Sunday, February 3, 2008

Kaiser Half Marathon

The Plan
Goal was 1:27:30 (6:40 pace) but I was planning to pace a little faster (1:25). Two reasons for this:
1) First half of the race is faster (sheltered from weather, 2 downhill miles)
2) I am agressive, and figured I may have a "breakout race" if things went well.

The Weather
Forecast called for showers and 15-20 mph winds from the west. The most exposed piece is a North/South out/back right on the edge of the beach. Running up/down the Pacific with a strong westerly wind effectively means headwind in both directions. Oh well, not much you can do about the weather!

The Start
Stomach felt bad (have been dealing with flu last few days) but managed a pitstop before getting to the start, which left me feeling OK. Did a half hearted warmup with a few strides and got in line about 2 rows back. It's a big race (6,000 runners) and there's a 5K that starts with it. Lots of people toeing the line that really shouldn't have been up the front, but had a clean start and it cleared out very fast.

Miles 1-5
These are the steady miles. 2.5 heading East (tailwind) 2.5 heading West. A couple rollers but flat overall. Aggressive plan was for 6:32 average.
Started fast (6:18 pace), eased a little but kept pretty quick. Got thru 2 miles in 12:56 (6:28 pace) feeling good. Mile 3 was 6:40 (turned back into the wind), Mile 4 6:36, and Mile 5 6:38 as we started the downhill section. And still no rain! Time at 5 was 32:50 (6:34 pace)

Miles 6 & 7
There are a couple downhill miles from about 4.6 to 6.6 so this was the time to make some time! Hit the first down very fast (5:50 pace) but as it levelled off went thru Mile 6 at 6:20 (a little slower than my optimistic 6:15 plan). As the course got closer to the beach, the wind picked up and as we were heading West it slowed me as much as the hill sped me up. Mile 7 was 6:38. Legs felt fine but stomach was not feeling good and I considered a pitstop, but decided to push thru it. Time at 7 was 45:48 (6:33 pace) and I'd covered the 10k only 15 seconds off my PR.

Miles 7-10
This is the portion that runs South down the Great Highway. It was windy but seemed to be a little bit of a NW vs a pure W so it wasn't too bad. I'd hoped to hold a 6:37 pace but that wasn't happening; 8 was 6:42, 9 was 6:44 and 10 was 6:45. I'd eased a little hoping to stop my guts churning and it did the trick. Mile 10 was the turnaround and I hit 10 at 1:05:59 (6:36 pace)

Miles 11 & 12
These were always going to be the deciding miles, and as I turned I felt the wind. Wow - alot stronger than it felt heading out! And after 1/2 mile the rain finally came. Cold, wet and windy, 10 miles into a race running pretty much on the edge of my ability.... Not fun and I knew it was going to be a tough slog home. Mile 11 was OK at 6:49 but mile 12 was bad; wind was picking up and I was hurting - 7:05 (ouch!). Crossed 12 at 1:19:53 (6:39 pace)

Last Mile
I knew that 1:27:30 was there if I could get back to 6:45 ish pace. 1/2 mile was slogging thru the wind and then we turned East, which meant tailwind. But it also meant uphill. Kicked for the first 1/2 mile and got down to 6:47ish, turned up the hill and loved the fact that the wind dropped but the hill hurt. My stomach muscles all went to pieces and I thought I was going to throw up (or worse...). Held low 6:50s up the hill and kicked again as it levelled for the finish. For the last 400 yards I could see the clock... 1:27:10, 1:27:11..... It's gonna be close.... Now I'm flying, passing a couple surprised people and I cross the line at 1:27:25! It felt so good to stop.

I didn't throwup but it was very close - Another 100 yards and it would have been ugly. The line of porta-potties at the finish was the best sight ever!

The Conclusion
I am very happy with meeting my primary goal. That 3 miles back up the coast was really tough, and probably cost me about a minute. This was a big intermediate race for me in my bigger goal for a possible sub 3 hour marathon in May. I need to run a 1:25 half before I even try for a sub 3 full. This was a 2:31 PR improvement (plus an 11+ minute improvement over my time at this race last year), and leaves me in a nice place for the next half sometime before May when I hope to take off the next 2:30.

Now it's time for a well deserved boatload of beer and junk food as I watch Brady choke and see the underdogs win the Superbowl!


Unknown said...

Didn't take you long to post your notes. It was pretty grim the last 7 with the rain and wind. I did a 1:32 (age 52) and I'm a little pissed that Active hasn't posted the results. Anyway, way to go on a good race!

Unknown said...

you should take out a couple more minutes off that time considering the wind and the rain . I did this too - it really came down when i was at the 10 -12 mile area - was thinking it would have been good to have been an early finsher ;)

great pace out there, alan. you are looking at a 3hr marathon pace !! - thats more than awesome.