Sunday, March 15, 2009

Shamrock'n'Half Marathon 2009

This morning it was race day once again.  My first half marathon after surgery where I expected to run fast - I'd run Kaiser 6 weeks ago, but wasn't really trained up and ran an OK 1:29:22. This time I had no excuses, and I was definitely hoping for a PR (previous best is 1:27:25)

Course is advertised as flat, but it has a lot of turns/out and backs etc, the goal was to run under 1:27, and I'd planned to pace at 6:37 minutes/mile, which should bring me in at 1:26:45. 

Weather was good, forecast called for showers (30%) but it was dry at 7:15 when I left the hotel. Shorts, singlet, gloves and hat was the plan, temps in the high 40s/low 50s.

Did a pretty weak warmup and got it line.  I was only 1 row back from the line.  Gun went off and I was over the line within a second.

Mile 1: 6:13 - started fast, lots of faster runners than me!  Didn't feel 6:13 fast though
Mile 2: 6:31 - felt faster than 6:31 - I think the mile 1 marker was a little early. started running with a guy who was aiming for 1:25-1:22 - decided I was running too fast!
Mile 3: 6:35 - this was a straight mile with a little climb - decided to let speedy guy go ahead, which I think was the smartest decision I have ever made in a race (he went on to run a 1:23:24)
Mile 4: 6:35 - this had a turnaround so I could see the leaders, I was 51st at the turn and feeling good
Mile 5: 6:34 - back up the straight and saw the rest of the pack - a reasonable race at 4,000 runners
Mile 6: 6:28 - had a freeway underpass and I flew down, the speed carried me through a fast mile
Mile 7: 6:27 - over halfway.  feeling things but not terrible.  At 6.5 a biker girl called out and told me to drop my arms a bit as I looked really tense.  I focused on running more relaxed, and just staying on course for the next 3 miles.
Mile 8: 6:31 - lots of twists and turns but kept relaxed and on pace.
Mile 9: 6:32 - I caught the guy ahead (he had passed me about mile 4) - we started chatting and he said he was shooting for 1:28.  At this point we were 1 minute ahead of my 1:26:45 plan.  We decided we
 could run together and hold on for big PRs.
Mile 10: 6:38 - this was the final out/back. at the turn we had to climb up 20' and turned back into a headwind by the river.  We put our heads down and pushed thru.
Mile 11: 6:35 - After 1/2 mile we dropped back out of the wind and kept up teh pressure.  We were starting to catch a straggler plus the group of 4-5 ahead of us.  Hurting but we kept each other moving
Mile 12: 6:31 - several turns, one more little climb but moving fast and passed a couple more people
Mile 13: 6:38 - running on fumes at this point.  more twists and then we approach the baseball stadium for the finish
Final .11 - 36 seconds (5:50 pace) - we enter the field and both sprint, catch another guy and it's a race for the line (which I lose).  Crossed the line feeling like I didn't leave a lot in reserve.

Overall 1:25:28 - 6:31 pace
 - a 1:57 PR and 
 - pretty even splits with first half at 42:35, second 42:53
 - an improvement of 3:54 since Kaiser just 6 weeks ago.  
I was 45th out of 4,000 runners
 - which was good enough for 9th in my age group (M40-44)

I was very, very happy with the result.  Pacing was good, and I managed to focus on running relaxed (many thanks to anonymous biker girl) in those tricky miles 7-10, and kept going strong when things got tough about mile 10.

I was hoping to run a 1:25 sometime before Ottawa but I think that I am going to settle with this one - I'll probably do a 10k a couple weeks before the race as a final sanity check but another 10 weeks will have me even fitter so I am feeling that I have a legitimate shot at sub 3.  

Here's some proofs from the race photos - both at the finish - not looking too comfortable.....

1 comment:

Peter Lubbers said...

Awesome run and very well paced. Can't believe you were actually still chatting with other runners at mile 9 at that pace ;-)
Things are looking really good for Ottawa and you still have a lot of time to train.