Last night I came "off the couch" and decided my first run in over a week would be the Full Moon Half Marathon here in town. It's a first-year event and is unique in the fact it starts at 7:00 PM and runs into the night. I really had zero expectations for it but decided I'd be very pleasantly surprised if I could average 7:00 miles, but realistically expected to be able to run 7:20s at best. I did a lot better than I was expecting, getting stronger as the race went on, and would now like to present a "How To" for any of you out there that haven't won an age group. Consider it yet another generous public service offered by yours truly. I'm sure it will help some more than others.
How To Win Your Age Group
- 1. Pick a race in its first year of existence. It hasn't had the time to generate a loyal following or bring the speed demons out of the woodwork.
- 2. Pick a race that has an entrant cap. It's kinda like figuring out your wedding invitation list: You can expect only 75% of your list will actually show up, and 25% will be drunk for the reception (or, in this case, drunk for the 7:00 PM start time. Hey, it's Wisconsin!).*
- 3. This one is the KEY... Make sure the only really really really fast people entered in the race aren't in your age group.
Ta-Dahh! And there you have it, Nic wins his 21-29 age group (widely considered the most competitive age group, of course) in the Inaugural Full Moon Half Marathon with a maximum entrant list of 200. **
As I mentioned, I got stronger and stronger as the race went on and ended up running a huge negative split (7:08 avg first half, 6:51 final pace avg), even avoiding a "chicking" (present-tensed form of being "chicked") by passing "duding" the winning woman with half a mile to go. I finished 5th overall and all 4 runners in front of me were age 19 or YOUNGER! Wow. I can remember what I was doing at age 19...for the most part...and it would have severly impaired my ability to run a 1:27 half marathon.
*By the way, I happened to attend college in a town which holds an annual competition entitled "Blatz vs. Old Style" and find Nitmos' comment regarding both Schlitz and Blatz highly offensive to my personal and state's German heritage. Perhaps reparations are in order. Your call, Mr. NoseInTheAirWhenItComesToGoodAndCheapBeer Nitmos
**That makes a grand total of: 5 age group victories in my career. I won the 25-29 age group last year in the 2 Mile Lake Street Run, and in my freshman year of college I won my age group in 3 different sprint triathlons (I was pretty much the only 18 year old in the competition...see the above criteria...I still display the plaques in my basement, though :) )***
***Notice the double parenthesis at the end. That's intentional and gramatically correct, as the first parenthesis is included in what the young people refer to as an "emoticon" and the second parenthesis acts as a closing. Try to keep up.****
**** Thanks again to Nitmos for the idea of a ridiculous amount of asterisks. By the way, I linked to his website 4 times in this post. Not sure what that says about me...