A blog about running in the Houston area with notes about diet, cross-training and weight loss. Incidental topics include USA and African travel, vegan cooking, movies, books, and bird-watching.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Half the distance and twice the fun
The half marathon is becoming my favorite distance. Today's Koala/Luke's Houston Half Marathon was challenging but fun and I am already thinking about tomorrow's run. Had this been a full marathon, it would have taken me at least a week to recover.
My time of 1:41:57 (7:46 pace) was pretty good under the circumstances, and actually a bit better than anticipated. Even so, a rookie mistake (forced stop to re-tie shoelaces), an unscheduled port-a-pottie stop and some dubious race planning resulted in me possibly missing a New York Marathon qualifying time. The first two issues resulted in a very slow start (8:01 first mile and 8:37 second mile). The race planning, which was to keep my heart rate around 150 or so for the first 10 miles, and to then accelerate if I had anything left, worked fine but left me too little distance to make up for the slow start. From miles 3 to 9 my average pace was about 7:40. Mile 10 was 7:25, Mile 11 a brisk 7:08 and Mile 12 still good at 7:18. The most telling statistics are the first and second half splits: first half was 8:08 average pace (ranked 24th); the second half average pace was 7:29 which put me in the #11 rank in my age group for that part of the race.
Although my average heart rate increased to 163 over the last 3 miles, I think I clearly had it in me today to run 7:40 average pace over the entire distance. Lessons learnt:
1) avoid an overly slow start 2) double tie your shoelaces BEFORE the start 3) start to push the pace a little sooner, if you're clearly feeling good and conditions are favorable.
A negative split is fine but not to the point where it undercuts your overall time.
Random notes: * It was fun running with Cortney, a vegan buddie whom I bumped into around Mile 4 or so. We ran together until Mile 10. * Very good weather - not overly humid and about 55F at the start. * As always, a well organized run - good job Houston Striders! Nice design on the technical finisher's shirt. * The racing flats experiment was a success. My left calf is a little tight tonight but otherwise no damage.
The bottom line: a fun and rewarding half marathon run. I'm a little miffed with myself for missing an opportunity to qualify for New York, but this gives me a lot of confidence for the next attempt which will be in San Antonio on Nov 16, weather permitting.
I am a veteran runner who started running as a lark in high school and have never stopped. I have run 15 marathons, the last one of which was the 2009 Boston Marathon. My other interests include the movies, cooking, travel (the business that I'm in), opera and birding, although I do not have as much time for it as I used to.