Bradley Harris

Race Report - Cape Cod Marathon

  • Goal: 3:05:00
  • Result: 3:05:13

My goal for racing in 2012 was audacious. I wanted to complete the USATF-NE Grand Prix, the New England Runner Pub Series, and the BAA Distance Medley as well as BQ at the Quebec City Marathon. Originally the Cape Cod Marathon was going to be run at a relaxing pace to complete the USATF-NE series and earn my jacket. After the heat in Canada put an end to my 2013 BQ dreams I stepped back and decided I might just have a 2014 BQ in me at Cape Cod.

The weekend began on Friday night. There was a small crowd gathered to celebrate Jesse’s birthday at the house that Urvi had rented. Jesse was running both the Half on Saturday and the Full on Sunday. He prepared the best way he knows how, by staying up late drinking beers on Friday.

On Saturday morning a group of us woke up and ran a 30 minute shakeout to the finish line where we cheered on Jesse. Then we enjoyed a big breakfast before heading over to the race expo to pick up numbers. That evening we had a huge pot luck pasta dinner at the house with the many Somerville Road Runners that were down to run the race or lend support.

I started the race reasonably far back from the front of the pack. I had never seen the course but had heard from many that the early flat terrain later gave way to late rolling hills. My focus early was on keeping the pace in check. Based on other recent race performances my goal was pretty conservative as far as speed goes. In the first couple miles I spotted a few teammates in the distance and I focused on making certain I didn’t gain on them.

At a water stop around mile nine I planned to eat my first gel. This led to one of the more comical things I’ve done in a race. To keep my rhythm, I try to down the gel just before a water stop so that I can quickly chase it with water. The pack was thin at this point so I moved to grab a water cup from the first volunteer in the line. As I reached out, she turned toward someone behind her and pulled the cup away. In my surprise, I slowed down as she continued to turn away. Next thing I knew I was standing still in the middle of the road. I quickly came to my senses and moved on grabbing water from the next young lady. Everyone around had a good chuckle at the absurdity of the situation.

I crossed the half split in about 1:31:30. As the hills began I passed several of my faster teammates as they slowed to various injuries. I have been running well in hills lately. My strategy is to dig in and maintain effort on the uphills and focus on relaxing and recovering on the downhills.

After a turn at Woods Hole and rounding the lighthouse I was running strong as I turned into 20 mph headwinds courtesy of the approaching Hurricane Sandy. The headwinds slowed me significantly and I decided not to fight them too hard. I was well under BQ pace and the smart money was on letting the wind have its due.

I rolled into the finish smiling and feeling strong. The clock still said 3:05:something and I had put a fantastic finish on a great year. With a 2014 BQ already in my back pocket I couldn’t be more excited to see what I can do in 2013.