Race Report: Half Marathon

I finished and I ran the whole way, except for the water stations to drink it without sloshing it about.

I did the race in 2:14 and change but with a very huge positive split because of my plan to run it under 2 hours. I had some timing issues because I was expecting to run across a starting matt but instead it was a wire and I missed it in the crowd of people. So I started it about 40 seconds late, but thought I had started it a minute or two late. So I still don’t even know where the official start was.

In the crowd of 618 people I sort of ran even faster than I had planned because they were too and it didn’t really feel like work and it was a little downhill. I hit the first mile mark and hadn’t even felt like I really started yet. This was in around 8:10 as best I can estimate. The next mark I remember glancing at my watch was at 3 miles where I was on a 8:43 pace. I hit the 4 mile mark without knowing my exact time but there is a strong likelihood it was under my best time for running 4 miles which was 35:24. This is slightly faster than I wanted to start out but I just felt so good I had no urge to slow down at this point. But a couple of little uphill sections, and I mean little, had me starting to slow and this is about the point where I started getting passed slowly at first.

It was amazing how fast the miles went by. I got off the section I had never run to the point I ran a few weeks back around 5 miles and it was nice to have the familiar terrain. The third point I remember my time is at mile 7. I got there in about 1:06. I knew I was off my pace, 9:27 miles which was only 2 minutes lost at that point, and the only way I could make it would be to pick it up that minute. So I tried a bit. I had been running and making sure my heart rate never went over 170 or if it did I slowed down. Between mile 5 and 7 I got some pain in my chest. It was likely indegestion or whatever but that made me nervous, so I slowed down till it stopped which coincided with a heart rate more like 160. So that last try at mile 7 to speed back up brought the pain back so I decided to slow down and just finish with no chest pain no matter how slow. It made it hard to push myself to my limit with the worry about was I really ok or not.

Somewhere between mile 7 and 10 I started to get the feeling of lead legs I read about but never experienced. A mile after that I felt my muscles getting real tight and felt like it was constricting my natural form. I was fine to slow down a bit it was a mild pain. If I were out an a morning run and started feeling like that it woud be the point to stop. But in a race I have been looking forward to it wasn’t even an option. I also felt like I was getting a blister but at that point it was mild as well and I knew I would make it before it got too painful so I just ignored that. The first 7 miles I averaged 9:27 and the last 6.1 was 11:09 to get to the overall average of 10:17. I was out fast enough at mile 7 to finish in 2:04 had I held the same pace. So there was a parade of people passing me judging by finish times from 2:04 to 2:14 there were 98 people between those two times. Sure some of them were ahead and slowing down too and so never passed me but it sure felt like I got passed by 100 people.

The last 3 miles were on the trail where I ran all my 4 mile runs at lunch with the group from Sept to April, so I felt good about knowing all the bumps and turns, though it didn’t speed me up any. I was just happy to finish and stop running. My legs were very tight as soon as I stopped and I had to walk slowly to the runner hospitality to gobble down bagels and bananas and oranges and grapes and grilled chicken and soup and HEED and water. I was hoping for a bin of hammer gel to grab a few extra packets but there was none. I had taken one at mile 10 and it didn’t do anything for me except taste good and give my mind a boost for about 1000 feet or so.

My wife and kids were there to cheer me the last 100 feet and the kids had a fun time wearing my finisher’s medal for me. my half marathon distributionHere is the distribution of finishers by minute, I am in the yellow bar. The peak bar was 2:04 with 19 people finishing that minute.

I now have my first half marathon under my belt and can make improvements the next time I do one.  My first thing to improve will be how to not feel like I am walking on a broken foot the next day limping around like an old man. The answer to solving that one is to log more miles and lose more weight.

And if this race report didn’t quench your appetite for race reports, I have been checking out this adventure race that is ongoing from the RacingThePlanet Series. You might be interested in reading about it. I know it sounds like quite the chalenge and in reading some of the blogs on the site it is amazing how many of the people are just normal people looking to challenge themselves. The race is 250 kilometers in stages like they do the big bike tours, except you carry everything including your food for the whole trip the whole way. No I am not doing one any time soon, they are just fun to read about.

http://www.4deserts.com/beyond/namibia/

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