I am looking to getting this half marathon over tomorrow. I can’t believe I have been so worried about it. I do not like training shorter than the full run, I wish I had gone on a long run longer than the race so I have an idea what to expect. Oh, well, this is a new experience I get to have and I can decide how to do my next one after this. I plan to start out with a 9 minute mile and see how I am feeling. I hope my worst case is slowing down to 10 minute miles but again, who knows. I don’t know if they mark every mile and the start is a bit murky on the map, so I will gauge this by the first water station which is listed at 1.8 miles. So I should hit it at 16:12 if on a 9 minute pace. They have marked the miles on the map as 4/17, 6/19 etc as the full marathon joins the course in the middle. Since I don’t know and didn’t ask, although I may at the expo, I have to assume that any number is up to a tenth of a mile off (the half should meet the full at the 13.1 mark and the miles would be off by .1, since its officially a boston qualifier I have to assume the miles are marked for the full more accurately so when I hit mile 13/26 I actually have .2 left not .1 cause I am probably at 12.9 really), meaning should reach mile markers 1 minute earlier than of than my planned pace. I didn’t have much kick at the end of the 10k, so I doubt I will be able to pull out an 8 minute mile at the end to make up time. Either I am steady and can keep the pace or I will slow down the longer it goes and drop off my goal. We shall see tomorrow.
I found out that there are 800 people entered in the half marathon so far, and they said that a lot are signing up as the day goes by. So I found another nearby half marathon one week later and looked at the results from last year. It took a bit of work but I graphed the distribution of the finishers by minute. The biggest spike is minute 121, 32 finishers of 1006 entrants. This is quite a spike for a group of people that likely tried to push to beat the 2 hour mark but couldn’t quite do it. (Or at least I envision they would have tried to.) Assuming they pick up another 200 entries today and get to 1000 as well, I can expect a finisher every 2-3 seconds at the peak of the bell curve where I am hoping to be. At a 9 minute per mile pace, that is 30 people spread over 1/9th of a mile or roughly someone every 20 feet. There should always be a person to try and keep up with or catch for extra motivation.
Last Nights Swim:
At swimming last night I broke my best time for 500, 8:14, which is 49 seconds and change per lap. My original goal was to get down to 52 seconds and maintain the pace for triple the distance. So I need to do another 1650 to see if I can break the half hour mark. I suspect I will without difficulty now. Considering I have 9 weeks to go before my first olympic triathlon I can probably decrease my swimming and hit the bike harder.
I had a strange experience during my swim. I started out my first 100 at 1:30, which was too fast (I thought it was 2:00 though). I always try and create a gap so the person behind me isn’t nipping at my feet. But I started to feel like I couldn’t breathe well. I was weird as I felt like I was able to breathe in as often and as much as I needed but that my body wasn’t getting enough. Its like I could breathe the air in fast enough but I felt oxygen deprived like it wasn’t getting into the blood stream fast enough. Sort of the same feeling you get if while sitting there reading a computer screen you start breathing fast and deep even though you don’t need to. Hey you are sitting there reading a computer screen. You should try it, take 10 fast deep breaths and feel your heart start to speed up and you might even get a funny light headed feeling. This has to be a kin to having your mouth water just thinking about a fresh lemon being sliced on a cutting board and popped into your mouth. Now this is different in that I didn’t have enough oxygen and doing this makes too much, but the feeling of not needing to breathe as fast as you are is certainly the same. I have no explanation as to what happened other than I have been freaking out about this half and this workout in the pool was my last before I run and I was concerned with if I was going to hard or not hard enough and yada yada. I am going to do this same thing on purpose one of these weekends to see if I can get the same feeling and try to figure out why. I just need to to a set of 500 and start out way too fast and then speed up more. I could do several one Saturday and see if I can fix it. The reason I am so concerned is I lost my focus completely. I wasn’t watching the line on the bottom of the pool and seeing my arm pulls go by, I was worried if I was getting caught, I was worried why I was having so much trouble while going so slow. I was almost in a panic and thought pretty seriously about pulling up at the end to breathe some. This is just not me and I don’t like that feeling. I need to stay focussed on the task. The main thing that will help me in a real triathlon is that if someone catches me its not a problem, they can just go around and I won’t care. I actually thought my time was going to be worse, we started at the bottom of the clock and after 100 yards I peeked and saw it at exactly the top. I thought we had started on the top cause I was already freaking out then and realized I was on a super slow pace of 60 seconds a lap. So I tried to speed up a bit. I had actually just swam two 45 seconds laps and was now trying to go faster. This didn’t last long and I eventually slowed and got caught by the person behind me with 75 to go.
Fixing the whole panic problem is probably going to be as simple as making sure I don’t start too fast and build a giant oxygen defecit right off the bat. This is easier said than done with pre-race adrenaline and all, but I will work on it.