Sunday, March 25, 2007

2007 Mercer Island Half Marathon Report

Mercer Island, WA, 9:15am
Temperature: 45F
Humidity: 90%

Background:

I signed up for the Mercer half in January as a fitness test for my Spring marathon. I had not done any hill training so I realized that there was a chance that I would not beat my time on the flat Phoenix RNR half course.



Pre-race:



When I saw the rain on waking up I wondered why I was running this race. I like running but did I really have to run in the cold rain? Well, I had paid for the race so I donned my waterproof layer and headed out. Ideally, I would have liked to just run in a T (but that would have meant chaffing all over in spite of using body glide).

I was lucky to find parking near the start. I left my warm and dry car still whining about the rain. I waited for the race to start under the roof of a bank with a few other runners. A couple of them mentioned that they had driven down from Portland (as least I just had to drive 10 miles to get here :)).

Race:

As I walked to the start it stopped raining and I was able to take off my hood!

mile 1- 7:08
The first mile was a loop around the starting area. I had to jump in from the pavement since there was no place to get in before the start. However, there was no bottleneck and in seconds I had running space. I did not want to start out too fast and thought I kept it in check.

mile 2- 7:15
mile 3- 7:21

I saw the official race photographer around this mile. I made sure I moved over to allow him to get a nice snap :)

mile 4- 7:27
mile 5- 7:17

As I was looking at my Garmin here a guy asked me in jest - "Are we there yet?". At least it wasn't mile 5 of a marathon. Before passing me he mentioned - "They say it's the journey not the destination". Very true :)

I distinctly remember going past a mansion on this mile on my training run in Mercer last year. Like last year my Garmin lost signal on this mile so I had to wait for the mile marker to get a split.

mile 6- 7:37

The velcro timing chip on my ankle got undone. I had to stop and fasten it again. For the rest of the race I found myself looking down to make sure it was still there. I did not want to end up not getting a time.

This was the getting past by females mile. First a lady passed me and a guy. She had encouraging words for us - "Nice job guys". Then 4-5 more passed by me :)

mile 7- 7:22

I felt pretty decent at the half way point but my quads were feeling it. Time was passing fast...

mile 8- 7:30

A guy points at the skies and the scenic view across Lake Washington. Quite a panoramic view! Around this point I also wished I did not have 2 pieces of pizza before the run (not ideal pre-run food but luckily no major damaged was caused).

mile 9- 7:30

Around this point we started passing the walkers. The had started two hours ahead of us. I don't think I'd have the patience to walk for so long - it isn't easy to do.

mile 10-7:39
mile 11-7:24

There was not much support out there but everyone out there was cheering. The volunteers (many school kids) were great.

mile 12-7:46

This mile was a climb all through. While I felt pretty good, better than I've ever felt in a half at this point, my quads had no power...

mile 13-7:00

The last mile was mostly a run down a steep downhill except for a steep climb midway that was not fun. As I ran down I hoped I was not trashing my quads too badly (very similar to my last leg at HTC - I did do some damage then).

mile .11-0:53


Result:

Chip: 01:37:19.9 @ 7:25 min/mile
Gun: 01:37:28.6
OA: 183/1405
Male: 146/765
AG: 18/74

Conclusion:

This was the 35th running of the Mercer half so not surprisingly it was well organized. The race was benefiting Colon Cancer research at Swedish. The organizers appeared to be focused on maximizing the contribution towards their cause. That explained why there was only water (and no sports drink) on course but that's OK. I'd do this run again just for the scenic loop around Mercer Island along Lake Washington.

In general I felt I could have gone on for a few more miles at this pace after the half marathon on FLAT terrain. However, my quads could not deal with anymore uphills. There's no faking training on hills. I had kind of expected this after the Seafair experience.

My time here projects a 3:24 odd marathon time on a course of equal difficulty. On a flattish course and after a taper it might even mean a 3:20-3:21. We'll see in five weeks.

4 Comments:

Blogger Phil said...

Great race Sub. I've never heard of a timing chip coming off before, that must have been very distracting. You'll kick ass on your next marathon.

3/25/2007 11:25 PM  
Blogger Sub said...

Thanks Phil!

3/26/2007 11:57 AM  
Blogger Banking Miles said...

Nice job on the run. The hills were challenging and your elevation chart paints a good picture. The Eugene Marathon does not look too hilly. Can you believe it was dry and sunny a few hours after the race.

3/26/2007 4:40 PM  
Blogger Sub said...

That's what I was thinking too - why couldn't the sun have come out a couple of hours earlier :)

3/26/2007 5:01 PM  

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