Yesterday I ran the annual half marathon in my hometown of Ridgefield, Connecticut. It was the second time for me running a race after my herniated disc injury nearly 2 years ago and rather unexpectedly I did better than last year.
My results came in at 1:55:15 which made it a 8:48/mile pace. That's my second best time in the past 5 years running the race and it's nearly 20 minutes shorter than my last attempt.
I can't say if I owe the better results to a more recovered back, or perhaps just a psychological inducement as I move further away from the date of my injury. Of course a herniated disc will never heal and I still suffer some of the symptoms like pain and tingling. That’s something I'm always aware of.
I hadn't trained at all for this upcoming event, but I had been going on longer runs on nicer days and I'm sure the extra distance also gave me the extra boost. The weather also helped. While humid and warm, it wasn't uncomfortable. I did have to slow the pace a bit on some of the uphill sections but never down to a walk. Still I was surprised as I got to the finish line and saw the clock under 2 hours. I'll see how I'll do on my next half marathon race, a mere 4 days away.
Ok, enough about me. The winner of the race was a 39-year-old Kenyan native. Not much surprise there. When I Googled his name, I landed on a few articles describing how African runners arrive in the US, fan out, and make a living running (and winning) in various local races. It seems that some people are miffed at this practice, citing unfairness. Mind you, the African runners are career athletes, some of the best, even in their own native countries, with the physique, genes, and time for training only a few could match.
Of course for me, who would never even get close to their levels of proficiency, it doesn't really matter, but it could dissuade some of the locals from participating and that could hurt the events. I can understand both sides, but as long as no performance enhancing drugs are involved, I can't argue against it.