Eisenhower Half-Marathon Report (Read 759 times)

    This was a great race and I didn't even know how close it was until the awards ceremony. And at that point I was glad I didn't let up when I thought the race was in the bag. It was in Abilene, KS, a 2.5 hr drive for my training partner, Jimmy, and me. We met at 4 am and were there by 6:30, grabbed our bags, changed into our gear and made it to the starting line with only seconds to spare. In fact,I was tying my shoes right before the gun went off. We had been told that the course was flat, but it was actually a delicious combination of mild ups and downs and some lovely flats. It could be a very fast course. It was 10 degree wind chill at the start and had only warmed up one degree by the finish. Due to the incredible cold and my Reynaud's Syndrome,I knew ahead of time I wasn't going to be hitting any of the aid stations, instead, ate about 1000 cals in the car on the way, drank a diet coke and made sure Fri I had plenty of liquids in prep. I wore gloves and carried chemical warmer inserts in them. Most of all, I knew that this was to be the second coldest temp I had run in, and the first one I had tried to race in, so I just mentally strengthened myself to not let the cold be an excuse and to still stick to my plan. I was thrown initially as 4 very fast women darted ahead of me and pulled away from me pretty easily. I was feeling kind of slow and helpless and feeling like I really needed to train more. I tried not to let it be a head game with me but continue to stick to running my own race . I had no idea if they were marathoners or half marathoners, but knew for sure after the first several miles as they disappeared in front of me that I was looking at a marathon in the low 2:50's and sub three for all of them. I was surprised such a small race attracted such big talent. In fact,as a side note, the men's winner of the half was a young guy who ran Houston marathon in 2:32. He ran 1:17 yesterday,and there were four men 1:18 or under. The men's marathon winner yesterday ran 2:32 and repeated his win from last year. There was prize money for top 3 spots full and half and I knew that had attracted some fast legs. Regardless, it was hard not to be intimidated by at least three of these four ladies who went through the first 4 miles 6:30-6:40 pace at least. I went through the first two miles well and comfortably, then had a problem mile 3 when my MP3 player flew off and I had to go back and get it then stop to adjust my gloves and then realized I'd lost my heat insert in one. I lost way more than 30 seconds that mile, but I can't take chances with getting my hands cold, it's very dangerous for me with my condition. I was getting back in the groove mile 4 when I realized my MP3 had gotten stuck on repeat on one song on one disc that I really couldn't stand. I slowed down again to fix it just for my sanity. Then I decided I needed to stop screwing around and get back to focusing, but more importantly, not let my idiot stops influnce my race or effort. I won't be racing with music in the marathon. Duh. Especially not after yesterday. Duh. Or Doh. I continued to concentrate well, and kept up my effort level and recieved a much needed confidence boost when only one gal ahead of me turned around at the half marathon mark. I was suddenly back in the money. I was also astonished at how far ahead of me the marathon ladies were, they had to be at least 3 minutes ahead of me by that point and I was looking forward to seeing their times. I turned strongly in 47:52, about 30 seconds ahead of my half pace last week. I tried to focus on the runner way ahead of me and see if I could pull her down or close the gap. I had a great time concentrating and moving my legs towards that goal. At 10 miles I was at 71:44, about 45 seconds ahead of my 10 mile pace from last week. I was feeling strong and comfortable, or comfortably uncomfortable and started reeling in men ahead of me,which was a major kick. The cold was nailing me,I couldn't feel the backs of my legs even though I was wearing heavy winter tights. I knew I was close and knew I had to gut it out. The last three miles were into a headwind and one hamstring tightened to the point I was afraid it was going to pull, then the other started going on me. I briefly considered easing back the effort and going into cooldown mode around 11 miles, as I looked around and couldn't see a women for at least a half mile. I thought I was solidly in second. I assessed my hamstring and knew a cooldown was out of the question, so I decided my job was to finish the race and get 13 quality miles in. I continued to persevere into the wind, shortened my stride to take some pressure off the hammy and tried to increase my turnover. I was slowly closing the gap between me and the person ahead of me, who also was Jimmy, my training partner. I peeked at my watch every now and then and was sad to see my splits about 30 seconds off where the effort felt, but kept up the effort anyhow and didn't get discouraged. I gave an extremely good kick in to the finish to gain some necessary seconds and thought I was solidly in second. The first place gal came over to me and said that she and I would have been step for step if I hadn't had to stop for my gloves stuff, I thought she was very sweet. She still would have smoked me.She finished two minutes ahead of me. My Garmin had the distance at 13.25. My time was 1:35:55. My time at Garmin 13.1 was 1:34:55. It's irrelevant to me what the distance was, other than if my Garmin is right, than I ran one minute faster than the Garmin 13.1 last week. If the course was right, then I ran exactly what I ran last week where the Garmin last week said 13.1. If last week's course was right, than I ran 2.5 minutes faster than last week. See what I mean? It's ridiculous to focus on these unanswerable things. I ran the course everyone else did, regardless of the length, to the best of my ability that day. At the awards, I placed second overall and won cash! To my amazement, third was only 20 seconds behind me! I never saw her..period... She had to have started back in the pack and her chip time gave her third. If I had eased up and cruised in , thinking I had second sewn up, I would have given it away. It's only because I continued to race to the very last step with all my effort that I came in second. If I hadn't done my kick, I might have lost also. It's because I treated it as a race until the very last step even though I couldn't see another woman at all that I came in where I did. Valuable lesson for me. Once again my heart rate data is more important than individual splits due to the wind and varying intensities of the course. And once again, I'm pleased with my effort. I was consistently 85%-87% effort. Most importantly, whereas last week my first half race to second half race varied by almost two minutes this week they only varied by 11 seconds! I was only 11 seconds slower the second half of the race than the first! How's that for pacing? Ok, before I list my splits and HR, about the marathon ladies who were blistering the course through the first 6.5 miles, I would love to know their splits, because without exception ,they absolutely collapsed somewhere!First place didn't come in until 3:07, second 3;15, third 3:26, and the first two ladies were on 2:50-2:55 pace through the first quarter. The third lady, was 3 flat pace or a little under through the first quarter! Another extremely valuable lesson for me......what a great day for learning! 6:53(no data hr),6:56(172hr), 7:24(171hr, some dummy lost her Mp3 player),7:10(170hr),7:20(174hr, some dummy got her MP3 player stuck on one bad song and had to slow down to fix it),7:25(173hr),7:16(170hr), turnaround time 47:55,6:57(172hr),7:05(173hr), 7:17(172hr), 10 mile time 71:44,7:27(174hr),7:38(172hr),7:32(173hr) 1:35:55 2nd overall female Great race, great organization, I recommend this race!

      Congratulations Monkey Sam!!! Very impressive showing, and great race report!

      You'll ruin your knees!

        Nice to know you're strong enough to lock 2nd place AND have some setbacks! WOW! Great learnings for the marathon attempt, don't forget them! Congrats on the placement! Did the prize $$ cover your costs at least? Lynn B

        ""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)


          Loved reading your report and darn those MP3 players getting stuck on a bad song. Thanks for listing splits and HR. You really worked hard!
          Run like you are on fire! 5K goal 24:00 or less (PR 24:34) 10K goal 50:00 or less (PR 52:45) HM goal 1:55:00 or less (PR 2:03:02) Marathon Goal...Less than my PR (PR 4:33:23)
            Wow, you are super fast! Big grin
            2009: BQ?
              You definitely are fast! Do you think you would of run any faster without the MP3 player and GPS watch? Smile


                That is an amazing race report. Awesome job! I can't believe how much faster your pace is at 170hr. I ran 170-173 during my half 3 weeks ago, and finished in 1:50. I wanna be like you when I grow up. Wink
                "Running is a big question mark that's there each and every day. It asks you, 'Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?' " - Peter Maher, Irish-Canadian Olympian
                  Your times are awesome. It's great that you placed second too. I read in your earlier post where you said you weren't "racing" in these three HM's, oh boy I wonder what happens when you really turn up the heat. You rock. Randy
                  Run Steady....Run Safe http://aggiesoles.blogspot.com/
                    You guys are too nice, thank you! My last half of my three week binge of halfs is this weekend and I'm going at it slightly differently. I've done the last two halfs at 85-87% effort. This one,I'm going out at about 90% and I'm going to see if my glycogen can support that rate the whole way. I'm not saying my times will be faster, but I hope my HR is a little higher. I can't wait to see the data. To prepare my mind for it, I went out a few days ago and did 8x1 mile repeats at 90% and up effort. The first two were at 6:19, the last one was at 6:07. The 8th one was closer to 100% effort, but since it was my last one,I decided that was permissable. And how all this will translate to a full marathon at CMM? I have no idea whatsoever. I'm hoping eventually it'll help me sort out the marathon. Because I sure didn't figure it out last year, hehe. Boy, I love racing with my Garmin, adds a whole new dimension to my running education. Big grin