The Ithaca Gorges Half Marathon was a race to remember.
For the past few months, I have been lucky to have witnessed the process race director Ian went through to put this event together. He regularly posted Facebook updates and questions to we the runners about what type of course we wanted and how he could get the permits to outline a course to our specifications. He did a fantastic job! I felt the course had everything essential that made it an Ithaca race.
The day for me was a success. I have taken the last couple months slowly with run training (mostly not at all) to heal a groin injury. The Gorges half was my first race back. I had very low expectations except to finish. I really missed racing and wanted to get my groove back.
The morning began like my usual race mornings with a 45 minute shakeout run. I came home, ate my prerace meal of a bagel with cookie butter and headed over to get my racing bib and swag. I cannot complain at all about the race grab. In addition to t-shirts, there were bumper stickers, a beer bracelet and an Ithaca Beer growler. I really don’t think that anything could say Ithaca more.
At registration, I caught up with my team members and a few other friends who were running the race. We all make a plan to run together, but it never happens.
I went to the starting line early and was caught up in the amount of people who came to race. There were more people on one street than lived in the entire town (or so it seemed). For an inaugural race, Ian drew a huge crowd.
The rams horn (Ian’s choice) blew and we were off. I started out in the back not really knowing what to expect. I ran with a couple teammates for a while and then one of my schoolmate’s dads who I know very well. We got to Stewart Park and he made a comment like “This place will look more beautiful when we’re here the next time”.
Having not looked at the course, I realized that the last three miles would be flat. BONUS! We left the park and headed towards the infamous “Remmington Mile”. I had never ran up this steep elevation before, but considering there is whole event surrounding it (called The Remmington Mile) I figured it would be brutal.
However, I was pleasantly surprised that all my hill training in the past on Gunhill made me ready for this elevation. I was able to run it all and pass a lot of people. I was starting to feel like my old self. I got into a groove and picked up the pace. We ran through Cornell’s West Campus and through Fall Creek. When I hit Stewart Park again, I knew I would finish…but the wheels started to come off.
Rather than keep pushing at my pace, I did a body evaluation and slowed down. This was my first race back and I do not want to either wear myself to the point of collapse nor get injured again. The last few miles felt very long.
I crossed the finish line in 1 hour and 43 minutes and change. I was beyond thrilled! My goal of breaking 2 hours was shattered. I want to race again!
The winning female time was about 1:26. My PR is 1:24 so I am confident that if I am healthy next year, I could actually race it.
The winning male time was about 1:13 and guess who it was?
That’s night, a fellow MPF/RNR team member, Cole Crosby. Oh yea, got a picture with him pre-race. I knew he would win.
After the race, I grabbed some food and then had to leave promptly because I had to work a shift at CTB.
Next race? Who knows, I’ll probably jump in one as soon as my legs are recovered 🙂
Have a great Monday!