Well, for the first time I was able to run a race for fun! And I had a great time. The first annual Jazz half marathon kicked off this past Saturday. The run started just west of the French Quarter near the convention center and headed west through the garden district and circled back through city park. A very pretty course that was completely closed to traffic.
There were 2,000 registered participates with nearly 1,400 finishers. I had wanted to run in costume since this run was in New Orleans and it was on Halloween. However, a cool front with a lot of rain moved in Friday night. It was still raining just before the race started. I really only needed a slight excuse to back down and there it was. In retrospect, there really were not very many people in costume and the few that were dressed up were simply in small devils horns or very race friendly outfits – like girl scouts or lederhosen.
I started way back at the start (you had timing chips so starting did not matter) and went out slow. There were a ton of people to pass in the first mile – I mean a ton. It took a long time to weave in and out but I was not really trying to make up time – just to warm up and get through. A little bit after the first mile marker I caught up with a guy named Jeff and we chatted for the next five miles. I was running at a comfortable pace and just enjoying the morning. We were clicking off just over 8 minute miles when we started running together. By mile six the pace was at 8 minutes flat. Jeff needed to drop off a little bit and he needed to hit a porta-loo. I kept at it and Mike jumped into stride next to me – he had overheard some of the conversation with Jeff and said that he had been at IM Louisville also. Small world – Mike and I discussed all of the aspects of the ironman for the next 4 miles – how the race went for each of us – if we were going to do another – how much running (or lack thereof) we have been doing in the last 2 months, etc. I really enjoyed talking with Mike and was disappointed when his pace started to slip. We had been running about 7:30 minutes per mile and this also seemed comfortable to me. It was pushing Mike a little too hard and at mile 10 he dropped off. I had planned on running hard this last 5k of the race and I picked it up to a pace where it would be difficult to talk. At mile 11 I passed a couple of guys and once again started to make some small talk – I was basically told that I was running a good pace and I needed to STFU and just finish the damn race. You know what – they were right. I needed to just finish the race – I had had enough of the messing around. I took the last couple of miles at a hard effort and finished the race in 1:40:04 (98 / 1379). Not a PR by any means but a fun race. On a side note I think the race was a little bit short but it does not matter – I had fun and I do not feel disappointed not running my best ever.
I have signed up for another ½ marathon the first week of December in Baton Rouge. This will be a real race for me – I have 1 month to prepare and see if I can reach my goal times. There will be several people from the running club and I hope that I can hang with Terry L. for the race. Terry is a good deal faster than me and he might just be the inspiration that I need to have a breakthrough race!