Half Marathon Coming Up (Updated w/ Results) (Read 375 times)


Slower than I look


    This a dozen times over.  As a relatively new runner (I finished my first half a week ago yesterday) I kept myself to stay within this, and I'm glad I did.  My training took me up to 10 miles, and bridging the gap to 13.1 wasn't that bad - though I've usually used a Gu during a long training run.  In hindsight, I would have brought more than one Gu - I hit the wall hard at 12 miles, luckily my race had all kinds of sugary snacks at mile marker 11 and 12 (red vines, donut holes, etc).


    The best advice I've read on here, or anywhere else, is that we are all an experiment of one.  I can't run more than a mile at a time without drinking water or Gatorade, but I'm a 235 pound fat guy who's thirsty 24/7, so what works for me probably won't work for you, with one exception - pacing.


    No matter what you run it in will be a PR, if you push too hard it will be a terrible experience, never forget it's supposed to be fun.  Your log looks awesome, I'm actually jealous - I had to bail on a lot of my training because of bronchitis followed by the flu.  If you set your goal at 2:30 you WILL hit it without trying too hard (I did it in 2:29 including waiting 4 minutes for a portajohn at mile 4 Big grin ), so don't feel bad about setting the bar low - just means you will clear it with room to spare.


    Good luck and have fun!


    Thanks!  I'll definitley not be experimenting with Gu this time out since I didn't ever try it in training.  The course has Gaterade at just about every stop though and even though I haven't taken that while running I have used it in other sports (basketball, baseball, hiking, etc.) with no problems.  So I might just get a lot of nutrition this week and eat a small breakfast Sat morning, then use a little gatorade if needed.


    I think you're right too about just taking it easy since this will be a PR as long as I finish.  I really don't want the death march or have to stop and walk.  By all rights I haven't even given myself enough time to train properly so I should just be thankful that I can run it at all; whatever time I put up I should be able to shatter next year.


    And to be honest I'm more in awe of your accomplishment (Congratz!).  I only weigh 165 lbs (6'1" but small frame) and at my heaviest I was 200.  I didn't like walking up stairs at 200 and can't imagine what running 13.1 would have felt like with even more weight.  I'm just proud at the level of dedication I've been able to put in.  I remember when my wife told me I was crazy walking out of the door at 4am in the cold wind and rain to run 5 miles.  I walked out the door trying to act like a badass but it took ever ounce of will power.


    Slower than I look

      Results and Report Update!  TLDR version; I crushed my original 2:30 goal and finished in 2:09:05 with a strong negative split.  Thanks to everyone here who responded to my thread and special thanks to MilkTruck who's strategy I ultimately employed to good success.  If you care to read my race report, keep reading.


      Night before the race I packed up all the stuff I might need and actually made a checklist of morning tasks so I didn't forget anything.  I asked my wife to make spaghetti and meatballs (I personally believe they are the best spaghetti and meatballs on the planet) so that I could have a nice carb filled dinner.  I ate a huge plate and then went back for seconds.  I immediatley regretted the second plate because I was feeling bloated and didn't want to hurl in the morning.  It turned out ok but this is something to consider next time.  Got in bed at 9:00pm but didn't fall asleep for a few hours because of the nerves.


      Woke up 4:45am on race day and still feeling super full.  I forced myself to eat an english muffin with jelly and thankfully I quickly had some bathroom time to make room.  I had planned on eating a banana as well but it just didn't sound good so I skipped it.  Race starts at 7am and is about 10 minutes away so I left the house at 5:45 to get there.


      I arrive at the parking area about 6am and begin to execute my planned pre-race routine.  It's pretty cold for Texas (high 30's with some wind) so I left my warm up jacket and pants on to walk to the race area and find some bathrooms.  I walked all the way to the main area and got in the port-o-john lines.  It took almost a half hour to get through the line and apparently the TP ran out so I was very glad I took care of other business at home.  Quick side note: I don't know how you ladies do it...those toilets were already torn up by the time I got in there.  Now I'm running a little short on time and I wanted to warm up so I went ahead and jogged back to my car to change.  Get changed and do some slow jogging back toward the race area.  About halfway there I realize that I somehow left my keys just sitting in my car and left the damn thing unlocked.  I panic a bit and actually run back to the car to get the key and then run back to a huge log jam of traffic trying to get into the starting corrals.  Great, it's 5 minutes until the start I'm already a little winded from running around everywhere and freaking out a bit.


      There were only 3 corrals and I was in the very back one.  But because of how late I was, I was in the very back of the back corral.  Far enough back that the 3 hour HM pacer was like 50 yards in front of me.  I couldn't hear anything the announcers were saying at all.  Some of the people around me were chatting about how under-trained they were for this, or that they planned to walk some.  Oh well, at least I should be able to pass a few people.  At this point I prepped my GPS watch and there was nothing left to do but wait.  This was a bit of a surreal feeling for me.  Between the anticipation, the taper, the extra food I'd been eating...I felt like I was bursting with energy.  I could see that the real challenge would be to slowly release this energy over the course of the race, and not burn it up in the first few miles.


      So the race finally kicks off and I have a long slow shuffle walk with a few thousand people to get to the starting line.  This 10 minutes felt like an hour.  I reviewed my planned strategy; 1st 5 miles at long run effort; next 5 with a bit more effort; and drop the hammer for the last 5k (strategy thrown out there by MilkTruck earlier in this thread).  I liked this strategy because I really didn't want to just run an easy 10 and then tack a faster 3.1 on the end.  I had good confidence that I could finish easily enough and this plan let me employ the right amount of aggression with the need for taking it easy in the beginning.


      (Note: These mile times are not perfect because my GPS was off somehow; it was registering each mile a little late)

      Mile 1: 10:45

      Mile 2: 10:38

      Mile 3: 10:16

      Mile 4: 10:05

      Mile 5: 10:27


      I can tell you that I had no idea what to do that first few miles.  It seemed like everyone around me, including those who talked about being undertrained, took off pretty fast.  I forced myself to fall into a nice easy rhythm and ignore the urge to run faster.  I probably actually ran the first 2 miles too slowly but I assume the opposite mistake could have cost me more.  It was also tightly packed and was very difficult to get position or get around people.  Around mile 3 or so I started passing a lot of the people who had rocketed away at the beginning.  Some folks were already breathing hard and I wondered how they were going to make it.  I was starting to feel pretty loose and comfortable and I let my legs kind of find their own pace.  I tried to chat with a few people around me but it seemed like almost everyone was wearing headphones.  At mile 5 I backed off a bit out of nervousness and wanted to make sure I didn't overdo it before picking up the pace for the next 5.


      Mile 6: 10:00

      Mile 7: 9:37

      Mile 8: 9:45

      Mile 9: 9:59

      Mile 10: 9:55


      As mile 6 and 7 rolled off, I was really feeling great.  My legs felt light and my breathing was even and steady.  I had a slight urge to pee but I was starting to sweat a bit and hoped that I wouldn't need to have a pit stop (never did).  At mile 8, I went ahead and walked through the water station to grab some Gatorade.  I didn't really feel the need but I thought maybe it would help later in the race.  I felt like I maintained the same basic effort level through miles 8,9, & 10 but it looks like the pace slowed down a bit.  There were a few gentle rolling hills in here that seemed to be killing a few folks but they didn't really seem to bother me much.  Around mile 8 or 9 I realized that this was actually going to be over soon and I was actually kind of sad about that since I was having a lot of fun.  I was also starting to pass quite a few people through this stretch and the people out cheering gave some great encouragement.  One lady was handing out oreo's and I regretfully did not eat one.  I was worried if it would be a bit hard to eat while running or what it would do to my stomach.  Maybe I'll try an oreo on my next long run Smile.


      Mile 11: 9:34

      Mile 12: 9:29

      Mile 13: 8:26


      Went ahead and grabbed Gatorade at mile 11 just to make sure I had a few carbs for the final push.  Honestly I think I would have been fine without it and the stuff was pretty watered down anyway.  I was a little tired here but I knew I had another gear and wanted to give it everything I could.  At this point I could tell some people were struggling and I was passing tons of people.  This is especially true around the 12 mile marker when there was 1 last bit of a "Texas" hill.  It looked like half the folks in front of me just started walking to ascend the hill.  I still felt ok though so I just attacked it.  The last mile was more of a progression pace than steady.  At about 12.5 I really started to reach the upper effort limits.  This is the first time in the race it started to hurt a bit.  To be honest, running experience is not what helped me here, but it was the HIIT workouts I had done in the past that gave me the mental fortitude to keep pushing.  Everything in my body was screaming at me to slow down but I just kept pushing harder.  My eyes were watering a bit and my breathing was getting ragged.  A volunteer yelled "Only .2 miles to go" and I gave it everything I had.  The finish chute was narrow but I somehow found lanes to keep passing people.  I expected more folks to be running faster but it felt like I was flying by everyone.  Someone yelled out my name but I was too focused to see who it was.  It was only through some sheer force of will that I held that pace until the finish line.


      I cross the finish line and take a few wobbly steps in elation.  I get my medal and a bottle of water (never made any water stops other than gatorade) and begin looking for my family.  I gave my wife a big hug and get a congratulatory handshake from my dad.  This was pretty cool because he was a pretty good marathon runner back in the day and it never stops being cool to make your dad proud.  Then came the best moment of the day that I had been waiting for.  I took my medal off and put it around my 10 month old daughters neck and gave her a big hug and a kiss.  Seeing her smile always makes life worth living.


      So all in all, I'm very pleased and very sore.  Like as sore as I've ever been in my life.  I'll be taking it very easy this week and maybe do a little light jogging but nothing planned.  I look forward to my next race but I think I'll take the next 6 months to build a solid base on which to stand.  Maybe run a few 5ks or something.  I feel like I'll be able to crush that 2 hour mark next time.

      Mostly harmless

        Congratulations and thanks for writing up and posting this great race report.  Well done all around!

        "It doesn’t matter how often you do it or how much you accomplish, in general, not running is a lot easier than running." - Meb Keflezighi

          Nice job, sounds like a well executed race, and you smashed your goal, congrats!

          Queen of 3rd Place

            Great RR and well done! Your pacing strategy worked out nicely! Enjoy a little well-earned rest and easy-peasy running.

            Ex runner

            Dream Maker


              I'd say you definitely have another PR in you next half with those splits. Smile




                Congrats on the successful race!


                (Note: These mile times are not perfect because my GPS was off somehow; it was registering each mile a little late)


                This is something you will probably notice in most races.  In addition to general GPS inaccuracy, there is always a bit extra you get from weaving around people, not hitting tangents perfectly, etc.  In my races, the distance from mile marker to mile marker often comes out to be ~1.01.  Most of my HMs end up being ~13.2 miles long.

                My wildly inconsistent PRs:

                5k: 24:36 (10/20/12)  

                10k: 52:01 (4/28/12)  

                HM: 1:50:09 (10/27/12)

                Marathon: 4:19:11 (10/2/2011) 


                  Congrats on the race, and thanks for posting the RR.  :-)

                    DDXD:  WOW!!  excellent report and CONGRATS!!  You did it and you'll get the sub 2:00 NEXT TIME!! You'll learn along the way on what works and what doesn't, when, and how, etc. in upcoming races before your next HM especially fuel prior, during and post runs.  And agree with cmb4314 about the gps differences, it happens.  Supporters are incredible on race day.  Hubby is my greatest support and I was running before I met him so he totally understands my NEED for it.  Rest and do some easy, short jogs after a week to stay limber and maintain your mileage base.  Again, WAY TO GO!!

                    PRs In my 50's:  10k trail=52:00;10 m rd=1:23;10 m trail=1:31; HM=1:52; 25K Trail=2:40; FM=4:10; 50k=7:18


                      Around mile 8 or 9 I realized that this was actually going to be over soon and I was actually kind of sad about that since I was having a lot of fun. 


                      I am insanely jealous of this experience. Don't get me wrong, I think racing is incredibly fun - especially the start, sometimes the finish, and always when it's over - but I have never once come close to what you describe above - an in race realization of fun 3/4 of the way in.

                      Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
                      We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes

                        Awesome! You ran it perfectly for your first time! Next time you will crush 2 hours. The fact that you could get to an 8:30 pace that last mile says a lot. Good things to come! Congrats!

                        Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!


                          Fantastic race!! You for realz put the hammer down that last 5k!!!



                          Bless your heart.


                          faster than a glacier

                            Great job and that was one of the best Race Reports I've read! Detailed without getting too bogged down in the minutia. And you did a great job of expressing the excitement you felt during the race. My HR was going up just reading it. I think your strategy was perfect, I will be using the same one when (if?) I do my first HM. Cool


                              Great job in executing your race strategy.  Congratulations.

                                I really enjoyed your RR - felt like I was there with you!  Congrats!  Sounds like the hardest part was facing the unknown, since you were well-trained.  Looking forward to hearing about your sub-2:00!

                                Well at least someone here is making relevance to the subject. - S.J.