Race Recap: Gloucester Half MerryThon and Reflections on 2016


Sunday’s half marathon went really well. It went exactly as expected, actually!

My father-in-law was visiting for the weekend, and on Saturday I told him that I would probably run it under 2hrs, 10 min. “I bet I get a 2:06,” I said. I crossed the finish line at 2:08 for 13.3 miles. Tri Friend and I ran together for the first 10 and half miles, and her  watch also read 2/10ths of a mile over half marathon distance. She thought the extra 2/10ths of a mile were due to weaving, but I personally don’t recall much weaving on the course. There were only about five hundred runners. I also recall the race running long last year, too, so it might just be a long course. Not that I really care, but if you account for the extra 2/10ths, I pretty much hit the nail on the head with my predicted time. This just demonstrates how predictable a runner I truly am, not that I need to go try my luck at Powerball.

My seeming inability to show real improvement is frustrating. On the one hand, my pace is respectable. It’s a great pace if you have no illusions of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, and you just want to ENJOY the EXPERIENCE of RUNNING. Fine, but I’ve been at this for a long time. It’s a little disheartening when I feel my body start to break down, eventually revolt, and finally go on strike when I try to push beyond my threshold of miles per week and average pace.

Here’s the thing about last year’s race. I ran it super fast… for me! That translates to ten minutes faster than Sunday’s race.

Me, last year’s race. Gorgeous day!

It was also my third half marathon in so many months:

December 2015: Gloucester, MA Half MerryThon (1:56:00 or 58. I can’t remember exactly.)

November 2015: Stone Zoo Howlin’ Wolf Half Marathon, Stoneham, MA  (2:02:00)

October 2015:  BAA Half Marathon, Boston, MA (2:08:00)

My baseline, non-training fitness level is about a 1o min/mile pace averaging about 15 miles per week. My peak fitness in-training is about a 9/9:15 pace and 25 miles per week. This is not exactly a wide spread. It’s like a riddle I haven’t quite figured out. The answer is probably staring me in the face.

It’s time to get my leg fixed. For more on that, see “Tumors and Other Buzz Kills.” My PCP gave me a referral to a sports-centered orthopedics practice group in my area made up of a couple surgeons and physical therapists. Before they would give me an appointment I had to gather up all of my medical records on my femur/hip from BIDMC and Children’s Hospital. The records go back to 2000. In looking through it, I’m having second thoughts about leaving Dr. Gebhardt at BIDMC. His notes from our appointments are very comprehensive; or, depending on how you look at it; a long, sad story of a foolish 20-something in denial about the severity of a chronic issue. Still, it can’t hurt to get a second opinion. Schlepping into Beth Israel to run the gauntlet of attending physicians and surgery residents before seeing Gebhardt does not exactly fit into my lifestyle right now. He wants to put a pin or a plate in my leg, which is not a decision to take lightly. I’ve had a long time to think about it and I am prepared to do it if that’s what it takes to “fix” my leg, assuming it’s fixable. That’s my question. On some level, in spite of best efforts, am I just going to have to live with this impairment?

So that pretty much wraps up my race calendar for 2016. This time last year, I was coming down from my “fast” MerryThon time and hot-to-trot on marathon training for the Vermont City Marathon. I was so optimistic! So naive! This year, I am no less optimistic but a lot less naive. Overall, my progress has been qualitative over quantitative. 2016 was about Friends of the Fells, trail running, great conversations and new connections. Also, I haven’t weighed this much (or little?) since 2007! So there’s that, too.

I’m all about looking forward, not back. My husband and I were just talking about it, actually. We had a bunch of friends over for his birthday and it was a lot of fun to bring together people from college, law school, and work. People either grow together or they grow apart. There’s nothing static about relationships or the world we live in. Old friends can become new friends again, and new friends may find common ground with the old friends. You never know. It’s kind of a beautiful thing if you let yourself care, and you take the time to nurture the array of relationships in your life. Every one of them, even the most casual connection, needs a little nurturing now and again. That’s how I plan to stay present in my life, avoid rumination, and continue to move forward; by nurturing the positive relationships in my life, continuing to do things that bring me closer to those people, like running, hiking, singing silly songs and painting pictures with my kids. I’ll also continue to cultivate my own creative and expressive outlets like this one, through writing and art.

Any goals for 2017?

Reflections on 2016?

Thoughts on pushing past your pain threshold and getting out of a pace rut?

6 thoughts on “Race Recap: Gloucester Half MerryThon and Reflections on 2016

    1. Hi Andy, yeah I can run pretty well on it as long as I keep my weight down and don’t push myself too hard. Training for my last marathon didn’t go so well though. The wheels started coming off when my mileage got over 30 miles a week. Do you know anyone that goes to excel ortho in Woburn unicorn park? Getting a second opinion there…. thanks for asking!

      Liked by 1 person

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