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December 5, 2011

Three Bridges Half Marathon — A run in the country

Yesterday's race started at 7 a.m., with the temperature a crisp, clear 27° about 15 miles west of my Podunk town, the race taking place at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The unedited video above marks my first attempt at bookofjoe race TV.

It's unedited because after hours of teeth-gnashing frustration and failure I was unable to figure out how to use iMovie on my iPhone, iMovie on my Air, or YouTube's built-in editing functions.

No matter, I'm gonna make lemonade from my lemons and call myself a disciple of the Dogme 95 school of filmmaking.

Reflections and whatnot on the event:

• It's a small race, limited to a total of 150 runners for the half marathon + marathon. The course consists of a loop which half marathoners do 1+ times and marathoners do 3+ times. It's very rural and beautiful, running alongside rivers and over bridges, with almost zero road traffic. Can't wait for next year's.

• The only reason I made it to the start was because I was fortunate enough to tuck in behind three other cars headed west at 5:45 a.m. on a pitch-black Sunday morning when there were NO other vehicles on the road. I figured they had to be going to the race so I just followed them, being joined by about a half-dozen cars behind me by the time we arrived. My GPS said "You have arrived at your destination" but I didn't see anything like the start of the race so I just followed the cars ahead of me, which proceeded another mile or so and made a series of turns which, trust me, I'd never, ever have known to do on my own, what with the darkness and absence of road or race signs.

• I finished in 2:23:20 = 10:57/mile x 13.1 miles. The temperature was up to 44° by then.

• I estimate I spent about 5-8 minutes filming as part of that overall time.

• For reasons unknown — but most likely related to late-intra-race fatigue/delirium — footage I shot of my approaches to miles 11, 12 and the finish never made it into the iPhone.

• The final product (up top) documents the staging area and events during the 15 minutes prior to the race's start, along with my approaches to miles 8, 9, and 10. You will note ambient music during the mile 10 episode, not intentionally placed there but rather the result of my inadvertently clicking on some button in iMovie during my failed effort to edit the video.

• My time at mile 10 was 1:51; doing the math, that means the final 3.1 miles took 32 minutes. Especially during the last two miles, I was really moving and felt strong and thought to myself, this is the way running should be but rarely is for me. I looked at my GPS watch a couple times during the final two miles and saw I was moving at about an 8:10/mile pace, for me really smoking. I guess I'm in better shape than I thought.

• This race was SO much easier than the Marine Corps Marathon, during which I kept up an 11:30/mile pace for the first 11 miles and passed the half-marathon mark at 2:32, some nine minutes slower than yesterday. Of course, ahead of me lay a 3:15 second half, with pure misery from mile 16 to the finish.

• My thinking that the MCM training gave me an excellent distance base from which to proceed with half-marathons and their ilk in the future by simply maintaining what I've managed to build appears spot-on, and I'm going to try to do a half-marathon — or at least a 10-miler — every month or two from now on.

• I think I can take a minute/mile off yesterday's time, dropping down under 2:10, if I keep it up AND learn how to integrate my iPhone into the race experience (take into account the 5-8 minutes spent fumbling around with the phone as related above). Yesterday I carried it in a belt pouch that required me to slow down to unzip it, then take off one of my gloves — Mr. Stupid here of course neglected to wear his iPhone-compatible gloves purchased specifically for this purpose — turn it on, go to the iMovie icon, and start filming while walking. Another dumb thing I did is leave my iPhone armband at home: it would've made access so much easier.

• None of the many tricked out action cams that I've seen let you see the footage as you're shooting unless you hold your connected iPhone or whatever in your hand. Not a solution. I will await further developments in this field. I'd like a heads-up display wirelessly sent to glasses or a little viewer, and hands-free voice control. It will happen, without a doubt. Sooner would be better.

December 5, 2011 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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Sun generally rises in the east in Virginia - did you check your GPS?

Posted by: Bill Ridge | Dec 6, 2011 11:38:02 AM

Love! The 360 pans are a bit dizzying, though! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/180_degree_rule

Posted by: Tara | Dec 6, 2011 12:36:33 AM

A great start. Looks like a very nice run.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Dec 5, 2011 1:41:33 PM

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