Sunday, November 05, 2006

Autumn Classic Half Marathon

Olympia, WA
Temperature: 56F (88%), Light Rain

Background:

After my dismal September running, I figured I'd run a "baseline" half-marathon. This would give me a goal for the RNR half and some feedback on my current fitness level. I could have picked the Seattle Half but paying $65-$70 for a half just did not seem right. I'll be paying that for the RNR half but that's another story (There I'll be in tourism mode - if I can pay $120+ for a 30 min helicopter ride around the Canyon why not $70 for 100 min of running?)

Race week:

On Monday I felt slight shin splints on my right leg while walking (I had run 14 on Sat & a 5 mile recovery run on Sun). I did not want to take a chance and did not run Mon-Wed. On Thur the shin splints seemed to be gone but I had to stop after just 3 miles on the TM (1% incline). My fibula/shins on my left leg were very sore - it was as if I had not run for 3 weeks not just 3 days! The same thing happened on Fri after 2 miles. I didn't run on Sat but I really had my doubts about the half. With it raining heavily all Saturday I seriously considered bailing out...

Inspite of the 11am race start, I ended up leaving home late for the race. The 80 odd miles to Olympia ended being a race against time (I had to speed and take on the WA cops) given that this was not a chip timed race. I finally made it to the Millerslyvania State Park start with a couple of minutes to spare (that wasn't before I got lost in a camp site). I quickly picked up my number and pinned my bib (upside down as I would realize when I was running).

Race:

Considering that I did not get time to warm-up I was surprised at how good my leg felt when I started running - no shin aches or fibula issues.

There weren't too many people running this race. Perhaps a hundred in total for the 5k, 10k, 10 miler and the half. All the races were out & backers. The neat thing about this was that the turn-about points for the other 3 races acted as time splits for the half.

The course was gently rolling so my lack of hill-work did not get exposed. In some ways this was more like a time trial since I ran mostly by myself. There was 1 half 'thon runner in my sight in the front and I could hear the footsteps of another behind.

Eventhough I was out-of-shape, this is the best I've felt in a half. This is probably because it's the only one I've actually tapered for. It looks like I was able to maintain an even-effort throughout the run. I kept my HR around the 180s so I think I was running it at max-effort given my current fitness level. Things got a little tedious for the last 3 miles but I made it though ok. At the end, I took a wrong turn in the park but the guy behind me warned me that I was going off. I think he could have gotten past me if he wanted to but it was nice of him not to. At the end I thanked him for not passing me and he thanked me for pacing him :)

This wasn't a time PW but the course was the easier than the other 4 I've run so it might well have been - Fairfield, BAA half, Boston's Run to Remember & Bronx. Putting things into perspective my Steamtown 'thon pace was faster than this. All in all it was a great small race. A unique medal, a neat sweatshirt (no ads!) & a half for $30! The RNR will be interesting - pretty much the antithesis of this race :)

Splits

0-1.5? (11:34 @ 7:??,178)
2.5 (7:26, 179)
3.5 (7:32, 180)
4.5 (7:25, 180)
5.5 (7:29, 180)
6.5 (7:25, 181)
Half way: 49:29

7.5 (7:27, 180)
8.5 (7:42, 181)
9.5 (7:24, 182)
10.5 (7:38, 182)
11.5 (7:39, 183)
12.5 (7:34, 185)
0.X (4:52 @ ?, 188)

Final: 1:39:45 @ 7:36 (181)

The course must have been a little long. The start and finish weren't at the same place on an out-and back course!

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