer’s results.

*Much of the Parks Half is on trails, but they’re smooth, paved trails.

A few recollections:

  • Around mile 6 it strikes me that there seems to be a lot less music on the course than last year. Just a little later we round a bend and there is a guy in a tuxedo playing a grand piano for the runners. A tall dude running next to me yells out “Freebird!” and I’m thinking “douche” – but then the guy starts to play it! A few runners let out obligatory whoops and somebody asks for a lighter. I immediately revise my estimate of the tall dude’s douche status. This really lifted my spirits for the second half of the race.
  • In the last mile I notice a guy just in front of me is looking rough, shuffling along with his feet barely rising off the ground. Just as I am about to pass him he trips over something and faceplants, landing spreadeagled on the ground with a cringe-inducing “Unghf!” A lame “You OK, bro?” is all I can manage as I nip around to his left. I look back and am relieved to see that he’s back his feet, looking not much worse for wear.
  • Just a little later I see Michael Wardian running back down the course, calling encouragement to us mid-pack runners. I holler out “Mike!” and say to the girl beside me “That was Michael Wardian,” but she doesn’t know who he is. I later find out he finished 15th.
  • The Boss’s friend C completes her first half-marathon in a quite decent time, supported by Boss-friend K. C complains of cramps and soreness, but looks very happy with her achievement.
  • When we arrive at the metro for the ride back to the start I notice an older gentlemen with a race bib gingerly walking backwards down the stairs. He looks like he’s really suffering. I offer my standard commiseration – “That’s how I feel too!” – even though I didn’t really feel quite that bad – and am rewarded with a grin.
  • The Boss sets a new PR for the half marathon distance: 2:18:17.