Maple Leaf Half Marathon

September 8 I drove the 4 hours to Manchester, Vermont to run the Maple Leaf Half Marathon again.  I had run it in 1998 with Tom.  This year Cathy and the dogs went with me.

Got up at 2:30, and checked with Cathy.  She wasn't sure if she would feel up to it, but she did, so I loaded the van and we got on the road with our coffee and cooler about 3:30.  A couple of stops and we got there (195 miles) about 7:30.

When I got my number I found out that the course was drastically and completely different than 1998.  The start and finish were now on the hill in front of the athletic building of the Burr & Burton Academy.  And they had placed a mountain in mile 9-10 of the course.  Bummer!

I had run the roto-tiller a few hours the day before, and got maybe 2 hours of sleep.  So I had lots of excuses.  My plan was to run 9:30, 9:00, 8:30 miles to warm up, then 5 8:00 miles and then decide what to do.  This seemed to be okay since the mountain was at the 8 mile mark.  The first part of the course was on heavily traveled Route 30, with a 20" inch wide shoulder.  I completely forgot my plan once under way, as the splits show.

These splits are corrected, since my Nike SDM thought the course was 13.6 miles, and it may have been.  Anyway, about 4 miles I lost all desire to race.  I kept running fairly hard to 8 miles, and there was no mountain.  Then the mountain appeared about 8.5, and I walked up most of it.  Seemed like the first 10 miles was almost all uphill.  I had fun coming down the 11th and 12th miles, and felt able to stretch it out without any discomfort.  The last .2 miles are uphill.  Cathy was waiting at the corner at 13 miles.  I finished in 1:55:47.  Terrible performance.  Although mitigated by the course and the heat.

The race was very well organized.  It started on time, and the awards began within 5 minutes of the last runner finishing.  There were 6 water stops as advertised, adequate markings at all corners, and all miles were placarded.  I think they were long, but the course is certified.  There were hot showers after the race, very nice.

Martha deGrazia won her age group.


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