Sunday, November 4, 2007

City of Oaks Half Marathon

13.1 miles - 2:10:17 - 9:56 / mile pace

This race was on my schedule as a I support running in Raleigh race, not really planning to train specifically for it but since I was doing the Duke half Ironman a month and a half earlier I figured I would have no problem maintaining enough fitness to finish this healthy and happy. I didn't really want to put any pressure on myself since I had done enough of that for Duke, so when race week came and I didn't know what time it started, or where the start was, I figured it might be a good idea to look into it. With that mission complete it was also inevitable that people would start asking what time I expected to do, so I figured I better come up with one. I looked at my old PR from 2004 and it was 2:16 something and then the first half of the marathon I did in march and it was 2:14, so I thought 2:10 would be a good goal to shoot for and coach B agreed :-).

So race morning arrives and it's 38 degrees out, I have no clue what to wear since it hadn't been that cold here in a year. So I knew shorts and gloves, and decided on a short sleeve shirt and sweat shirt on top with ear warmers. Got to the race site half hour early, parked and did a short warmup jog. Felt good and warm. so on to the race.

mile 1 and 2 19:29 - 9:45 / mile
Didn't see the 1 mile mark, so first time I knew I was running a tad fast was mile 2. I felt good, was holding back and wasn't pushing so I figured, just keep going at this pace. I took off the ear warmers at the 1/2 mile mark and the sweat shirt at mile 1.25, had no idea it was 1.25, but found out later when I went to pick it up.

mile 3 9:42 - 29:12 - 9:44 / mile
still feeling good, a few hills start appearing, but nothing bad. People are still packed all around me, but hillsboro street is accomadating us with no problem. My breathing is fine, must be in zone 3.

mile 4 9:48 - 39:01 - 9:45 / mile
coming up on a gel stop for me, plan is mile 4 and 8, take a gel before the water stop, then grab a water and walk for about 1 minute to get the gel and water down. This water stop is much better than the last, the mass of people has spread out more and it's much easier to get in and out without running into or getting run over by the herd.

mile 5 10:16 - 49:17 - 9:51 / mile
The hills are starting now and that combined with my 1 minute walk break slowed the pace, but still on track as 9:55 is the goal and I feel really good. I know the next few miles are going to be rolling, so my idea is to keep 9:55 - 10:00 minute pace, then hopefully pickup a few seconds towards the end.

mile 6 9:55 - 59:13 - 9:52 / mile
Yes there are hills on this course and the long uphill journey back has begun. No problems on the hills so far, but I lost the lady I had been pacing with for the last 2 miles on one of the tougher ones. Leg strength is solid, get a little winded on the steep parts, but recover quickley when it levels off.

mile 7 9:53 - 1:09:06 - 9:52 / mile
Very happy to be maintaining this pace as it's not a labor yet. We are heading towards cameron village and I remember the next hill from the YWCA halloween run I used to do. It's not pretty...

mile 8 9:58 - 1:19:04 - 9:53 / mile
This was the toughest mile so far, I think it was all uphill. I am very happy to maintain under 10 for this one and since I know a gel/water/walk break is just ahead I pick it up a little to try to offset the next miles pace, seeing new faces now as that last mile took it's toll on the group I had been with.

mile 9 10:27 - 1:29:32 - 9:56 / mile
The walk break was perfectly placed far enough from the top of the hill so that I could eat the gel, drink my 8 oz of water, and walk for 40 seconds before the downhill section. Great placement :-)

mile 10 9:52 - 1:39:24 - 9:56 / mile
Now the hard uphills are done, at least that's what I thought at the time... forshadowing, Made it through the neigborhoods, and although it was the hardest part of the course, I like it the most as the people were out in numbers and very supportive of all the runner's. There were some drummers beating a rythm and several people losing their voices as they cheered us on. I think spectator support really carried me through this section on goal pace.

mile 11 9:53 - 1:49:18 - 9:56 / mile
This mile was really tough, I ran by my sweatshirt and thought to pick it up, but decided I didn't want to carry it for 3 miles and would drive by later to get it. It was around there were the nausia kicked in for the first time. This was a gradual uphill false flat and I was trying to get back to 9:45 pace, but I think I over did it. I slowed the pace and about 5 mins later the feeling went away. I picked it back up just a little so I wouldn't barf all over the place and forgot about it. I was still right on track thinking the last mile I could make up the time to break 2:10.

mile 12 9:53 - 1:59:12 - 9:56 / mile
I was barely hanging on to this pace when finally we started to go downhill again. woohoo. I picked it up slightly, but not too much for the second half or it would have been closer to 10. One girl running along stopped to inform me my shirt was on backwards, I told her it was on purpose to remind me, pause to breath and she inserted her own finish "that you got up early?" I was going to tell her the real reason when her running partners watch went off and they stopped for a walk break. Too bad as they were running just slightly faster than me and it would have been nice to pace off of them for a while. The real reason is because it reminds me I want to get a PR for this race and to run faster.

mile 13 10:11 - 2:09:23 - 9:57 / mile
This mile sucked! no other way to put it. I knew I had one mile to go and I knew I was right on pace if I could just hammer out a 9:55 I would have no problem breaking 2:10. But it was uphill the whole freakin mile. I passed a group of spectators talking amongst themselves that is was less than 1/2 mile to the finish so I looked at my watch and I had 4:50 to go until 2:10, so I picked it up a little. Just before the turn onto the finishing stretch I had to slow down a little or my grapenuts, powerbar, and two gels would be all over the road and I figured that would slow me down more than just slowing down a little. turned onto the finish stretch and saw the 26 mile sign for the marathon so I knew I had .2 to go. looked at my watch and it said 2:07:58. That means I got 2 minutes, no problem. I pick up the pace again and I know I am doing around 9 min pace.

mile 13.1 :53 - 2:10:17 - 9:56 / mile
So I see the 13 mile marker and I start the finishing kick, my coach is beside me on her bike yelling for me and I can see the finish right up ahead, someone I think Salman yells go Bill from the other side, I want to go faster, but I think I'm going to die so I just keep up the current pace, where the heck is that finish? I think I started the kick early, but finally there it is.

Didn't quite make the 2:10 goal, but PR'd by a bunch, so it was a great race. especially since I didn't really train specifically for it :-). That last mile really got me. I should have checked out the course before hand so I would have know what to expect, but such is life :-)

Hopefully this race will make it in Raleigh as there was a lot of support from the public and a good turnout. I definetly recommend the 1/2 marathon, the second half of the marathon looks really tough, so not a PR course, but the scenary is great.

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