Mercedes Benz. The Best, or the Best in a While

I ran my third Mercedes Benz Half Marathon in Birmingham this morning and I’m feeling pretty good about my race. My unofficial time was 1:49:19 which is my best half marathon time since March of 2017. I wish I could report to you where I finished in the old man group, but somehow 4 hours after my finish that information is not yet available online. And that is the gist of my gripe about races in general not just this one
I get that the post -race party is a big part of the attraction for many if not a majority of the runners in a half marathon and they plan to take full advantage of the festivities. I am not much of a partier anymore and I typically like to be on my way as soon as I’m finished running. Every now and then if I run a decent time I may wait a bit to see the results and if I’ve placed and it’s a nice day or if the after party is indoors I’ll stay for the awards ceremony. But just as often I’ll leave an award behind in order to get a jump on the traffic and get the rest of my day going. After all most of us who have run a lot of races already have more medals than we know what to do with. But I still like the option of deciding if it’s worth staying.
I’ve run many races where I knew where I placed within minutes of finishing and I was hoping that that would be the case today. It was cold and damp so I went straight to the car to change and warm up when I was done. I was able to get my time online within 15 minutes or so, but not my place. Now it’s possible that the information was available somewhere at the finishing area but I really didn’t feel like walking all the way back there to find out so we just left.
Like other recent Birmingham races this version of the Mercedes Half Marathon took place on a somewhat different course than in the past due to road construction. So direct comparison to prior years is not possible but it did feel to me like the course was a bit faster than last year’s. The area surrounding the starting corral in front of Railroad Park was much more open than the space outside of Boutwell Hall where the race used to start so I was able to pass off my warm layers to my devoted race support crew (and wife) instead of leaving them behind. As usual the race was a great tour of Birmingham with a good sampling of the many different neighborhoods. I got off to a fast start and was able to maintain a pretty even pace, with NO miles above 9:00 minutes and only 1 above 8:30. According to Garmin I even snuck in a sub-8 at mile 7! That makes 2 races in a row where my final time was below 8:30 per mile and I feel that I may have turned a corner in recovering from 2 years of NYC Marathon training.
Next up; the Paradise Coast Half Marathon in Naples FL. a week from today. I’m more likely to stay for the after-party when it’s 80 degrees and sunny, but a lot less likely to run 1:49:19 which is not my best, but certainly my best in a while.

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