Monday, February 14, 2011

Report: Inaugural Hanford Half-Marathon

Total Time = 2:02:34
Overall Rank = 73/175
Age Group Rank = 4/7

Pre-race routine

Last meal was lunch the day before. Just water and Gatorade after that. Woke up, eventually got dressed, and drove out to the race.

Event warmup

Did a short run about 20 minutes before start time.


I have really been improving my run the past couple of months so I did some calculations and figured that a good stretch goal was to come in under two hours. I set the pace alarms on my Garmin to 8:00/mile and 9:20/mile so I would stay in the 9:09 neighborhood for the whole race.. I was able to hold this pace somewhat comfortably for the first half of the race. Once I hit mile seven, though, things took a turn. My slow pace alert kept going off and I wasn't able to get back in my target zone without really pushing it. I knew I wouldn't be able to sustain that so I slowed down for the next two miles, hoping that would give me enough rest to pick the pace up again.

Once I did pick the pace up, though, I couldn't hold it in the zone for long. I watched as my average pace dropped to 9:12 and kept getting slower. It was obvious that I wasn't going to go under two hours so I came up with a new goal: to finish the race without dying. I was not feeling good the last miles of this race. Ugh.

Then a funny thing happened: in the last few hundred yards of the race I heard footsteps behind me. Whatever, because I was too tired to care (or so I thought). However, those footsteps finally caught and passed me with 50 yards to go. Really? Oh no you don't! I tracked the runner and with about 20 or 30 yards to go, I accelerated. She matched and we ended up in a full sprint for the finish line! Fun but exhausting. What was I thinking? I did finish ahead of her.

What would you do differently?

First, I should have tried negative splitting the race. Set my pace alarms to, say, 8:15 and 9:45. Then pick it up after seven or eight miles. I'm just not fast enough to hold that pace yet. Next year for sure!

Second, I left my FuelBelt at home. That turned out to be a mistake because the Gatorade on the course was watered down and served in cups that couldn't be folded over (styrofoam or clear plastic). I had to slow down a lot to drink and didn't really get enough. I probably could have used a gel, too.

Warm down

Much walking around. I didn't do this at my last half and I was punished for it with fluid buildup in my lower left leg. I am typing this the day after and, so far, no problems. They gave out an electrolyte drink mix (pour it in the water bottle they gave you) after finishing and it wasn't too bad. What was too bad was that there was no way to tell what it was in case I wanted to buy some later! Too bad for THAT company.

What limited your ability to perform faster?

I'm doubt that having Gatorade and a gel on a FuelBelt would have ended up helping out much. Then again, it may have.

Hey, I finished this race 29 minutes faster than last November's half so I performed plenty fast for me.

Event comments

All my training happens on hilly courses so having a flat one was a treat! Nice small-town race. I look forward to doing it again next year.

Oh, and I just missed out on the podium for my age group but since first place in that group was the overall first place, I have no complaints. :-)

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