I ran the Salisbury Half-Marathon yesterday, finishing in a time of 87:52, which was good enough for top master female and 7th female overall.
This wasn't the first year for this race, but it was the first year I had really paid it any attention, though I'm familiar with the race management, having run the St. Michaels Half-Marathon a few years ago. Both the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and the Monument Avenue 10K fall in early April each year, and I've always chosen to do one of those.
But not this year. Both Monument Avenue and Cherry Blossom went virtual, while Salisbury decided to take a stab at hosting a live race with Covid protocols. So....Salisbury it was.
The race was split into multiple waves, with my wave starting at 7:30 am - way too early to drive that morning (especially since I'd have to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge - a noted bottleneck). So I drove over Friday morning and checked into the local Marriott where I worked all day. I was amused when packing my travel back-pack to pull out old receipts from January and March 2020 - that sounded about right.
Race morning was another reminder that I hadn't done an overnight travel race in a very long time. Essentially:
- Leave hotel.
- Realize in parking lot that I have forgotten the stroopwafel I wanted to snack on before the start, so return to room to retrieve stroopwafel.
- In possession of stroopwafel, attempt to leave hotel parking lot. Only to realize that my vision is horrible. Look at prescription driving glasses, realize that one lens has fallen out of frame.
- Grab prescription sunglasses. Confirm that even though it's pre-dawn, I can see well enough out of them to safely drive.
- Drive to race.
- Park. Put on racing shoes. Leave car to start warming up.
- Realize that the air is REALLY cold and dry, which aggravates both my asthma and my vocal chord dysfunction.
- Return to car to gulp Pepto-Bismol (it coats my throat and helps with the VCD; the asthma requires my rescue inhaler).
- Finally, about 15 minutes behind schedule, I start warming up.
The marathon course essentially split from the half, did a 13.1 mile loop on its own, and then rejoined the half course, which meant that in the final miles I had two sets of mile markers to work from --- markers 11, 12, and 13 for the half, which were preceded by markers 24, 25, and 26 for the full. I love it when that happens, because it makes the final miles seem to flow just a bit faster.
- This was a cold race - it started at 28 degrees but warmed up nicely to 39 degrees by the time I finished. I debated what to wear before going with singlet, arm-warmers, light tights, and a buff. I've found that running with a buff tends to change the whole clothing equation - buffs are the worst of both worlds as they do nothing to keep you warm when standing around, but block heat from escaping when you run. But they're what we wear right now, so a singlet top seemed a good pairing. I also wore a plastic poncho to trap a bit of heat while I was standing in the corral.
These clothing choices worked out well - I wasn't TOO cold at the start, but I was never uncomfortably warm at any point during the race.
- I decided to test out the Adidas Adios Pro shoe in this race - Adidas' answer to the Vaporfly. I had worn it in a tempo workout that went surprisingly well a few weeks ago, so why not try it here and see how I liked it in a race. Whelp - I didn't like it at all. That shoe seems to work best with a foot strike biased more towards the forefoot. For me, in half and full marathons I strike further back on my foot - not quite a heel strike but not too far from one.
Early in the race I was running more on my forefoot since that's how the shoe felt best, but as I got tired I reverted to my normal gait and the shoe felt utterly awful. Like a wobbly clog. Like I was fighting it. The best shoe for any race distance is the shoe that feels good at the start and finish - that wasn't the Adios Pro for me at this distance, and no way I'd use this for a full marathon. No question that for the half or full I'll stick with a) the Vaporfly or b) the older Adios Boost line.
I noted that it was my hamstrings and feet (especially the arches) that got very sore and tight during this race - not my glutes or quads. And I felt like I wasn't using my glutes much despite trying to. I think this shoe is just not a good fit for my gait for the longer distances. Perhaps it would work for me for a 10K? (not that I get to race that distance very often).
- Post-race, I stopped by Cambridge, Maryland (about 40 minutes away from Salisbury) to visit my parents. I haven't seen them in person since early last summer, when I did a socially distanced (i.e. 10 feet) outside visit. My parents aren't quite fully vaccinated yet - Dad is done but Mom only had her second shot this week. But, they are doctors and better qualified than I am to evaluate the risks - I asked them whether I should stop by now for an inside visit or wait another 10 days.
They both felt that an inside unmasked visit was totally fine and worth it, given that Mom and I were both several weeks past our first shots (I get my second shot on Easter Sunday). So I stopped by and caught up for about 3 hours, complete with hugs at the end. It was a great way to end the day. (And far better than the traffic jam I had to deal with afterwards).
- When I got back to my hotel post-race, I found my missing lens from my driving glasses on the floor of my room. Whew - that was a chunk of money saved.
- I get my second Moderna shot this morning. Then I'll combine shot recovery and race recovery this coming week, before shifting into training for Grandma's Marathon.