Saturday, 22 February 2014

Race Report: First Half Half Marathon 2014

Chip Time - 1:28:15 [PB]
Overall - 143 / 1,927
Div M45-49 - 19 / 126
Men - 121 / 875
Shoes - Brooks Pure Flow 2

Unexpected entry. Unexpected weather. Unexpected result.

I missed the original sign-up when First Half Half Marathon sold out (as usual) in the fall so wasn’t even sure I was going to run it. Fortunately I’ve been feeling good and Andrea’s entry came available for me to buy a couple weeks prior.

Leading up to the race weather reports were not looking good for Sunday morning. Wind and rain were being called for and I was psychologically preparing for a chilly start, if not a stormy race, especially near the water. (Fortunately I had just purchased my Mizuno sleeves when I picked up my race package from Forerunners!)

Last year I ran my PB of 1:33:45 at the First Half. With my decent Seattle Marathon finish in December and some playing about on the McMillan Calculator I figured I could beat that time, maybe by a couple of minutes. I printed off a visualization I keep at my desk and I had a 4:15/km (1:30 finish) pace as best case scenario and a 4:21/km (1:32 finish) as a more realistic goal. Training had been going great, getting lots of miles and speed was definitely improving.

I ran from my place about 4k to the Roundhouse for my warm-up and was feeling ready to roll. A few minutes visiting with all the running buds, warming-up, last-minute gel and water and we were out to the start line.

Turns out race morning wasn’t raining, and by race start it was actually starting to clear a bit. Only concern now seemed to be how windy it would be around the park.

Unlike last year, I made sure I was in the crowd and up closer to the front by race time. I figured I would go out fairly strong and moderate once I got a feel for it. A 4:06 on the first km and I was a little concerned, quicker than even my best case 4:15/km race pace. Ah well, see how I feel at 2km, a 4:09…   reign it in a bit, Dawg. There’s a small incline leading up into KM3 which brought me down to a 4:24 which seemed reasonable at the time.

I kept clicking off the sub-4:15 km’s and, feeling great, and throwing caution to the wind, decided to see if I could hold on to it. Hell, this wasn’t my goal race so if it fell apart at least I gave it a shot!

Nice to see Rob volunteering around the 8km mark and he snapped this “way too happy” photo.

At 10k I had a quick look at my watch and realized I’d just PB’d my 10k race time by about 12 seconds (42:24). Hmm? How will the second half of this race play out?

At halfway I was still feeling great and holding on to my pace. It was good to even start dropping a few runners as we headed around the West side of the sea wall. I managed to find a couple groups along the way that I would draft behind to avoid the wind and then get past and find the next group.

2nd Beach Pool and Greg 2.0’s smiling face and high-five kept me going heading in to the gravel path around Lost Lagoon. I was surprised to find myself knocking down a 4:02, 4:04 and 4:01(19k) this late in the race and still feeling good.

The last few km’s have the only significant hills but their pretty short. I dropped down to a 4:18 for that last km, before hitting the really enjoyable downhill along David Lam Park to the finish line. I knew I was racing well and in the last few km figured I could hit the 1:30 mark but I was genuinely surprised to come in at a 1:28!

Nice to see so many friends out running and get a chance to visit while chowing down on the plentiful post-race food that First Half puts out every year.

All in all, a really great day for a fun race. Kudos to the volunteers, organizers and sponsors who make it possible!

Photo by Greg Herringer on flickr

Immortalized - Forerunners fridge magnet

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