Here is a quick recap of my half marathon yesterday.
The weather predicted 40% rain showers and overcast, and it had been raining when we drove up on Friday. Also, I later heard it’d rained the last two years. But, Friday night we saw the sun setting just behind the peaks and below the cloud line before going to sleep, and even got some nice pictures. So, I had some hope that it wouldn’t rain. I was very exhausted from my busy day at home and went to bed around 9:30 pm. Woke up at 2:30, for about 45 minutes, and woke up again at 5:30 for about 20. Aside from that, I had a pretty good night sleep, although, I do not normally wake up in the middle of the night.
I had eaten a good amount the night before at an Italian place with good food, but as usual, in the am could not eat and had nerves. Actually, my stomach had been acting funny for a few days, but I was trying to keep it in check. I nibbled on a fruit leather (organic) which had 45 calories, and drank a few sips of juice. I think this is definitely a hurdle to figure out as starting a race on the low side of calories isn’t great. I have not been able to eat before any event, and usually I seem to throw up (or try to) before “bigger” events.
I also didn’t know anything about this course before being up there. In hindsight I could have found some info via Google and motionbased, but it’s probably best I didn’t. We had seen part of it and essentially miles 4 through 8 are a long graded climb up to/past a scenic overlook where you can look out at the mountains and down at the water. Then, after mile 8 you turn back toward the water, but this is over the course of several rolling hills of varying lengths and steepness, back until mile 11. It is very hard to get into a running rhythm with these kinds of hills. It is described as the hardest part of the course. At mile 11 you rejoin the road to town, only this time running at a slight down hill to the finish. In short, the bulk of the race (miles 4-11) is over hills. I do run hills at home, there is no way to avoid them from my house, but I tend to stack my runs so that the hills are mostly first, and I can do flatter middle section running. I would alter my training for this event, if I do it again, to put more of my harder hills at the end.
So now some notes about my race. It was not raining after all, but somewhat overcast and very cold at the start. I opted for my uninsulated tights and a tshirt and at the start was shivering as I waited for the race to start. And the Asics NYC Marathon hat and sunglasses. Aaron took my extra layers so I’d have them at the finish (the race had a way to do this too, but I knew Aaron would find me). Once out on the course, it proved to be just about the perfect selection. After just a half mile or so I was comfortable, and after two or three miles, the sun was out and we were on road that isn’t shaded, but there was also a nice cross breeze to take advantage of.
My run through the first 8 miles (up until the turn in) was about as good as I could have hoped for, pace wise and enjoyment wise. The rest stops were interesting and interspersed between them were various musicians, mostly violin ensembles. But there was a bagpiper, a couple of folk musicians, and a men’s quartet too.
Even though it was a steady uphill, I was enjoying it and keeping a good pace. I drank a little at mile 4, mile 7.5, mile 10, and probably again at mile 11.5 (not sure). I stopped and walked and ate the gu I had around mile 8. I was actually feeling pretty hungry at this point, and know if I could eat more in the am this would have helped.
I also ended up walking several of the uphills in this section which definitely hurt my time. But I think the prior section had taken a little bit out of me, and maybe I lost a little mental focus, too. By this point I was among similar runners (fair number of first timers too) and most people were walking the uphills or just plain walking. But this nagging voice of me wanting to come in under at least three hours kept telling me to run when I could. Finally we came back out of the rolling hills and I ran the last miles with just a few minutes walking – my legs were getting pretty sore. But, I saw Aaron toward the finish and knew from my time I’d make it under 3… 10 minutes off the time I’d really sort of wanted/hoped for, which was 2:37. I came in at 2:47 instead. But I think all things being equal, including being off plan in March, it was the right result.
I am moderately sore today. I don’t plan to run at all for a week, but do plan to swim and bike at some point. Then, next weekend I will recollect and start back at it for summer tri’s.
Here are some pictures from the event…