Poignant Irrelevance

Monday, July 05, 2010

Half Marathon

On Sunday morning a buddy and I lined up in the starting chute for a half marathon. The dew point was low to mid-70s, temp was about 80, and the clouds were ominous! My hands felt so sticky just standing there waiting for the thing to start.

This race ended up being the most difficult non-marathon road race I've ever finished. Dang it was tough. The humidity and the heat, combined with the elevation (and timing of the elevation changes), and the torrential rain during some parts of the race all contributed. At some points it was a little hard to breathe because the rain was so heavy that it was impeding my nostrils.

My goal was to run with the 1:45 pacer in order to qualify for the first corral of the marathon in October. I ended up finishing in 1:47, although we all think this course was measuring long. I usually don't bring that sort of thing up, but 1) even the pacer made a point of saying he thought the course was long and his watched measured 13.28 miles (I had 13.33, and I think shawn had it at 13.3?), and 2) this was a brand new race / course.

My garmin had my avg pace at 8:00, official pace was around 8:10, and that compares to a 15.5 mile race last September with a pace of around 7:35. Nonetheless I finished in the top 11% of all racers, and top quartile (~22%) of men in my age division. I'm kind of saying those stats out loud to myself so I don't beat myself up too badly for not being able to hit my goal.

The elevation really kicked in during my 7, and I had lost the pacer by mile 8. I fought in the next couple of miles to get the pacer back into view, but in reality he was probably at least 30-45 seconds ahead of me with only 2-3 miles left. I ran mile 10 in 7:36, and my cumulative average pace improved by only 4 seconds at most. At this point I knew I had not the distance nor the strength to claw my way back to the pacer.

Compared to the chicago marathon in '07, this race gets a difficulty rating of 7.5 to 8, and chicago gets a 10 out of 10. You can't really compare the distances, but I can compare the way I felt.

My goal from now until the marathon is to make a real, concerted effort on the nutritional front. Eating poorly, and my lack of willpower in making the wrong choices with my diet even knowing all that I know, are not just my biggest weaknesses as it relates to training, but quite frankly this issue could be my biggest weakness as a human being. I struggle with it every single day.


  • Yeah, I also had 13.32. I couldn't help but notice the similarities between our graphs, and the way the course impacted our pace. Check out the side by side:


    By Blogger Shawn, at 3:33 PM  

  • Wow, with that kind of rain you might as well have been in a triathlon!

    By Blogger gingersnapper, at 6:52 AM  

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