2016: Hancock Canal Run Half Marathon

As per usual, Hancock Canal Run signals the completion of two full years since I took to running half marathon distance and marks the beginning of a new year (#4). Reasons to participate in this event haven’t really changed over these years: a very well organized and attended race in my own backyard, the potential to see and be with a lot of friendly faces from the awesome community I am so fortunate to live in and a chance to sleep in my own couch the night before, and show just about everyone in this community that has ever helped me run (better) that their investment in me wasn’t a wasted effort.

In spite of being on the mend from lack of iron (Runner’s Anemia: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5) and protein in my diet, the preparations for this event were spotty. Treating the week after Run The Keweenaw, A Festival of Trails as a normal week, and keeping up with the volume and intensity weren’t very smart decisions in hindsight. There was also a noticeable dearth of strength and cross training. Given that this was only one two remaining events in 2017 that I was treating as a race, I should have been paying better attention to diet, rest, etc.

Pre-race activities included homemade dinner with Elizabeth, a stroll through downtown Hancock to checkout the Key Ingredients and impromptu communal birthday celebrations thanks to dear friends, … before calling it a night around 10/10:30 pm. For the second time in 2016, I forgot some of the race day activities/rituals, and deviated from the recently proven (only with subjective evidence, all which are my own) full sleeve tee shirt technique. I caught one of the last shuttles to the starting area, and there wasn’t much time left beyond the normal exchange of pleasantries with friendly faces and a brief warm-up run.

13.11 mi, 1:55:39, 8:48 min/mile, 6.82 mph, 148 bpm (72.20% of max)
Splits: (1) 8:29 (2) 8:25 (3) 8:44 (4) 8:47 (5) 8:27 (6) 8:25 (7) 8:35 (8) 8:39 (9) 9:03 (10) 8:55 (11) 9:14 (12) 9:49 (13) 9:17 (14) 0:46
Garmin fenix 3 HR, Garmin Tempe sensor and WP GPX Maps plugin for WordPress

The race, on a beautiful sun-kissed morning, started on time, and for the first time, it involved a timing strip at the start. Not wanting to repeat the mistakes and mishaps of last year — 6:20 for mile one, 7:05 for mile two, rolled ankle shortly after mile three, puking by mile seven — I opted for a slow start. Plan was to keep the pace in the neighborhood of 8:15/8:30 min/mile through first five miles, and then consider improving it for what remained afterwards. I was able to stick with the slow start through the first five miles and paid a bit too much attention to every little rock on the course but didn’t roll any ankle. For some unknown reason, the pace never picked up after the five mile mark. I stopped at just about every aid station and used my own hydration and nutrition pack fairly well. There was a hint of sharp pain in my right heel right around the 8.50 mile mark. This was something I hadn’t experienced in recent times. Being unsure of what it was made me a bit cautious and kept me from increasing the pace. Worrying about what it could have been made me a bit weary for the next few miles. Each of the remaining mile took with it one or more of the goals I had in mind for this race. If not for Shannon coming up the final hill screaming (not literally; she ran ~7 min/mile for the last two miles — much of it was uphill) and taking me along for the ride in her wake, I would have taken a few more minutes to cross the finish line.

Personal goals for the event (in order of importance)
## Goal Result
01 No walking including aid stations Yes
02 Keep every mile under 9:00 min/mile pace No
03 Improve current PR for this event: 1:48:49 (7.23 mph, 8:18 min/mile) No, 1:55:39 (6.82 mph, 8:48 min/mile)
04 Improve current PR for half marathon: 1:43:02 (7.55 mph, 7:57 min/mile) No, 1:55:39 (6.82 mph, 8:48 min/mile)
05 Keep the 2015 average run time for half marathons under 2:00:00 Yes, 3:48:32 total and 1:54:16 per event

Post-run activities included participating in the awards ceremony, hanging out with friends in the Hancock Beach, and calling it an early night. While the final time was disappointing, there were a couple positive takeaways: Iron and protein supplements seem to be doing their thing and being able to run 13.1 miles for the very first time in 2016 without stopping, and couple lessons: the need to rest well during the week leading up to this race, and the importance of nutrition, rest, and training. Hopefully, I wouldn’t forget these for the next (and last?) race of 2016 in Marquette in about six weeks.

Praise be to the Good Lord and life's blessings, and thanks be to

the opportunities, organizers, sponsors, volunteers, law enforcement/border patrol/immigration officials, timing folks, photographers, community members, fellow racers, electronic gadgets, software, internet, and my good friends -- the Abbotts (Kathy and Mike), the Blakes (Amy and Scott), the Bogans (Ronda and Jim), the Boissevains (Margi and Paul), the Bradfishs (Anna, Eva and Eric), the Brauns (Teri, Louis, Louis, Tom), the Brewsters (Katie and Brian), the Bunkers (Kris and Kate), the Carlsons (Abby, Cassondra, Josh, and Justin), the Carmeans (Jess and Tim), the Chards (Amy and David), the Donnelys (Darcy and Brian), the Durochers (Bridget and John), the Eles (Sarah and Stephen), the Engstroms (Christine and Jaime), the Ericksons (Maija and Nat), the Farquhars (Cheryl and John), the Fredricksons (Linda and Dave), the Friedrichs (Dr. Mary and Dr. Craig), the Gracis (Kara, Mary, Sam Jr. and Sam), the Grays (Stasi and Richard), the Greens (Kim and Greg), the Handlers (Christine, Rob, Shannon and Stephen), the Janowiaks (Rexx and Maria), the Johnsons (Rich and Erik; Robyn and Adam; Karis and Michael), the Kramers (Mandy and Jim), the Kostinskis (Dr. Lilliana and Dr. Alex), the Lehtos (Tammi and Chris), the MacDonalds (Cynthia and Bruce), the MacInnes' (Elizabeth and Scott), the Makelas (Lynn Czarnecki and Jason), the Manderfields (Leslie and Peter), the Manns (Beverly and Paul), the Meyers (Lisa and Mike), the Meyers' (Jeanne, Ted and John; Julie and Keith), the Milligans (Sheila and Dr. Walter) the Obermanns (Alicia, Catherine, Doug and Tim), the Ontls (Kelly and Todd), the Oppligers (Shawn, Emily, Ruth and Doug), the Pandeys (Aparna and Dr. Ravi), the Pergers (Liz and Dr. Warren), the Ransoms (Cindy and Chip), the Rasners (Amanda and Donald), the Resslers (Dee and Tom), the Richards' (Carrie and Dr. Bob), the Rukkilas, the Salos (Chris, Karen, Dan and Don), the Seelys (Nancy and Dr. Bruce), the Smigowskis (Christina and Tim), the Stenvigs (Alexa, Annie, Chelsea, Erik, Helen, John, Nils, Mike, Nancy Verscheure, Tom), the Stickelmyers (Kari and Steve), the Tervos (Chris, Jim and Ryan), the Tomasis (Susan and Mike), the Vendlinskis (Andi, Jim and Rick), the Vertins (Melissa and Joel), the Vizankos (Kelly and Steve), the Watrous' (Liisa and Matt), the Weathers' (Stacy and Bryant), the Wendels (Heather and Caleb), the Wilmers' (Kelly and Stephen), the Youngs (Amber, Christine and Michael), the Zerbsts (Kristen and Ron), Adam Griffis, Dr. Alex Mayer, Alice Flanders, Alison Umbarger, Amanda O'Toole, Amy Madsen, Angela Luskin, Angela Yu, Anika Kuczynski, Ann Anderton, Ann Hoover, Arni Ronis, Ashley Ames, Ashley Kern, Ashley Miller, Aurelia Leigler, Ben Wittbrodt, Bonnie Zwissler, Dr. Bryan Suits, Carolyn Stevens, Chris Swanston, Christopher Buckley, Christopher Schwartz, Cindy Harwood, Crystal Haataja-Holzberger, Dr. Curt Hillegas, Dan Kauppi, Dana Bianco, Dr. Daniel Fuhrmann, Dean Woodbeck, Deedra Irwin, Dennis Gast, Elijah Gregg, Elizabeth Stempihar, Ellen Manderfield and Ryan Jones, Eric Byykkonen, Erin Kauppila, Greg Reed, Heidi DePuydt, Huanxin-Jessie Zhang, Jamie LaBeske Peryam, James Engel, Jeff Brookins, Jeffrey Burl, Jeffrey Toorongian, Jenelle Potvin, Dr. Jennifer Slack, Jim and Randy in Cardinal Hotel, Joan Becker, Joe Caron, John Burton, John Vertin, Jonathan Kilpela, Julie Koskinen Ruotsala, Julie Springsteen, Justin TerAvest, Karen Koethe and Adam Manty, Kate Waring, Katie Temple, Kay Tislar, Kelly Wooten, Kelsae Eliszewski, Kenny Gilkerson, Krista Kasuboski, Kristen Schmitt, Kristin Thompson, Laura Mlynski, Lauren Schaefer, Lauri Keteri-Smith, Leah Tollefson, Lianna Miller and Benjamin Ciavola, Lena Widman, Louisa Raisbeck and Jesse Cleaver, Lynette Potvin and Matt Manders, Lindsey Goss-Maurisak, Lynn Geisler, Mahesh Shastry, Marc Rea, Mariana Grohowski, Marilyn Swift, Marine Foucher, Mark Bockmann, Mark Schnabel, Mary Webster, Matt Mlinar, Dr. Maximilian Seel, Melissa Elmer and Justin Hoffmeyer, Michael Babcock, Michael Karinen, Michael Sereda, Mike LaMotte, Nathan Erickson, Patrick Rozich, Peter Negro, Polly Bolduc, Shreya Kumar and Randal Harrison, Ray Sharp, Rebecca Anderson, Ryan Towles, Riccardo Tortini, Robert Larson, Dr. Robert Weidman, Sam Roache, Sam Robinson, Sandy Houle, Sarah Bird and William Atkinson, Sarah Ceballos, Sarah Conner, Sarah Menassian, Sarah Stanek, Scott Bolon and Alison Skwarski, Shannon Vairo, Stacy Bussiere, Sue Perry, Sue Peterson, Tom Edinborough, Wayne Mills, 5th & Elm Coffee House, AustinFit, Copper Country Track Club, The Fitz, Houghton Pizza Works, Houghton Police Department, Keweenaw Running Group, Kenyans from Madison, WI (Christine and Scot Van Asten, Claire Luby, Gus Lang, Kelly Higgins, Maggie Turnbull, Mark Mehler, Phat Huynh, and Susan Speth), Michigan Tech Athletic Department, Michigan Tech Nordic Ski Club, Michigan Tech Public Safety, team /var/run (Nancy Banfield, Joshua Myles and Amy Blake), and more (in and outside of my community) -- for the often unexpected, undeserved, unrewarded acts of constant encouragement, and offerings of constructive criticism, tested tips and tricks to improve myself as an athlete.