Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lake Country Half Marathon

So as many of you know I was a bit sick last week. I also had my first half marathon race that Saturday. I thought I’d write up a little report on how it went.

After talking with several people I decided that it would be best if I simply ran the race as a training day and dialed back the intensity. Between being sick and needing to have some good training days prior to Nationals, this was the best plan.

The plan was to meet Aimee’s father at the race venue around 6:30 for the race start at 7am. I wasn’t particularly anxious since it wasn’t a big race, otherwise I would have thought things through a little better. Long story short, had there been no traffic or parking trouble everything would have been fine. Unfortunately there was no parking. We ended up parking about a half mile away after waiting in line for about 20 minutes. We got to the race and got out packet in a very hurried manner. I had forgotten my race belt and needed to safety pin my number. I had left my long pants on as it was cold. Next thing I know the announcer is yelling to get people to the start. I rip off my pants and carry them with since I didn’t know what else to do. Ended up getting to the start area and seeded myself at an 8min pace knowing I’d be faster.

No sooner than I got there and the race started. I was still not situated as my pants, keys, and two gu’s were in my hands.

Off we go. Within about 100 yards my keys and gu’s fly out of my hands as I try to tie my pants around my waist. Great start as I nearly kill people trying to get them. Gu’s I can live without…but not the car keys.

Finally I get situated and get a rhythm going.

The first mile was easy. It was my first time running in a group and it was nice. I clipped off an 8:05 pace and wasn’t even trying. I decided to pass a big chunk of people that were annoying me, so the 2nd mile was a 7:47. At that point I made the decision to attack every hill. The pace felt ridiculously easy and off I went. Mile 3 – 7:35.

I liked that pace and everything felt very effortless. HR was in a good spot, legs felt great. People were still near me, but not the bigger packs as I had left the 8min/mile group behind.

At mile 6 there was a bigger climb. In relation to what I normally run on it was average. But it was the biggest climb of the day. I decided to drop the hammer then and there. And I did so not only on the incline, but then again on the decline. I remember looking at my split (7:06) and thinking…oops. But I still felt fine and wasn’t breathing heavy or anything. Unfortunately my HR monitor was going bonkers.

Miles 7 and 8 were both at a 7:18 pace as I dialed it back a notch and was still feeling really good.

At mile 9 my left hip and calf got a bit tight. But I was still feeling great and passing a lot of people. I figured I had taken it easy for long enough and decided to push the pace for the remainder of the race.

Mile 9 – 7:06
Mile 10 – 7:03
Mile 11 – 7:06
Mile 12 - 6:56
Finished with an average of 7:20.

I finished up and was pretty tired. Legs were tight and tired but feeling good. So, mission accomplished. I finished with a 1:36:09 on my garmin. Certainly a PR, although it was my first real run race.

More importantly I did not have to sacrifice any training to recover other than skipping an easy run. Plus I gave myself a shot of confidence. If I had warmed up and started faster I don’t think there is any doubt I could have held a 7:05-7:10 pace. So depending on the weather I really should be able to do a half-ironman run in the 8:40 range with proper pacing. Racine was pretty hot, so my run pacing wasn’t the best. But now I have a better understanding of what I am capable of.

Unfortunately over the week I've noticed my left calf is still a problem.  I took 2 days off of running to recover and ran Tuesday and Wednesday.  Wednesday was probably a little too hard as the calf is still pretty sore and it did hurt during the run.  Therefore I won't run today and bike instead.  I'm not supposed to run tomorrow as it is my day off.  And we'll see how Saturday and Sunday go. 
I want to do a final race simulation on sunday - 3hour ride @ 265 watts followed by a 1hr hard run.  The ride won't be a problem, we'll see how the run feels.

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