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"You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back."
- Steve Prefontaine

RACE REPORT: Mote in motion half marathon 11/23/08
DateRaceDistancePaceTotal TimeWeather
11/23/08 Mote in Motion Half Marathon
(Fort Worth, TX)
13.1 mi 8:40/mi 01:53:42 55°F-60°F, 77%-72% humidity, Overcast
Wind SSE 7-10 MPH

Ran Fort Worth Running Club's Mote in Motion Half Marathon. I wasn't sure how I'd do because of my left hamstring, but I felt pretty good at the start, so I decided to try to maintain below 8:45/mile. I averaged about 8:40/mile. Because the field was so small, I actually placed third in my age group. There were only about 92 half marathon racers and 22 relay racers. It made for a great start - no walking. As soon as they said go, we were able to get running.

My friends Katie and Erica from our marathon training group at RunOn were there! How cool is that! It was great to see people I knew. They both recently ran the Marine Corps Marathon (Oct. 26, 2008) and San Antonio Marathon (11/16/08). They recovered a lot quicker than I did after my marathon. My calf muscles were so sore after Steamtown that it took a week before I could start running again without pain. But they were both able to run a half marathon a week after a full marathon!

Even though it was humid (it actually drizzled on my way to the race), the weather stayed below 60°F, which was great. Anything above that and I really overheat and have to slow down.

The course was mainly on the cement sidewalks along the Trinity Trails. downloads Garmin data and maps the route. The first portion started along the street (Old University Drive). Since there weren't a lot of entrants, we were able to start running right away. The street through the park wasn't blocked off to traffic so there were a couple of trucks coming through that honked at the runners to get out of the way. But shortly after that the course went to the sidewalk, so traffic was no longer a concern. There were water stops around miles 3, 6, and 10.

As you can see if you click on the route link above, the course was essentially two "out and back" routes. They probably designed it that way to facilitate the two-person relay exchange point at the start/end/midpoint (which were all the same). From the start, we went Northeast about 3.5 miles along the trails and then back for a total of 7. Then we went Southwest along the trails for about 3 miles and back to the finish for an additional 6.1 miles. I think miles 7-13 were prettier than miles 1-6. They were closer to the Trinity River and there were more mature trees in the landscaping. Most of the course seemed relatively flat with a few slight inclines spread over the miles, so you didn't really notice the elevation change. However, there were 3 short, steep almost v-shaped descents/ascents where the sidewalk went under University, Rogers, and Hulen Streets. Because of the out and back nature of the course, we ran through each of those downdips/updips twice. The first two didn't seem too bad, but the one at mile 13 was the steepest. Luckily, it was close to the end.

The Fort Worth Running Club didn't use timing chips or bibs (which kept the entry fee down to $12). At the end, you wrote the official clock time down on an index card and turned it in. Everyone seemed to honor the honor sytem, which was very refreshing!

There was a guy with one of those double jogging strollers with two kids glued to portable DVD players. He was fast too. He beat my time even though he was pushing two kids. What a great way to get your exercise, give the wife some quiet time, and take the kids with you.

There were a couple of other people running almost the exact same pace as me. One was named Paul. He was a cancer survivor and did the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life every year. He and his wife were also Red Cross Volunteers. They are on-call for the 7 PM to 5 AM shift on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Luckily, they didn't get called last night. However, they got called on Friday night to help out with a family that lost their home in a fire. That's dedication - being on call to help families in need. And they both work full time, so when they get called on Sunday nights, they still have to go to work Monday morning. Wow! Some people are really good!

Paul said he had been running for over 20 years, but that his pace in general had become slower over the years. The exception to that was after his cancer treatment. When his treatment was completed and the cancer was in remission, he actually got faster. That reminded me of an article I read about a woman runner fighting cancer. It was almost like running was the one area of her life where she felt in control. It was a very poignant article and made me cry. It also made me vow to not take even one day of my life for granted.

I ran with Paul until around mile 9.5 and then he pulled ahead of me. But lately I've been able to run faster in the home stretch. So, around mile 11, I passed him and another runner named Thom. Thom surged to catch up with me and we were on pace until about mile 12. Then the last mile, I put on the gas and surged ahead. If I know I only have a mile left, I usually have enough "gas in the tank" to do a fast finish. But I'm always afraid to do the surge before the last mile, for fear I'll run out of gas. I haven't tested the theory to see how far I can continue a fast finish pace of 8:00 to 8:15/mile on a longer race.

Since it was such a small race, I actually placed in my age group. The medals were both very nice, especially considering the inexpensive entry fee. To the left is my age group medal and to the right is the finisher's medal.

The club also had a lot of food/drinks at the end. Plus, they were giving away turkeys and pumpkin pies to those who answered their trivia/sports questions correctly. Of course, I'm not smarter than a fifth grader and I don't know much about sports, so I wasn't able to win the pumpkin pie. So I did the next best thing - I went to the grocery store and bought one this afternoon. :)

It was a fun race with a lot of really nice people. The announcer was really funny and entertaining. He teased everyone, including his volunteers. He was trying to get the membership coordinator to sign up the runners from out of town as club members.

And the reason the race was called Mote in Motion is that the race director's last name was Mote. I had been wondering about that...