I completed the Long Beach HM today, and was not very happy with how I did, but I think I learned a lot from the experience.
A little background about me:
I've done one HM before-3 years ago-in 1:35:42. My training then was a lot less, but I'd been running for a longer period of time without taking several months off.
I've been running for 4.5 months, 4 runs/week, maxed out at 30 miles (high of 14) 3 weeks ago. I did long runs of 10, 10, 12, 12, and 14 to train, along with a few tempo runs, ranging up to 4.2 miles (at T pace), over the last 8 or so weeks. I also haven't raced in 15 months (10k).
First, my splits:
mile 1: 6:50
mile 2: 7:17
mile 3: 7:19
mile 4: 7:21
mile 5: 7:22
mile 6: 7:20
10k time: 44:55
mile 7: 7:15
mile 8: 7:34 (avg)
mile 9: 7:34 (avg)
mile 10: 7:48
mile 11: 7:54
mile 12: 8:27 (avg)
mile 13.1: 8:27 (avg)
Chip Time: 1:39:18
Now, what did I learn?
1) arrive early. Traffic was very bad getting off the freeway, and I really had to pee. I waited in line to go until the announcer said "2 minutes to race time" and then left the line to get to the starting line.
2) arrive early. Due to the above issue, I didn't get to start with my pace group (1:35), and ran a 6:50 mile to catch up with them. This was with no warmup, no stretching, just stressing in the line to pee (I don't think that counts??).
3) First race back as a HM is probably not a great idea. I feel a hard 10k would have helped me quite a bit.
4) More harder running. My cardio was very good. I wasn't tired at the end of the race, but had a lot of pain-both muscular and skeletal, after about 8 miles. I'd like to hear thoughts on this-my guess is that it has something to do with being over LT or something like that. I did quite a bit of cross training for this, but not enough LT running. If you compare my 10k split and my final time using Jack Daniel's VDOT tables, the rating is about the same. There <b>must</b> be something wrong with that.
5) Don't get cocky early. After blazing through the first mile (and being a bit tired), I felt slowing down with the pace group was pretty easy. At mile 7, I decided to leave them. At mile 8, they decided to leave me. Enough said.
6) Nutrition. I have practiced drinking water (at fountains) and eating gels (while running), but never at a hard pace. I had a hard time drinking water (had 4 stops with small cups and spilling), but I did not use the two gels that I carried in my hands the entire race. This was probably a mistake. On my long runs, I would have one gel at 4 miles and another at 8 to last me through the end. I've since bought a hand held water bottle and will practice running with it. They seem easier than paper cups and I'd rather have gatorade than a gel at that pace.
So, I was not happy with my time, but I do feel that there is quite a bit to build on here.