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National Half Marathon, DC - 3/26/11 (Read 2072 times)

    I had a great morning out at the National Half marathon this morning. Here’s my race report:

    Got up bright and breezy at 4:40am and was on the road 10 mins later. Breakfast in the car; Banana, Granola bar, Gatorade.
    After traveling into DC the day before to pick up my packet and dealing with the nightmare traffic I didn’t want to leave anything to chance so figured I would give myself enough time to get in without having to sweat about it. I breezed into the parking lot, without queuing, an hour later at about ten to six. A little early but hey, what can you do!

    I went for a wander to check out the set up, take care of some business and see how cold it really was. Too cold to hang around outside, so I sat in the car for about 30 mins to warm up, get dressed and then at about 6:40 headed out to the corrals. I was in coral 6 which is where the 2 hour HM folks were put, but when the pace teams came out and joined us the 2:00 team lined up in corral 5. 2 hrs was my “backup goal” and I wanted to start with the 2 hour pace team and keep them behind me…. So I sauntered up and joined them, nobody seemed to mind that I was in the wrong corral.

    Then, after the gun, as the corrals are all moving towards the line, the same thing happened to me as happens in every race I’ve ever run… I’ve gotta pee. Blush

    As the clash famously asked “should I stay or should I go?”. I look over and the lines for the porta-johns are really short so I hope over the fence, wait about a min (which seems much longer) do what I have to do and hop back over the fence to join what is now the masses of corral 6 and cross the start line. I am not sure if that is bad etiquette or not but it was one of my best decisions of the day!

    At this point it is fair to admit that I am one of the great, unwashed masses of slack-jawed Garmin-addicted plodders and having let the 2:00 pace team get away before I even crossed the start line I was left with only my Garmin as a guide.

    We kick off downhill from the start line and everyone has a mad minute or two… a bunch of 2 hour HMers running at 6:30 pace… but that soon settles down. It’s busy and for the first two miles picking my own pace does not seem an option. We run them at 9 min miles and I want to go faster but can’t find the space. You have a really good view of the Capitol up to mile 2 so I try to enjoy it and relax.  Mile 3 is downhill and there’s a bit more space to move and I overdo it, 8 min mile. I blow past (as much as one can at 8 min/mile) the 2 hour pace team about halfway down the hill but have to slow up at the bottom. I am going too fast and it’s my body, not my Garmin, telling me that – maybe there is hope for me yet.

    As we turn on to Constitution I spot the 1:55 pace team and try to speed up again. I knew that if I could beat the 1:55 team I would be in PR territory. No dice! It did not feel comfortable and as we turned away from the mall and back up hill they disappeared out of sight. That mile and a half down the mall was the most depressing of the race for me. I’d had to slow up and seen those guys disappear into the distance.

    Still it was time to HTFU and get up the 2+ miles of hills ahead. I was still beating my goal time and when I couldn’t see the pace group any more I started to feel a bit better for some reason. I tried not to look at my watch too much and just run the next few miles. I went through the 10k marker at about 54 mins and knew that I was still OK. When I got to the top of the hill at about 7.5 miles I did allow myself some Garmin checkin’ and it was telling me that so far I had averaged about 8:30/mile. Apart from a couple of small hills at mile markers 8 & 9 I knew It was downhill until after mile 11… Suddenly I am thinking… PR?

    I felt good through to the bottom of the hill but at about 11.5 miles we turn on to 13th St NE and there’s the last hill. It’s not as big as the hills earlier but suddenly my legs feel really heavy. Having run the last 3 miles under 8:20 my pace slows to 8:35 and I’m seeing that PR slip away. I remember thinking at the time: oh no I am going to be one of those people whining on the message boards about how I can “hold my HM pace for 11.5 miles” but for some “unknown reason” crash!

    Then I look up and see the 1:55 pace group about 50 yds ahead of me.. how the heck did that happen? I must chase. I close the gap slightly as we get to the top of the hill and turn back on to constitution give it whatever I have left. As we hit 12.5 miles I pull level with the pacer guy and try to stay with him, not sure if I can…. I look at my watch and it’s a one-forty something large. I try to do the math to see if a PR is possible. Earlier on I figured that I would have to pass the pace group much earlier to get a PR. I can’t do the math but that kept me distracted for a bit and suddenly we’re at 13 miles and I’m still on his elbow. We split off from the marathoners and now I can see the finish. I pull away from the pacer guy and go for the line. It’s the hardest I have ever finished a race…. Cross the line – self congratulatory hand gestures – stop the watch… 1:52:19 a new PR by a min and a half.

    As with any race I learned a bunch. I was less dependent on my Garmin but would still have been lost without it. Happy to come away with a new PR and a new goal for next time… sub 1:50!

    I know a few other RAers were out there and there was at least one other PR set it was perfect weather for it – how did the rest of you do?

    Cheers

    MattJ

     

    MTA: spelling

    2013 Goals
    1) Break 1:50 in a HM (PR 1:52:19)
    2) Break 4:00 in a Marathon (PR 4:20:39)

    JML


      Congrats on your shiny new PR! I ran DC as well today and managed a PR in very good racing weather. Other than the overly congested start, it was a well run race.

       2014 goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...

      Julia1971


        Nice race report and congratulations on the PR!  I posted about my Metro experience in the other thread.  I think I need to get a car...

         

        Other than that, I thought it was a great race!  I thought there would be fewer racers because of the cold, but there were a lot of runners out there.  And, I thought there was much more crowd support than in years past - Howard's got some competition!  (I saw the awesomely encouraging woman with the Don't Give Up the Ship flag three times during the race.  How is that possible?  Was she in the Coast Guard?  From Shippensburg, PA?)

         

        My goal when I started training was sub-3:30.  As my training progressed, I thought I could get under 3:28.  And, I finished in 3:27:23, so I'm very happy.

        Run the mile you are in.

          Nice race report and congratulations on the PR!  I posted about my Metro experience in the other thread.  I think I need to get a car...

           

          Other than that, I thought it was a great race!  I thought there would be fewer racers because of the cold, but there were a lot of runners out there.  And, I thought there was much more crowd support than in years past - Howard's got some competition!  (I saw the awesomely encouraging woman with the Don't Give Up the Ship flag three times during the race.  How is that possible?  Was she in the Coast Guard?  From Shippensburg, PA?)

           

          My goal when I started training was sub-3:30.  As my training progressed, I thought I could get under 3:28.  And, I finished in 3:27:23, so I'm very happy.

           

          The weather couldn't have been much better for me, but I am one who does much better in the cold than the heat.  You had a great race, good job!

           

          I saw that woman with the flag 4 times, she was awesome.  Seemed like she was everywhere.  I appreciated it.

          Julia1971


            The weather couldn't have been much better for me, but I am one who does much better in the cold than the heat.  You had a great race, good job!

             

            I saw that woman with the flag 4 times, she was awesome.  Seemed like she was everywhere.  I appreciated it.

             

            It was a little cold for me.  I started out in a cotton long-sleeve, but ditched it at about Mile 7.  I wore gloves the whole race but my fingers were still pretty cold.

             

            My biggest issue was pacing.  I wasn't quite sure how I was doing.  I followed a Pfitz plan during my training and he recommends running the first half faster than the second so that you're factoring in the slow down.  So, I planned on doing that and wrote my goal splits for a 3:27:27 finish on the back of my bib.  (You don't want to know how I came up with that time, but in retrospect, I was pretty spot on). 

             

            By the 10K mile marker, I was feeling like I'd gone out too fast and was still off my goal pace by 35 seconds.  By the half, I was off by a minute.  But the weird thing was the 3:25 pacer was right ahead of me.  But, I decided to pass him.  He, and a few other people, passed me back and I started to think this could get ugly fast.  But, I surged past them a short while later.  But by then, I didn't think sub-3:28 was going to happen so I stopped checking my pace.  At the 20 mile marker, I did the math and took heart that I could still go sub-3:30 if I could run a 53:00 10K.  I just needed to hold on.  I started checking my pace and splits again.  I started to slow at about Mile 23.  I thought I was finally going to see what it feels like to hit The Wall.  The rolling hills of Minnesota Avenue didn't make me feel any more confident.  But, when I came to Mile 25 my watch was something like 3:17 and I realized it wasn't over, yet.  I got a nice boost of encouragement from the folks at the last water stop and then booked it.  Saw my BFF a few hundred yards from the finish.  I slowed to wave to her.  I looked at my watch and realized I could still make sub-3:28, so I sprinted to the finish. 

             

            Lesson learned: Keep fighting.  Don't Give Up the Ship!  Wink

            Run the mile you are in.

              Nice job on the PR's Matt and JML.

               

              Julia--great job!  (Was that a PR?)  Given your time, I bet our paths crossed at some point. Sorry about that Metro experience, though.  Fortunately, the parking lots were fine this year for those of us driving.)

               

              3:30:23 for me, very close to what I'd hoped for.  Close enough to call the day successful.  I love that weather!  My Garmin went bonkers, though, measuring way, way long which threw off the overall pace calculation I was overly dependent on.  My mistake.  Long RR over in the Masters Forum.


              HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                Congrats  on the PRs Matt & JML.

                 

                Julia, glad you made it -- having had a similar experience on metro a couple years ago, but less stressful (b/c they were still opening an hour early, except for the stations where something went wrong/they forgot to open -- like I had, and like you just had), well, I guess it helps get the adrenalin going and blood pumping before the race - heh.   Congrats on pulling off a great race.

                It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.


                Best Present Ever

                  Congratulations to all the runners.  So glad you guys had great weather and good races.

                    But the weird thing was the 3:25 pacer was right ahead of me.  But, I decided to pass him. 

                     I meant to add...what's even weirder is that the 3:35 pace guy was walking by himself around--I think--mile 18 or 19.  Huh?  He was still holding the stick with 3:35 as I passed, going much slower than a 3;35 pace. 

                    Kimmie


                      Great job you all!

                       

                      Went over and read your report, Tramps.   I can never do math late in a marathon and I always write my splits out.   Glad to see your DW finishing happily.

                       

                      I decided not to chance METRO, even though we were at a hotel, right by a METRO stop, I was worried that opening at 6 am- didn't mean that a train would be running right at 6 am.   Still, there were traffic issues getting into RFK.   I made it there by 6:40 and I was just doing the half with no time goal, whatsoever, so I really didn't care about the stress of getting there, etc...

                       

                      Ended up with a 2:01....8 minutes slower than last year, but I didn't train much this year, so I'm ok with it.   I love the views on this course, but it's not an easy one, that's for sure.


                      Consistently Slow

                        Congratulations to all the runners.  So glad you guys had great weather and good races.

                         +1more.

                        Run until the trail runs out.

                        2013***1500 miles

                        50 miler

                        Race Less Train More

                         

                        Ana Trason  "Living Her Life"

                        "The Marble in The Groove"

                         

                        unsolicited chatter

                        http://bkclay.blogspot.com/

                        Julia1971


                          Nice job on the PR's Matt and JML.

                           

                          Julia--great job!  (Was that a PR?)  Given your time, I bet our paths crossed at some point. Sorry about that Metro experience, though.  Fortunately, the parking lots were fine this year for those of us driving.)

                           

                          3:30:23 for me, very close to what I'd hoped for.  Close enough to call the day successful.  I love that weather!  My Garmin went bonkers, though, measuring way, way long which threw off the overall pace calculation I was overly dependent on.  My mistake.  Long RR over in the Masters Forum.

                           

                          Another great race report!  Yeah, it's a PR.  I've done two marathons - both National and last year was 3:38:37.

                           

                          I think we were pretty close to each other.  I think we're describing the same 3:25 pacer who was struggling.  I'm sorry to read he ended up walking.  I gambled that he was off and I'm glad I was right.  And at the turn around at Anacostia Park, I saw one of the 3:30 guys was just a few hundred yards behind me.  So, I really do think we were in the same general area all race long.

                           

                          I've learned the hard way that my Garmin is about 8 sec/mile off during races for pace.  But for this race, it was pretty useless because of it being really long, all the tunnels, me taking random splits, etc.  In the end, I think it'll show I ended up running pretty even splits - I got 1:43:40 for the first half; so by deduction I'm guessing I got 1:43:43 for the second.

                          Run the mile you are in.


                          HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                            Julia, have you checked the results?I thought National was one of the ones that posts more splits -- obviously requiring them to have mats scattered throughout the course. (Not that I'm saying the results are up - I don't know if they are.) But if they do post splits for every 5K, that can give you a read on how evenly you ran it (yeah, I'm pointing out the obvious, sorry).

                            It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                            Julia1971


                              Julia, have you checked the results?I thought National was one of the ones that posts more splits -- obviously requiring them to have mats scattered throughout the course. (Not that I'm saying the results are up - I don't know if they are.) But if they do post splits for every 5K, that can give you a read on how evenly you ran it (yeah, I'm pointing out the obvious, sorry).

                               

                              Thanks for the suggestion.  They only have preliminary gun and net times up right now, so we'll have to wait for the splits.  I did take a split at the half mat but my Garmin time was about 10 second short of my official net time , so I could be off a little.  I'll call it even-ish splits.  Smile

                              Run the mile you are in.

                                 got 1:43:40 for the first half; so by deduction I'm guessing I got 1:43:43 for the second.

                                Great pacing! 

                                Official split times are up now.  I hung in there with you for the first half (1:43:50).  Second half?  Not so much (1:46:33) Joking

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