Hidden Treasure Half Marathon

The Hidden Treasure Half Marathon is a small, quaint race that is run in Salisbury, MD, home of Salisbury University, considered to be one of the best college educations available for the cost. This was the third year for this event. I ran the inaugural event as well. The race is growing, but only by a dozen or so runners each year.  For 2012, there were 180 finishers.

The weather was pretty decent on race morning, but a little warmer than I would have liked. The thermometer read 68°F at the 9:00 AM start. I lined up near the front, as I expected to finish pretty well based on the previous years’ results. The race went off right on time and, as is typical, a bunch of people blew past me at the start. The first part of the race meanders through a park-like setting before turning on one of the main thoroughfares in Salisbury just after mile one. By this point, I had already reeled in and passed all but 8 of the other participants. In my sights were the first and second woman and two guys running right on the heels of the first woman. The other three men were steadily moving out of sight up ahead. This section of road was freshly lain blacktop. This, with the clear blue skies made it seem a lot hotter than it was. I was already wiping sweat out of my eyes before mile 2. My goal was to run low 6:40s, so I settled into that pace and started to steadily acquire the few runners that were ahead of me. First to go was the second woman.  I put her behind me around the marker for mile two and set my sites on the group of three running up ahead.

As I started to approach this group, one of the men started to fall off the back. I was able to pass him around mile 3. Now there were only two ahead that were in sight. As we approached mile 4, the fellow running with the first woman started to fade back a bit. He tried valiantly to hold on, as he would surge back to her shoulder, then drop off by a couple paces. This repeated a few times until he just couldn’t sustain her pace any longer. All the while, I was inching closer. Nearing mile 4, he was about 5 meters behind first woman when I caught and went past him. After I went past, he continued to slide back rather quickly until I could no longer hear his footsteps. I now set my sights on the first woman, who was only a few meters ahead of me. I ran in this position for probably a half a mile or more. I was maintaining my pace, but she just wasn’t coming any closer. Then, around mile 4, something happened. 5 meters became 10, then 15 as she steadily started to increase the gap. I checked my Garmin and my pace was spot on. Evidently her race plan said “run the first 4 miles at about Carson’s pace, and then drop to the low 6:30s.” At this point, I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to catch her just yet. I wasn’t about to sacrifice my race plan just to run her down, only to then blow up for the last part of the race. So, onward I went.

The next several miles were uneventful; as I clicked off low 6:40s without a soul around, save for that first woman, who was still visible, but not attainable. After leaving the residential area, shaded by large, old growth pine trees, and heading back to the more commercial side of Salisbury, the temperatures again became a factor, as did a substantial head wind. Mile 9 through the finish were very tough. The course heads out of town on a country road. There were no spectators. There was nothing to occupy the mind. At this point, I was starting to really feel it. My pace was starting to drop and I just really wanted this thing to be over with. I ran this section completely alone. I could no longer see the first woman up ahead as she had continued to increase the margin. I just had to gut it out. Finally, the end was in sight. The finish line is inside the Wicomico County Civic center. I made a turn and saw the building up ahead. I tried to push the pace down, but there was just nothing there. I think I may have managed a brief burst for the last 200 meters or so, but it wasn’t much. As I came through the doors, I saw that the clock read 1:27 something. Try as I might, I just couldn’t push hard enough to come in under 1:28 though.

Final time was 1:28:05. 5th place overall, 4th man, 1st in my age group. A PR by 44 seconds. Splits below. Ignore the split for the last tenth. GPS went wacky when I entered the building.

1 – 6:47

2 – 6:42
3 – 6:41
4 – 6:41
5 – 6:43
6 – 6:44
7 – 6:47
8 – 6:41
9 – 6:43
10 – 6:51
11 – 6:51
12 – 6:52
13 – 6:52
.1 – 3:08