Monday, February 18, 2008

13.1. It's Official.

Well over a year in the making*...I'm finally a Half Marathon finisher!

Weather: Sunny and cool in the morning with temps in the low 40s at the start, warming to a balmy 70+ degrees in the afternoon.

Gun Time**: 3:07:45
Watch Time***: 3:02:28
Max Heart Rate for the race: 195. Holy smokes. Looks like I need to adjust the programming on my watch ;)

* I had intended on running this half last yr but laid myself up with awful shin splints that resulted in a good 4 months or more of physical therapy plus new orthotics and a seemingly endless hunt for shoes
** read on for comments regarding the Gun Time
*** there is an actual likelihood that I actually finished in less than 3 hours - I had a post race brain shutdown and forgot to stop the timer - and then since I was wearing my Polar rather than my regular Timex, I had some operator error troubles :P

Race Wear: After much fussing, I opted for a Black 2-pocket GymGirl, a turquoise and white mid-sleeve v-neck, handknit wristlets, and my black Iron Girl hat

Apologies in advance for the lack of photos - I didn't bring a camera and DH was laid up at home with the flu - I'm now awaiting the official race photos, of which I expect to have some satisfactory images since I spotted at least 4 cameramen along the way :)

Night Before the Race, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring - except for me. With my pre-race jitters. I had intended to go to bed early and be well rested, but alas - at 11pm I was deciding on racewear and pre-pinning on my midnight I had set my alarm for 5:20am and had been laying in bed, listening to I don't even recall what program while knitting away on a pair of socks. I think I finally drifted off around 12:30am...only to be awoken by my loving cat at 3am as she uncharacteristically stomped around on top of me while purring loudly (normally, she sleeps at the foot of the bed, or next to my hip - I don't know what got into her that night!). 5:20 came all too quickly with the beeping of the alarm.

Hopped out of bed, slathered on the sun block and the body glide, donned the race wear and toasted and peanut buttered a bagel for the ride out to the race. Water bottle in hand, I was out the door with plenty of time to pick up some coffee enroute.

The drive out was dark, and uneventful with no traffic to be seen - until the exit that was designated for the race parking - but even then, with the stop and go to the parking lot, I still had a half hour or so to catch the less-than-5-minute shuttle to the start. A quick survey of the area revealed a bathroom with flush toilets! Hooray! No port-a-potty for me, thanks! After what appears to be the standard pre-race visit to the restroom, I got in the swift moving line for the shuttle....

And so the fun begins ;)

Apparently, the driver of the shuttle bus that I got on had been shuttling marathoners out to the marathon start - 25.x miles away from the parking area...can you guess where this is going? LOL - indeed, the shuttle headed out in the entirely wrong direction, then was finally stopped and redirected by a local racer - unfortunately, instead of heading back into the parking area to take the "normal" back way to the race start, they took surface streets and wound up dropping us off about a half mile away from the starting line due to the road closures for the race. This would have been okay if I had the time for the warm up walk to the start ;) but as I was walking briskly towards the starting line, I heard the countdown to the gun...and wound up watching the large field of half marathoners heading in my direction as they flooded through the start and were on their way - I still had to make it down to the start, and drop off my bag and sweatshirt for after the race!

**We interrupt this race report for more Stats for you:
The total field size was 845, the total number of women racers was 465.
My official time placed me well in the back of the pack, finishing 771st in the field and 403rd of the women.

Anyhow, I'm quite certain that by the time I had left my bag at the drop point for post-race stuff and made my way back to the starting line I had lost 10-15 minutes based on the impending countdown for the next race start time. Ah well, I was in it to finish - I had firmly expected to come in pretty far back in the pack. After all, due to my previous injuries and most of my training being relegated to a treadmill, my race strategy was to pace myself and run/walk the race with the intent of having fairly even splits as the miles progressed. To aid me in my quest, I had set up a fine selection of Podrunner Podcasts starting with 130 bpm, ranging up to 146 bpm - I figured the fixed beats would help me with my cadence and keep me on pace...after all, at these bpms, I was consistently training within my MAF zone, only having to resort to walking in the latter portions of my workouts.

...I was wrong. Apparently, the competitor in me was not happy about being so far behind - so even though I *thought* I was matching my running cadence with the 130 beats per minute of the tunes, I was apparently moving quite a bit was evident when I came up on Mile Marker 1 (11:34.5 with a Max Heart Rate (MHR) of 189 (oops - for your reference, my MAF training pace is 16:35-17:00)). Cripes. A definite newbie mistake - everybody warns about coming out way too fast at the start of a race. In order to try to calm my poor heart down, I wound up walking most of Mile 2 (15:00.6, MHR 174/Average HR (AHR) 166), mostly to see if it was possible to even get my heart rate down to somewhere close to my typical training zone - the answer for the curious is No - must have been the caffeine and the adrenaline - at least that's what I'm telling myself. Heading into mile 3 (13:09.4, MHR 184/AHR 179) I seemed to settle into my planned routine of running and walking - though I did it more adhoc rather than on a set time schedule - this was mostly done to accommodate the unanticipated hilliness of the course (It hadn't occurred to me to drive out and scope the course before hand - silly me). While the sun was rising in my face, I was still happy to enjoy the view of Superstition Mountain looming in the distance as the race course headed out along Lost Dutchman Blvd.

Mile 4 (14:12.8, MHR 182/AHR 175) was mostly dirt (as was mile 3, if I remember correctly. Graded dirt is definitely nicer to run on and noticeably softer than the pavement in some places due to recent rains). After getting past the backside of the hill known as the Dutchman's Revenge, my mind was still freely wandering while I continued to glance around, looking for early wild flowers (sadly, none to be found).

Mile 5 (13:08.3, MHR 185/AHR 179) saw the leaders coming back. They were looking plenty strong - while I highly doubt I will ever hit a pace like they were churning out (around 6:35 if I'm doing my math right), I do hope one day to be able to run the full distance of a half and look strong doing it!

Mile 6 (13:30.3, MHR 187/AHR 179) still going strong, and still passing people (hooray!) As I was getting closer to the turn around point, the leaders of the Full Marathon started to pass me by - they were moving at quite a clip and were seemingly untroubled by the distance. Some of these runners lapped me twice - as a leg of the race had all of us going up a street and then turning around - the full Marathoners had to run a bit further out before making their U-turn, thus the dual laps.

Mile 7 (14:03.7, MHR 187/AHR 187) I was still run/walking and still enjoying the light playing on Superstition Mountain.

Mile 8 (13:50.1, MHR 186/AHR 180) Starting to feel the burn, and slight aches, I switched from water to gatorade at the aid stations.

Mile 9 (14:14.8, MHR 188/AHR 180) As my focus began closing in more on the road and the immediate terrain (while still drifting off now and again as I spotted the occasional "for sale" sign on houses that we were running wogging by), I began wondering to myself if this was such a good idea. My shins were starting to give up the occasional prickle, and once or twice my calves had started to make initial noises of protest. I slowed a couple times to stretch and evaluate, and coax my legs into behaving.

Mile 10 (15:47.1, MHR 185/AHR 175) the Dutchmans Revenge. An aptly name hill, it's a tenth of a mile long, and rises 50 feet in that short distance - it's definitely a killer. I didn't even attempt to run it, instead, I took the opportunity to walk up while stretching my calves out along the way. The course at this point is mostly down hill with a few dips and corresponding rises along the way.

Mile 11 (13:44.0, MHR 187/AHR 178) I can see the the finish line in the distance as I continue on my quest - I'm still moving, though it's definitely taking more effort to remain running rather than walking.

Mile 12 (13:39.1, MHR 188/AHR 178) Thank goodness for the slight downhill grade - it's just enough to assist, without requiring the quads to chime in with braking power. I'm still determined to run as I can, slowing to a walk as demanded on occasion by my cardiovascular system.

Mile 13 (14:46.9, MHR 185/AHR 175) After beating back a hostile takeover by my calves and shins (I wound up walking longer than planned this last mile to calm the impending revolt), I rounded the corner back into Prospector Park and the finish line. Laid out before me was the finishing chute - and a mere 0.1 miles to go - determined to finish it strong, as I neared the mile 13 sign, I broke into a full out sprint, passing several folk along the way, it was such a joy to hear my name called out over the loudspeaker. I had finished!

I'm officially a Half Marathoner. It feels good - painful, but good :) My calves, shins and core are still having their revenge - I was hobbled a good portion of yesterday after the race (there were no options for an immediate ice bath and by the time I got home, I really didn't even want to contemplate burying myself in ice. Course, that may well have been my downfall.) Today, I'm still hobbling, though stairs don't hurt quite as much as they did yesterday. Laughing and sneezing though, are serious killers - I forgot how much my core hurt after I did my 5k last December...

I guess the big question is would I do it again? I think I have to say yes :) though I hope to be better trained next time - and will hopefully be able to run more than walk it. I managed to astonish myself with my finishing time, though now that I'm checking, the McMillan Calculator actually predicted my finish time pretty closely - at 3:04:26.

What's next? I've not decided - though if I can get my body back into a happy state, there's another 5k happening on February 29th!

Yes, I know the Half Marathon route is an out and back, and therefore the race profile should mirror itself starting at the 6.55 mile marker - I have no idea why it doesn't - isn't technology wonderful? I just find it hilarious that the hill called the Dutchman's Revenge appears as a rather prominent spike right at the end of Mile 10 - because that's exactly what it felt like!


Cayli said...

Congrats on the 1/2 marathon!

I have only done a 5k and I am pretty sure I would not be up for the 1/2 but I sure would love to do the 60 mile Breast Cancer Walk. Call me crazy.

Sara said...

Awesome job!! Congrats on your first Half Marathon!! It's a really really great feeling!! You ran a very good race. I can't wait to hear all about your next Half!!


FiberHound said...

Go you! It's one of my half-formed wishes/goals to run some sort of race. Reading about yours is inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Holy Canolli! That is some true awesomeness. I could only dream of doing something like that!