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.

7 comments:

She Who Makes Waves said...

Congratulations on your race!

Sorry about the not qualifying for New York! Other than that, it sounds like your race was a pretty decent experience!

If that San Antonio race is one of those Rock & Roll deals, I will be curious to read your post on that!

Laurel said...

Congrats on the race.

I love the half distance as well. It's always fun.

I totally agree with all your learnt lessons. I had a friend who never double-knotted her shoes and she was CONSTANTLY stopping to retie them. Drove me nuts!

johnking said...

bert,
glad to see you rocked the flats in the half. im a big fan of them in short races. just take a bottle of frozen water and rull it under the feet until you cant stand it anymore. Congrats man and keep the training positive!

atrusni said...

Half marathon?!?!

Wow, I barely make a 10k. I do not know if I could ever reach that mark!

web.me.com/amaurydeleon

Amy said...

Great race Bert! There is always something new to learn with every race, isn't there? But you still had a great time and hopefully a NYC qualifying time in San Antonio. Good luck!

Vegan_Noodle said...

The half marathon is such a great distance... so much kinder on your joints than a full!

The weather sounds like it was perfect... bummer about not hitting the qualifying time, but it sounds like you learned some valuable lessons!

Go Annie said...

Congratulations Bert on a great race! It sounds like you learned a lot about when to push your pace. Good luck in San Antonio. I hope you qualify for NYC!