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6 Jul 2009

Judy Parson’s Marshall Half Marathon Race Report

Author: Matt Young | Filed under: race-reports

Well, race day is over……what an experience.  It all began Saturday.  I drove to Huntington to pick up my race day packet. Along with the nice tech shirt and ankle strap chip timer was a complimentary copy of the movie, “We are Marshall” and a map of the course.  So I drove around Huntington (in the cold pouring rain!) scoping out the race course glad the race wasn’t today!!!  I passed on the complimentary pasta dinner so upon returning home, I made my own pasta dinner.  I was a little afraid of eating someone else’s cooking on the day before the race.

Clock was set for 4:45 and I woke up at 4:30.  So I had a few extra minutes to get ready. Clothes were already laid out, temp said 48°…….41 in Huntington.  I put on shorts and a long sleeved tech shirt.  I had bought (at Matt’s insistence) a “disposable” sweat shirt and gloves to start the race in.  I packed my cooler with chocolate milk, orange juice, bananas, and water.

We arrived at the stadium parking lot at about 6:30 just as I had planned. Sun was up and shining, perfect crisp fall day, couldn’t ask for more. We walked around a bit and ran into some friends and chatted a bit.  We walked around to Cam Henderson Center where the race was to begin.  There were my sister Sherri and her fiancé, Bob.  She had come to take pictures of the race.

Soon it was time to line up.  Marathon began at 7:30, Half began at 7:45.  I lined up near the back, as I intended to start at a 13:00 pace using the first mile as my warm up (per Matt’s instruction).  Started out a little bit fast and had to slow it down.  His goal for me was a 12:25 pace overall and a finish time of 2:42.  Seemed pretty lofty to me, but time would tell.  So after my first mile @ 13:00,  I settled into a pace ranging from 11:55-12:40 for the whole race.  I passed a few people during the first 3 miles…….got rid of my disposable shirt and gloves also as I was warming up pretty well.  At about mile 5, I passed a lady really struggling……….guess she started out too fast!!!!  Then I came upon man in red shirt, way up ahead.  Set my goal to pass him.  He walked, ran, walked, ran…finally I passed him with my steady tortoise pace.  Then one, by one, I passed a few more folks (Matt told me I would if I kept a steady pace).  Passed chubby boy in white shirt (cbws), then he passed me, we played leapfrog for most of the race.  Bob drove Sherri around so that she could take pictures along the way.

Made a potty stop at mile 7.  When I came out…there went cbws!!!!  So I was off to catch him.  He was another walk/runner, so I caught him pretty quickly.  Then out of nowhere came “Thespian Girl” with pony tail dressed in little black tights.  She passed me!! So I had another contender.  By this time, the runners in my area were few, so I had to tackle them one by one.  Since mp3 players and ipods weren’t allowed, I had to depend on my metronome to keep me on pace.  That was until I figured out that the runners could hear me coming and they would speed up.  So I sacrificed my metronome…..would rather sneak up on them  J  Along about mile 10 or so, people started passing me…..they were the marathon runners in their mile 22-23!!!  Wow they run fast!!!!!! Thespian girl and cbws and I played some more leap frog.  Finally Thespian girl was history and it was cbws and me!!

My race day plan was if I had any juice left at mile 11, to pick it up and see what I could do at the end.  So I did, and I passed 8-10 people including cbws between mile 11-12!!!!  As I entered Harris Riverfront Park for the second time, I knew there wasn’t much distance left in the race.  What?? There goes cbws….I was never to pass him again.  I guess he was determined not to let this old lady beat him (truth be known, I probably bettered his time considerably……would love to hear his story J)

I tried to run my hardest for a time….until I entered the MU campus…….what in the world????  Brick walks with wet leaves?????  Slowed way down for that…certainly didn’t want to fall down now!!!  Circled around the campus and headed for the stadium and the finish line.  Down the steep entrance to the stadium I went (hard on tired knees), and around the field.  They handed me a football to carry across the field.  So finally, 2 hours and 45 minutes and 31 seconds later, I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon feeling good!!!!!  (remember, coach predicted 2:42!!!)

I received a really nice medal for finishing.  My knees were a little weak, but I walked for a bit and stretched some and actually felt pretty good.  FREE MASSAGES!!!!  OMG.  Put my name on the list………didn’t want to miss out on this!!  So Sherri took some more pictures.

Ally and I ate a hamburger and waited for my turn for a massage and the race results. The massage was wonderful, a perfect ending to a tiring race.  Then finally the results……..I had won, my division!!!!!!!  (Only to find out on Monday morning that I had actually come in 2nd L)

When I got to the car, Larry gave me a really nice card congratulating me and also one from my daughter’s family (who live in Atlanta, GA or they would have been there!) along with a drinking cup with 13.1 on it and also a magnet with 13.1!!! I am really glad for so much family support.

So home we went.  ICE BATH???? Are you serious……….yep that is what the coach ordered…………10-20 minutes in a tub of ice water.  Who am I to argue????  He’s been right on the money so far, so I won’t question him.  Not the most pleasant thing I have ever done, but hey if it will help recovery, who am I to argue????  Then nice, HOT shower, now that’s better.

Sherri and Bob came by to check on me and bring pictures………some really nice ones.  Ate ice cream……..think I burned enough calories to justify it.  Later Larry grilled me a nice steak dinner.   I couldn’t have ordered a more perfect day.

Today is Monday, race was yesterday.  I’m feeling fine.  Other than knees feeling a little stiff (iced them already this morning) and the disappointment of dropping from 1st to 2nd, I have nothing to complain about.

Thank you God for perfect weather and health to run this race, thank you Matt for perfect training and race day planning and thank you family and friends for all your support. This is certainly a memory and a feeling I will hold onto for a long time.

I will never understand how Matt can take a few stats from my running history and devise a plan that will take me almost precisely to where he predicted I would be on race day!!!!!! And leave me feeling good??? Quite a coach!!!!!!  Thanks again, Matt!!!!




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