Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Middle Half

Oh snap. It was time for my first half marathon and I was really nervous. I feel like I've developed some half marathon specific fitness with some of my workouts but other than the 10 mile race this summer, I've never raced over 10k. I also had a pretty big training hiccup a couple of weeks ago and had to back off the training for about a week. Like a woman getting ready for an evening on the town, my biggest dilemma was what shoes to wear. I was debating wearing either my Asics Piranhas, which weighed about 4.5 ounces or my Saucony Kinvaras, which were about 7.5 ounces. I wore my Piranhas in a 3x5k workout a few weeks ago and my legs felt fine in them. However, I've only worn them a couple of times since then, so I decided to play it safe and wear the Kinvaras,

The weather was a little chilly but almost ideal...just under 40 degrees without much wind. I wasn't sure what the competition would be like but I had a "B" goal of under 1:12 and an "A" goal of under 1:11. My race plan was to go out and try to hold 5:30s for as long as I could and then press the last 5k with whatever I had left.

When the gun went off, I ran right behind the eventual 3rd place finisher. About a half mile in, I could tell the pace was too fast, so I backed off into 3rd/4th with the eventual winner who asked me to help with the pace. I knew if I obliged to his request, it would quickly turn into an ugly day. I hit the mile in 5:19, which I knew was too fast. Shortly after that, I saw Randy from the running club and I even told him that I was running too fast. I knew I needed to slow down or pay for it later.

After a couple of miles, the top three guys were a good bit ahead of me with no one pushing me from behind. Even though the first mile was too fast, I stayed in a groove and ran the next five miles in 5:18, 5:18, 5:19, 5:19, and 5:17. If my math was correct, I was running well under 1:10 pace, which would be an awesome race for me. However, I was all alone and when you're starting to die, it's hard to fight by yourself. It's much easier to fight to the end while battling against someone else instead of just "committing suicide."

After about seven miles, I could tell I was beginning to get tired and shortly before ten miles, fatigue really started to creep in. Miles 7-10 were: 5:24, 5:26, 5:24, 5:23. At 10 miles, I thought I had a shot at sub 1:10 but really didn't believe I would get it fighting by myself. The last two miles, I started wheezing (which I've never really done before), I was tired and just wanted to be finished. Once I hit the track for the final 200m, I felt a lot better but just jogged it in.

I finished in 4th place in a time of 1:10:37, which I was really pleased with. The top three guys finished a few minutes ahead of me, so I guess the time is pretty decent being that it was for the most part, a solo time trial with random crowds of people cheering for me.

Afterward, I was hurting and had to lay down for a couple of minutes. Muscularly, my calves were the only thing really bugging me and I can't imagine how trashed they would be if I would have worn my Piranhas. After Moon Pie, I was absolutely trashed but I felt better here. During the race, my chronically tender right achilles hurt off-and-on and my right arch felt pretty tight for a few minutes. This was a good confidence builder for my marathon in eight weeks and I think 2:30 can now realistically be a possibility that I shoot for.