Sunday, August 28, 2005

2005 Rochester Half Marathon

Well here is the scoop... I owe all of my success to my new found running pals. Without these three pushing me on distance runs, I never would have been able to perform so well yesterday. With that said, here is what happened.

I struggled to determine what pace I should shoot for in this race. My first half marathon was at High Cliff in June and I ran 1:39:26, for a Pace: 7:35 min/miles. But my long runs were only at 14-15 miles and I only did that 2x. After that I really packed in the miles (200 miles in July and 5 long runs of 18-22 miles). Then I ran an inspiring 1:02:55 (for a pace of 6:45 min/miles) at the Lake Antoine Classic 15k in early August. This race made me realize that I had a lot more potential at these greater distances than what I showed at High Cliff.

The plan that I was developed a few days before this race was based on these results. I decided that I would try to run 7:15's, and if I felt good, I thought I might be able to trim this down to 7:10''s.

So it was a crisp 58 degrees at 8am when the gun sounded. There were 500+ half marathoners and about 100 of them headed out on a sprint ahead of me. This made me a little uneasy, but I didn't let them pull me out too fast. My plan was to even pace for the first 10 miles, then turn it into a 5k race. I went out at 7:02, 6:48, and 7:32 for the first three miles. I had my GPS lapping each half mile to keep me on pace. After three miles, I felt good, so I decided that I should be shooting for the 7:10's. Then I went 6:54, 6:52, 6:59. This was about the half way point and I was running with the same group of 4 runners. The 4 of us seemed to run faster as a group, and we stepped up the pace over the next mile to 6:50. I took my GEL at mile 8, and surprisingly, two of the four in our pack stopped for water. I took this as a sign of weakness and stepped up the pace, creating separation. I kept up the pace we had built going into the water stop and ran the next two miles at 6:52, and 6:57. With this pick up in pace, I started to pick people off 1 and 2 at a time.

I jokingly talked about my plan to another runner in the early miles that I was going to go from an even pace through 10 miles, and then race the last 3.1 miles. When I hit the 10 mile marker, I felt good enough that I decided to put my plan into action. I ran a 6:54 and decided that this wasn't good enough. I had a sub 1:30:00 in mind now... I pulled off a 6:27, a 6:24, a 6:37 and then a sprint finish of 40 seconds. I passed another 5-10 runners in the last 3 miles, all of which had gone out too fast and didn't have enough left in the tank.

When I crossed the tape, I had managed a 1:29:48 over 13.1 miles for a pace of 6:51 minute/miles. This was 19-25 seconds faster per mile than my goal, and nearly 10 minutes better than my last half marathon. I managed an 18 second negative split from the first half to the second half (7:0 min/miles for first 6.5, and 6:42 for the last 6.5 miles)

Overall, I placed 52nd/500 and 4th of 17 in my age group (M25-29). So I passed about 50 runners in the last half of the race. But for the first time, I wasn't in it for the award, but in it for the PR. My intent was to see how fast I could run a half marathon) on a flat, fast course, starting at 8am) and I did it... but I didn't just do it... I ROCKED ROCHESTER!

So this leaves me in state of bewilderment! On Friday, my marathon goal was 3:40-3:45. Now that I ran a sub 1:30 half, do I adjust my time to 3:20-3:30? Maybe I was meant to be a distance runner, and not a speed demon 5k machine. I think that we will find out on October 2nd in Milwaukee... That will be the true test.

(1:53 for 0.28)