Beginners and Beyond

12

Verrazano Half Marathon (RR) (Read 84 times)

    Background
    I was tempted to not write this race report for a couple of reasons.  First, I only post here a few times a month and it seems a bit odd for an infrequent poster to submit a race report.  Second, this race just sucked.

     

    Obviously, I did decide to write this. I think writing about a tough race helps me internalize the lessons learned. Also, I have learned a great deal from reading others’ race reports.  I am not sure how this one could help someone else, but you never know. So here goes.

     

    On Saturday I ran a half marathon along the western shoreline of Brooklyn near the Verrazano Bridge.  The race consisted of two out and backs on the same course.  We started with a 2.5 miles out and back, followed by 4 miles out and back.  The course is completely flat and the temperature was in the 50s.  It warmed up a bit during the race, but the conditions at the start were nearly perfect.  There was a slight breeze, but nothing to worry about.

     

    When I registered for this race several months ago, I was thinking PR.  This was only the third half marathon in my life and I was going to rock it. My first half marathon was ten years ago when a younger and lighter version of me ran 1:37.   Last year, one year after getting back running, I managed to run 1:43. I had heard that this course is very fast as long as the wind doesn't pick up. My training runs are all hilly, so I expected to get a boost from the flat course.  Of course I would break 1:40. My old PR was toast.  The only question was whether I could break 1:35.

     

    Training did not proceed as planned.  I had a few legit excuses along the way, but for the most part, I just did not get my ass out the door often enough.  I planned to run at least 30 miles a week, but I only averaged 19.  I planned to run 4 - 5 times per week, but often ran just 2 - 3 times per week. My infrequent runs were all long and relatively fast, but I did not do nearly enough.  As the race approached, I made another mistake.  I failed to adjust my expectations.  I felt I should be able to run sub-1:35, so I ignored my poor training and tried to pull it off.

     

    The morning of the race went well.  I had a light breakfast, arrived at the race with plenty of time to spare and did two miles to warm-up.  In hindsight, that may have been too much of a warm-up since 13.1 miles is basically at the edge of my endurance.  My plan was to run a 7:10 - 7:15 pace, so I lined up near the front with the 7:30 pace crowd.

     

    The Race

    I felt good from the moment the gun went off.  My initial pace was fast, but comfortable.  I looked at my GPS several times in the first mile and forced myself to slow down when I saw paces like 6:10, 6:30 and 6:40.  I finished mile 1 in 6:55, which felt too fast, but not disastrously so.  I continued to ease up and found a comfortable zone between 7:10 and 7:20.  Everything was going according to plan and I was very confident during miles 3, 4, and 5.

     

    The fatigue snuck up on me.  I remember thinking at the halfway point that I was laboring too much this early in the race.  I wasn't exhausted, but I knew I should feel fresher with 6.5 miles to go.  I stubbornly tried to stay on pace.  All I needed to do what enter LtH’s pain cave and I’d be fine, right?  Wrong.

     

    The final turnaround was at mile 9.  I was really struggling, but I told myself I could hang on for another 4 miles.  Then I made the turn and I was struck by a significant headwind.  What’s up with that? There was no wind when the race started. I had already done an out and back and hadn't noticed any wind.  It must have picked up during the last 4 miles out.  I had probably been aided by the wind, though I hadn't noticed it.  Now, it just took all the fight out of me.  I’m sure the impact was more mental than physical.  I would guess that the wind didn't slow me down by more than 5 - 10 seconds per mile, but I was already exhausted and the wind was the last straw.

     

    I stopped looking at the pace on my Garmin.  I kept looking down at my watch, but only to track progress between mile markers. I didn't care how fast I was running.  I just wanted to finish. After the 10th mile marker, I was determined not to look down at my watch until around 10.5 miles.  Of course when I looked down it said 10.16.  Yeah, those last three miles were tough.  I completely lost track of time until I saw the clock at the finish line.  I realized I could still finish under 1:40, so I gave a final push.  I was thrilled to cross the line in 1:39:48.  I was dizzy and thought I was going to puke, but at least I was done.   My splits are shown below.

     

    <colgroup><col width="67" /> <col width="64" /> <col width="70" /> <col width="69" /> <col width="72" /> <col width="70" /> <col width="69" /> <col width="66" /> </colgroup>
    Split Distance Avg Pace Avg HR Max HR Cadence % HRR % MaxHR
    1 1 6:55 154 165 84 79% 85%
    2 1 7:08 167 170 82 89% 92%
    3 1 7:10 170 174 81 91% 93%
    4 1 7:19 171 174 81 92% 94%
    5 1 7:10 172 176 81 93% 95%
    6 1 7:13 175 177 81 95% 96%
    7 1 7:19 176 178 81 96% 97%
    8 1 7:17 177 179 80 96% 97%
    9 1 7:37 177 179 79 96% 97%
    10 1 7:56 177 179 78 96% 97%
    11 1 8:19 176 179 78 96% 97%
    12 1 8:29 175 178 77 95% 96%
    13 1 8:32 173 179 77 93% 95%
    14 0.19 7:38 177 180 80 96% 97%
     Summary 13.19 7:34 173 180 80 93% 95%

     

    Lessons Learned
    I am disappointed in myself because I did not properly train for this race and then I failed to adjust my goals to match my training. A few weeks ago I ran a 20 minute 5K (well, 20:05) and now I can do no better than a 1:40 half marathon?  This shows that I have some speed, but I lack endurance and stamina.  I can do better, but I need to put the work in.  There are no shortcuts.  I will be running my first marathon six months from now.  A marathon is no joke.  I need to get serious about training or I will crash and burn much worse than I did last weekend.

     

    Despite my disappointment, the race was not all bad.   At the beginning of the race, I ran 8 strong miles and along the way, I managed to set lifetime PRs in the 15K and 10 mile distances.  While the race was not a smart race, it was a gutsy one.  According to my heart rate monitor, I was in the red zone for much of the race.  I was hurting and wanted to quit, but I managed to hang on.  That’s worth something.

    2013 goals: 800m: 2:20 | mile: 4:59 | 5k: 18:59 | 10k: 39:59 | HM: 1:32 | Marathon: 3:20

    kristin10185


    I race in SparkleSkirts

      I'm sorry you had a tough race SadSad

       

      But I am excited to see a RR for this race!!! The starting line is 5 blocks from my apartment, and I do a good majority of my running in that park! I really reallllllly wanted to do the 5K or 10K that were also part of the Verrazano Festival of Races that morning, but had to go to a wedding in Connecticut that morning.

       

      PS- That jogging path is ALWAYS extremely windy, I know how bad the winds can pick up there, even on days that aren't windy anywhere else. I know exactly where you are talking about. I got hit with a headwind there while running in the snow one cold winter morning and thought it was the end of me.

       

      Thanks for writing the RR even if it wasn't the best race. It is good to reflect on races, good and bad, and I can personally say I have learned TONS from people posting RRs on here of races that were less than ideal.

       

      But congrats on the PR even if all your goals were not met! You finished AND PRed and that is AWESOME!

      PRs:   5K- 28:16 (5/5/13)      10K- 1:00:13 (10/27/13)    4M- 41:43 (9/7/13)   15K- 1:34:25  (8/17/13)    10M- 1:56:30 (4/6/14)     HM- 2:21:47 (10/12/13)

       

      I started a blog about running :) Check it out if you care to

        Good assessment and it sounds like you know what you need to do. Good luck on training for your full.


        Bad Ass

          Sorry you missed your goal but still a strong effort.  It might not be a reason for further training, as it could've been just an off day.  Keep up the good work, tweak the training and try again!

          Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

          Next:  RnR Country Music Half Marathon

          Blog

          "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."


          Don't call me Buttercup!

             

            Despite my disappointment, the race was not all bad.   At the beginning of the race, I ran 8 strong miles and along the way, I managed to set lifetime PRs in the 15K and 10 mile distances.  While the race was not a smart race, it was a gutsy one.  According to my heart rate monitor, I was in the red zone for much of the race.  I was hurting and wanted to quit, but I managed to hang on.  That’s worth something.

             

            Exactly!!  Well done! Thanks for the RR.

            Slow and steady wins the....  wait a second! I've been lied to! 

            Brrrrr


            Uffda

              You're a fast runner! Nice RR. Great job running sub 1:40. Smile

              - Andrew


              SheCan

                Congratulations!  That's a really good HM time.  I know it hurt, but you'd rather do this in a Half than your full.  Plus IMO, it's a whole lot easier to build endurance than speed--- you just have to put the work in.  Good luck to you, and awesome time on your Half!

                Cherie

                        Don’t work harder than you can breathe,
                and you’ll never get out of breath.-- Johnny Nuguyen

                monkkey


                I admit nothing

                  But I am excited to see a RR for this race!!! The starting line is 5 blocks from my apartment, and I do a good majority of my running in that park! I really reallllllly wanted to do the 5K or 10K that were also part of the Verrazano Festival of Races that morning, but had to go to a wedding in Connecticut that morning.

                   

                  Be glad you didn't run the 10k, they messed up the turnaround and everyone ran less than 5 miles total.

                   

                  I ran the half but I don't have much to say about it.  It was a nice day - warmer and less windy than a year ago.  The folks who put it on are great but it's a little boring and too flat for me, I probably won't run it again.

                  marathon 3:39 / half 1:40

                  MrNamtor


                  DON'T TREAD ON ME

                    You ran a race that 90% of the people here (including me) would be very happy with. The fact that you are disappointed because you didn't train enough shows that you have what it takes to do better.

                     

                    Good luck in the future, and no doubt your PRs will await you there.

                    Pinktastic


                      Man!  That was a tough race!!   Sounds like you know what the issue was and how to address it - it's all part of the journey.   You showed great determination and didn't quit even though you were hurting badly - that will serve you well in the future.   Commit to training and that FM will go better than this half did.  You can do it!!!

                      But The Smile That I Sent Out Returned With You.

                      kristin10185


                      I race in SparkleSkirts

                        I was wondering how you did on this monkkey. i heard something happened with the 10K....there were comments on the NYC Runs facebook page about  some issue with the distance. Less than 5 miles?! That is a HUGE mistake!!! I can see how a HM completely on that path could be boring.... that is why I only run part  of each of my runs on that path...the views are amazing,running by the water is lovely but I can see 13.1 miles of it being monotonous. I usually do Owls Head Park too, and venture up into the rest of Shore Road Park where there is more varied terrain,baseball fields, flowers, ect. for parts of my runs too.

                         

                         

                        Be glad you didn't run the 10k, they messed up the turnaround and everyone ran less than 5 miles total.

                         

                        I ran the half but I don't have much to say about it.  It was a nice day - warmer and less windy than a year ago.  The folks who put it on are great but it's a little boring and too flat for me, I probably won't run it again.

                        PRs:   5K- 28:16 (5/5/13)      10K- 1:00:13 (10/27/13)    4M- 41:43 (9/7/13)   15K- 1:34:25  (8/17/13)    10M- 1:56:30 (4/6/14)     HM- 2:21:47 (10/12/13)

                         

                        I started a blog about running :) Check it out if you care to

                        LRB


                        Dreamer

                          I feel you on the disappointment.  I passed up an opportunity to run a half marathon six weeks or so ago because I felt I was not ready to run the time I thought I was capable of.

                           

                          You sound like you are on the right path so there is that, and race reports are encouraged whether you post daily or not.

                          "Training is not always fun, but it should always be rewarding."

                            Thanks for the comments and encouragement.  I meant  to reply to the comments a couple weeks ago, but I never got around to it. So here goes.

                             

                            *****************************************

                            But first a brief update.  I ran the Brooklyn HM over the weekend and did much, much better.  I am very happy with the time, but more importantly, I am pleased with the way I raced.  I held back early and managed a negative split.  I kept expecting to fall apart in the later miles, but it didn't happen.  I felt great during the whole, race and beat my lifetime PR (from 2002) by a full minute.  My new PR is 1:36.

                            *****************************************

                             

                            kristin - I think monkkey summed it up well.  It is a very nice area and a fun place to run, but it is no that exciting to run 13 miles on a 4-mile trail. I am sure the views are very nice, but I would appreciate that more during a casual jog than in a tough race.  I had never been to that area of Brooklyn before and it seems like a very nice neighborhood.  I did not know about the screw-up with the 10K.  There weren't enough porta-johns, but otherwise the race organization seemed pretty good.  I liked the people and the relaxed atmosphere.  I might be back again next year.

                             

                            B-Plus - Thanks.  My mileage is already up.  This was a good wake-up call.

                             

                            Damaris - I think you were right about it being an off day for me.  I definitely need to train more. 20 MPW is just not enough for a strong HM, but I ran a much better HM just 3 weeks later, which indicates that I might have just had a bad day.

                             

                            Thanks Di!

                             

                            Brrr - Many thanks!

                             

                            SheCan - Yes, I would much rather suffer in a HM than in my upcoming full.  I plan to work hard for the next 6 months to make sure this doesn't happen again.

                             

                            monkkey - Good assessment.  The race was fine, but not exceptional.  I am glad they got our distance correct.

                             

                            McNamtor - I guess performance is all relative. I would have been thrilled with this result a year ago, but I expected more from myself this year.  I am fine with the time.  I know I can do better, but 1:40 is a fine time.  I am just annoyed that I faded so badly toward the end and I can only blame myself for my lack of training.

                             

                            Pink - Yes, it was a brutal race for me, but I know I can do better. Thanks for the encouragement.

                             

                            LRB - Thanks.  I haven't posted much lately but I am going to try to ease back into things.  I have a road mile coming up and just discovered your thread about your race.  Congrats on a solid first mile.   You will only get faster from there.

                            2013 goals: 800m: 2:20 | mile: 4:59 | 5k: 18:59 | 10k: 39:59 | HM: 1:32 | Marathon: 3:20


                            Bad Ass

                              Glad your next one was better which indicates an off day.  Ahem, where is the RR for THAT one? Big grin

                              Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

                              Next:  RnR Country Music Half Marathon

                              Blog

                              "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."


                              Miles to go

                                I appreciate reading reports, especially the bad ones.  It sounds like you know what happened, had a pretty speedy start (congrats on the 15K and 10 mile PRs), and still managed to hold on and avoid total disaster.  And maybe this result will be the motivation to get out the door next time!

                                PRs: 5K: 25:35 / 10K: 53:03 / 10mi: 1:26:15 / HM: 1:55:02

                                Upcoming: HM 4/13

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