Tuesday, January 16, 2007

RNR Arizona Half Marathon Race Report

Phoenix, AZ, 8:45am
Temperature: 30F-36F
Humidity: 40-25%

Background:

I had considered running the RNR full but resisted the temptation - I did not want to waste time tapering and recovering. I could fit the half into my training without any interruption. I've never spent so much ($69.5 on entry fees + travel) on a half marathon. However, in this case I was getting to visit my cousin (who I had not seen for a while) and check out a bit of AZ. It was also his first half - there's nothing like seeing someone reaching a first running milestone. I remember my sister making it to both my first half and marathon. For my first marathon she was actually pretty sick but still drove down from NY to DC.

Goals:

1) 1:34 - My predicted time on the entry form. 1:34:20 would correspond roughly to the same fitness level as my marathon PR.
2) sub 1:37:08 - My half PR from 28 odd months ago at the BAA half. The BAA half was a more difficult course than at Arizona.
3) sub 1:39:45 - My time at the Autumn classic half in Oct. I ran that race with minimal training, on a course which I suspect was long.
4) sub 1:42 odd - My PW. I choose not to remember my exact PW :) In fact I'd like to forget everything about the "Boston's Run to remember" half!

Pre-race:

At the expo I was lucky to have a chance to get Frank Shorter to sign my bib. He was also nice enough to pose for a snap with my cousin and me. I also had an awesome FE with Frisco (Jon), Spingoddess (Aubrey), Coleman (Robert) and Runprincess.

Race:

I had been looking forward to running in warm conditions in AZ. I had wondered if I would be able to adjust to the heat after running in the Seattle winter. Of course the weather gods presented me with the coldest day of the year in Phoenix. The effect of the low AZ humidity was pretty interesting. My legs got unusually dry by the end of the race. I've run for much longer in much colder conditions in shorts but I've seen nothing like it. I was actually bleeding...

A random observation was that there seemed to be a lot more females than males at the half - looking at the results it looks like the female: male ratio was 12:7.

I spent the last few minutes before the race waiting at the porta-potty line before giving up and heading to the start with 8 minutes to go. My predicted time of 1:34 got me to corral 1 which was pretty cool. There were over 20 corrals with a wave start for each corral. I did the "right" thing and lined up at the back of the corral. The start was delayed by around 15 minutes. I did not mind the delay - the corral felt warm and I spent time people watching. Finally, after the nation anthem the mayor kicked off the race.

Unfortunately, the whole race went by so quickly I hardly remember how the miles went by... Having the bands around was nice but I did not really get a chance to appreciate them.

mile 1 - 7:00
mile 2 - 6:52
I remember wondering if I was going out too fast. Someone around me was telling another runner that he was shooting for 1:32. Looking back I think it was more of a case of this being the flattest part of the course.

mile 3 - 7:09
mile 4 - 7:03
There was reasonable crowd support throughout the course. There were high school cheerleaders at a few points. There were folks with signs waiting for their runners to go by.

mile 5 - 7:06
mile 6 - 7:08
I was impressed that the mile markers seemed spot on (or at least they correlated with my Garmin's GPS. I've only seen something similar happen on the Boston course).
mile 7 - 7:14
mile 8 - 7:15
mile 9 - 7:17
I remember having covered around 8.4 miles at the 1 hour mark. I've never run a race distance in-between a 10k and a 25k so this was the farthest I've run in an hour.

mile 10 - 7:30
I was tiring a bit. Mile 10 and 11 had most of the inclines on the course. I kept reminding myself that I needed to stay close to a 7:25 pace and I'd have a PR.

mile 11 - 7:52
I don't know what I did here but I ended up running 300 odd ft extra. It was more of a 7:26 pace mile. There were a few turns and perhaps I did not cut tangents well?

mile 12 - 7:18
The most scenic views of the race...

mile 13 - 7:10
mile 13.11 - :49

I was glad to finish but I realized why a marathon finish feels so much more satisfying. It was a hard run but I was not completely spent. I was hardly sore - I could walk with ease & climb stairs. It's nothing like a marathon finish where you get to reflect on your achievement as you hobble/limp around.

Conclusion:

I'm pretty satisfied with this result. Hopefully, this race indicates that speed-wise I'm not too far off from my PR shape (of course aerobically I'm not there yet). I'm just on week 8/24 of the 55/24 so hopefully there's more fitness to gain. A goal time of 3:14 at Vancouver might be realistic.

The event was very well organized. The half marathon and the full had different finish lines & start times. The routes for the two races were appropriately channeled. It's hard to believe that there were actually 35K runners in both events. The wave start for the corrals also prevented any bottleneck. The course was fast - flattish with moderate inclines. The water stops and the finish were well stocked (I guess getting to them before most surely helped but it looks like they were prepared for the other runners as well). The Accelerade was appropriately diluted on the course while at the finish it was more concentrated (which was nice). I won't hesitate to come back to run the full some day (to check off AZ). Though, if I do come back to AZ I might want to think about the Tucson 'thon too - downhill or flats :)

Results:

Chip: 1:34:49 @ 7:14
Gun: 1:35:01
OA: 414/20245
Male: 344/7647
AG: 60/933

6 Comments:

Blogger Phil said...

Sounds like you had a good race. Sorry about the weather. It can get cold here, but 27F over night was much colder than we are use to.

Enjoyed the race report.

1/16/2007 6:38 AM  
Blogger Subhasish Bhattacharya said...

Thanks Phil! It was a satisfying race...

I'm not complaining about the weather. After the first mile it felt good! I feel sad for the locals though - it wasn't the kind of conditions they're used to running in...

1/16/2007 11:25 AM  
Blogger Bapp said...

Nice job on the 1/2 and pretty close to hitting your number 1 goal. Good luck on the rest of your training on the Pfitz plan for Vancouver.

1/16/2007 7:56 PM  
Blogger Subhasish Bhattacharya said...

Thanks Bapp!

Last year was a tough year for me so it's encouraging to get this year off to a better start.

If I can avoid injury and get through all 24 weeks of Pfitz I'm hopeful of a PR in Vancouver...

1/16/2007 9:22 PM  
Blogger Nuke Runner said...

Congratulations! That was a great race and a super race report.

1/19/2007 5:20 AM  
Blogger Subhasish Bhattacharya said...

Thanks Kev!

I'll have to remember to go visit your blog before my spring marathon for inspiration - you ran such an awesome race at Houston...

1/19/2007 9:12 PM  

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