Mar 25, 2012

Race Report: NY 13.1 Half Marathon: 2:07:31 (PR)

From my GPS Log
This is a cool race!

I knew my Half-Marathon PR - 2:12:55 - was kind of soft. I didn't bother setting ABC goals for this but if I had, my "C" goal would be a PR. The course - flat and fast. The weather - perfect. The venue: Nice, if small for a half-marathon.


Since WorldVision had a big presence here, I unexpectedly ran into a bunch of old friends at this race from churches I've attended in the past. In fact, no fewer than three of my former pastors were there, including the pastor who married Alex and I! It was great to see them. And, of course, it was great to see my tri club friends whose participation is what prompted me to register. Best of all, everyone that I know about - did great.

The course is silly on paper, and it's silly on the GPS log - and.. I guess at mile 10 when I ran by the starting line for the third time, running it was kind of silly too. But it was all good. Given the venue, they couldn't have done much more. They managed to figure out a course without intersections, without cross-traffic, without closing any non-park roads, and without front-runners catching back-of-the-packers on repeat sections. There were a few overpasses, but those overpasses were literally the only hills on the course. And I am strong enough on the hills that I usually passed a bunch of people going up and over the bridges. So I have no complaints.

I secretly hoped I could get a 2:05 finish (that would have been my "A" goal) but I also wasn't going to kill myself one week before a 100-mile race. Really, I just wanted to test my ability to maintain a pace, and to harden up that half-marathon PR a bit.

My  plan was to go out with an aggressive pace for a half-marathon: 9:30 per mile. It's a pace that would have finish a 5K in about 29:30. I doubted that I'd be able to maintain that for the entire 13.1, but I wanted to know how long I could go at that pace. I also know the risk to reward ratio was low - if I crashed and burned too hard, it's only a half-marathon and I could always jog it in.


As it turns out, I maintained it for about 15K. At the 10K mark I caught up to Pastor James, who I hadn't seen in probably 5 years. We ran together for a few miles. As an aside, he was the only other 6'6" guy on the course that I saw - but much thinner than I. We must have looked funny running together. Anyway, by mile 7 I was starting to struggle a bit. Even though we didn't talk much, I found that merely having a companion helped me push an extra two or three miles before it just got too difficult to continue. It was in the tenth mile where I finally thanked him and said I'm going to back off a bit. Looking at my splits, we inadvertently ran a 9:15 in the ninth mile, and that may have pushed me over the edge.


At mile 10, I actually started walking at the water stop. Grabbed a couple of poweraids and a couple of waters and walked for about a minute just to get my composure back so I could finish out the last 5K strongly. A half mile later I was feeling a bit better, but not so good that I didn't repeat this at the mile 11 aid station (though the walk break was considerably less than a minute.) As you can see from the splits, I returned to a sub-10 minute pace in the thirteenth mile and had a good finish.



splits from GPS log

I was a bit alarmed by a little bit of pain in my right foot. It flared up in the last couple of miles. I've been training pretty hard lately, and I'm wondering if this last week before Umstead isn't coming at a perfect time. I ran 5 miles at 9:30 with the tri club early the next morning, but the rest of the week is all fake zeros until Umstead. Training is over, hay's in the barn, and there's nothing I can do at this point but rest up, hopefully heal up, and prepare myself for the task at hand next weekend.

But that is another post..