Sunday, October 19, 2008


I woke up with the regular pre-race nerves today. Any number of things can go wrong during a race. Feeling nervous is normal. In fact, if you don't feel nervous, it could be a sign you're not preparing seriously. But I knew this wasn't my goal race, just another step along the way to what I want to achieve in a little more than a month's time.

One of the things about races is they don't go as expected. I always compare the trials, tribulations and pure joy of running to life. In this way, racing is no different. Things happen. Today, lots of things happened. we picked up a hot Mustang from the Hertz dealership, then began the drive south. We got lost. I'm not sure how it happened, but before we knew it, we were in Mount Holly, which is not Seaside Heights. After rejiggering our route, we arrived in Seaside Heights a little after the start time. "Maybe they'll go off late." Just then, a stream of runners went by on the boardwalk ahead. Ugh. After parking the car and scrambling to the registration, I was set to run nearly 15 minutes after the race started and 10 minutes after a 5k went off.

Thing is, it would be easy to say forget it at this point. No stretching, a slapped on number, a brutal wind and a field miles ahead. Running of course isn't like that. Off I went. The odd part was running at a hard pace by the 5k runners and the back of the half-marathon pack. Many were startled and understandably wierded out. Once I began running, I felt normal. The hard part was setting a pace on my own. It's easy to relax when you're streaming by dozens of people. But the first few miles were at a really brisk pace. At mile 6, I did a 6:01. At that point, I had visions of possible Olympic greatness. Then I met the reckoning when we turned for the back half of the race. It turns out the "brisk wind" was between 30mph and 40mph. Seriously, I can't remember running in anything like it. My pace ballooned. I felt fine, but I was having a hard time even running straight because I'd get bounced around. It was particularly severe because the course went along the shore. By the time I got back to boardwalk for the last three miles, sand was stinging my arms and legs. I finished with plenty of it in my sneakers. I held on. I started to run out of energy the last two miles. I didn't take a gel, and the Seaside Half Marathon not only didn't offer Gatorade but gave out water in bottles. For real. My goal going in was 1:25. I ran a 1:24, the most unusual race I've ever run by the splits. They're crazy, everywhere from 6:01 to 7:19. If I'd started with everyone, I'd have gotten 8th place.

In the end, I'm happy with how the race went. I know I'm there, I really do. Any number of things can happen in Philly on Nov. 23, and they might. I accept that. Still, I know the work has paid off and I have the ability to run really well.

Mile 1: 6:06
Mile 2: 6:12
Mile 3: 6:03
Mile 4: 6:11
Mile 5: 6:02
Mile 6: 6:01
Mile 7: 6:15
Mile 8: 6:44
Mile 9: 7:19
Mile 10: 6:34
Mile 11: 6:45
Mile 12: 6:46
Mile 13.1: 7:24

17 miles


Anonymous said...

congrats, Brian! it's very inspiring!

Brian Morrissey said...

thanks, anon. still plenty of work to do, but i'm on track to do well.

Greg On the Run said...

Well done. You absolutely silenced the Pigdog on this one. Showing up late after everyone started and then cranking it out. I'm in awe.