2022 Colchester Half Marathon

Today’s 30th edition of the Colchester Half Marathon was a chilly, windy, snowy, and icy affair. That makes it a typical Colchester “half.” Many of them have been like this. This was my sixth time, including the last three in a row, but more importantly it was Shepard’s first. Correction: it was his first on his own two feet. In the 2007 edition, when he was six months old, I pushed him in our Chariot CX-1 “jog stroller.” I guess you could say that he already knew the course.

Debbie also ran, but I’m sure she would say the best part of the day was seeing our son enjoy his post-race “runner’s high.” I did the entire race with him, which was fun. I felt strong and could have gone ahead, but I really wanted to stick with him. After I paced him up the final grinding hill, he crossed the line first (clearly) as he surged ahead at the finish. Oddly, they show me in front of him in the results, which makes me look like a bad Dad. We had consecutive bib numbers and they had to have given us the wrong ones. Bad Dad.

His goal was to break 1:30, and he just missed, running 1:30:22 on a tough course in tough conditions. He was toast after the finish and I’m sure he will sleep like a baby tonight. Yesterday’s snowstorm followed by plummeting temperatures meant that the roads were quite sketchy. They had been plowed, but some of the asphalt backroads were icy. The two dirt road sections, that total a few miles, were a challenging snow and ice covered mess with limited traction. Thankfully we did not fall.

I opted to use my Altra Lone Peak trail runners with a lugged tread. He used the Altra Escalante road shoe. Right before the race, I actually switched to my Escalante’s, but after getting some “intelligence” from other runners, I switched back to the trail shoes. I’m not as sure-footed as Debbie, or as confident on my feet as I used to be, so I played it conservatively. My quads took a pounding, but that’s what Colchester does to you.

Shepard and I stayed together and he even led for long sections. He was steady until the 11 mile mark when he started to fade. Of course, everyone fades in the last two miles at Colchester as the incline steepens and drags on forever (well to the finish). The last mile has more vertical gain than any of the previous 12. Despite my encouragement, the goal time slipped away. After a few minutes of being hard on himself, he realized that he had a good run, especially given the conditions and terrain. If he wants to run a “fast half,” there are better courses and better times of the year.

It’s been one month since Debbie ran the HURT 100 and after some rest, her fitness is starting to come around again. Colchester wasn’t anything like the Oahu jungle. Today, it was in the 20’s Fahrenheit. This was my first race of the year. I hadn’t pushed hard since my Mt. Ka’ala run, and hadn’t pinned on a number since mid-December when I did CX Nats in Chicago.

We saw a lot of friends at today’s race. I’m always impressed with the runners who do multiple loops. Some did three laps for a total of 40 miles. That’s hard core and something that doesn’t interest me. If it was all trail, I might consider it, but running distances like that on asphalt (even if there is a little dirt road), is nuts.

Colchester has awesome volunteers, and none more so than Race Director Rick Konan, who really made us laugh. Mid-race, he was standing at the top of the steep dirt road climb and yelling like a madman. Shepard and I were just behind the first woman, Brittany Telke. He told her she was first woman and then screamed (with his usual vigor) at Shep and said, “You’re second woman!” We were wearing hats and sunglasses, and Shepard’s luscious locks were spread across his shoulders. We explained to Rick that Shep was a boy, and he apologized profusely and then ran next to us for 100 yards telling us a story “from the 1970’s” about buying fancy “white shoes” that apparently made him look like a girl. I think he as trying to make Shep feel better! Even still, with all of Rick’s encouragement, I was motivated to run faster. I just wish that I could grow hair like that, so Rick cheer madly for me.

Race Results

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