Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Half Marathon Race Report

Without much re-write, I'm just reposting an email I sent to Peaker about my half-marathon this past Saturday. Here's the GPS watch data in case you're interested:

And then here's yours truly at about mile 12.5, not looking as pained as I thought I'd be:

Alrighty then, here's my race recap, 2 days later.

Couple of thoughts that are specific to me:
1.) Taking an entire week off from running before a race really works for me. A ton. My legs feel fresh and ready to go, blisters are healed, and I just don't feel dinged up at all. I'll probably continue this tradition since I'm 2 for 2 in surpassing my goals using this, shall we say, "technique."
2.) Carb-loading also works for me. Had noodles for lunch on Friday and pasta for dinner. By Saturday morning, I felt bristling with energy. Kind of like blue-plasma lightning wrapping my body as though I were Kyle Reese having just been transported back to 1984...

I woke up Saturday and thanks to a spoonful of cilium fiber the night before, went to the bathroom immediately. Glad to get that out of the way. You know exactly what I mean. Lathered up my nipples and groin area with body glide, put on blister band-aids where I needed them and suited up.

I toasted up an English muffin, spread some peanut butter on it and had it along with a banana for my pre-race meal. Also had a cup of coffee. Drove the wife to the meetup location and walked about a half mile with Otis and his wife to the starting location at the Greenville Drive stadium.

Went and peed. Dropped my bag off and filled my water bottles with a G2 Gatorade, the post-recovery one with protein and some non-sugar carbs. Can't remember the exact name. Hung out for a bit, stared at several tight pants of my co-competitors. Jesus, some women runners are in fine shape. 15 minutes before start time, went to pee again. More than I did the first time, but not a surprise. Felt good. Gave my wife a kiss and made my way into the starting crowd behind the start line.

"Fast runners" concerned with gun time to the right and everyone else to the left. I went left, this race was for me and everyone else was just a distraction. Almost forgot to turn on my GPS watch, but remembered just in time. Got the ipod ready, turned to Broken, Beat and Scarred. That was the song that randomly started out my 10k and I saw no reason to change that for this race. The MC counted down from 10 and the gun went off. It took me 13 seconds to get to the starting line - I pressed start on the watch and went.

It was so crowded and everyone was jockeying for position. I felt a pang of worry and then logically came to the conclusion that I was 2 minutes into a 2 hour race and I should just relax. I focused my efforts on not tripping or colliding with anyone. I feel like I know what my pace/exertion level is and I tried to dial into that zone immediately. That's code for "take it slow" at the beginning.

I'll be honest - I was feeling great. And in the back of my mind was the following plan: If you look at the elevation plot of the course, the first 8.5 miles looked to be pretty easy. I was going to go at a slight notch above my training pace and see how I felt along the way, ever mindful of the potential need to slow it down.

That need never came. In fact on mile 8, I was feeling super-strong. I was high on adrenaline or endorphines or something. The songs on my ipod were hitting me perfectly and I was cruising. That 7:57 mile was the result.

Then I saw the hill. The one at mile 8.5 I knew was coming. My legs felt strong, so I just climbed and climbed with my head down refusing to drop my pace. Passing people on this hill felt great. Watching some folks walk the hill made me feel great too. Mile 10 was slightly up hill too, but I knew if I could keep it up, I could just gut out the final 3 miles.

At the 12.6 mile mark, I set my ipod to hit Himsa's "Hooks as Hands" song. It's 4 minutes long and I was going to finish before that song did. I got close to the stadium, the end of the race has us run inside the ball field around the warning track for .1 miles and cross the finish line near home plate. Pretty cool. There were a bunch of folks cheering the runners along outside the stadium.

Oddly, I didn't feed off their energy at all. I was in my BadBlood-zone, metal, exercise, focus, alone. Only when I rounded the 3rd base side of the inside of the stadium and saw my wife, Otis and MrsOtis cheering me along did I come out of it. I crossed the finish line and felt outstanding. I felt a ton of pride in doing as well as I did, but I tried to focus on the accomplishments of my wife and friends who competed in their first event ever. I don't really like to be the focus of accolades, however, I will admit to feeling pretty good at everyone congratulating me.



SirFWALGMan said...

Damn man that is very impressive. Great job! Congratz!

DrChako said...

Great write up. Reminds me of several races I've run. Your preparation was much better than mine and I got a few tips for the next one.

I think I'll go for a jog now.


joxum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joxum said...

I've run quite a few half marathons myself. I normally take the week ahead of a race off, but if I feel like it, I'll do a short 3-4 mile jog, just for the sake of it.

I do pasta on the last two evening meals before the race. And my last real meal about four hours before the start.

Next time, try and leave the watch at home, just for fun.


BamBam said...

As one that truly only ever sees the need to run, when the cops are right on my tail, can I just say that I'm very, VERY proud of you good Sir.


kurokitty said...

Congrats! Those are some serious hills at the end!

Alfonso said...

Congrats! Those are some serious hills at the end!

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Pau said...

Congrats! Those are some serious hills at the end!
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Pau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Congratulation... you did great job.

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