Monday, February 20, 2012

Hampton Half Marathon Race Report

In the Nut Shell:
1:29:12! This was a huge PR for me. That's the short race report.

Pre-Race Week:
Like almost every single race I run, the week leading up to the Hampton HM was crazy. Emily got this conjunctivitis, then spiked a high fever, which spurned some testing, which told us she had a white blood cell count triple the norm. Then there was more testing...Little miss is just fine now, but wow, did she stress us out. And of course, 48 hours before race time Kaylee lovingly gave me this chest cold. Given the circumstances, I had no idea what to expect for this race.

The race turned out to be awesome (even though I had no motivation going into it).

Race Day:
Nick stayed with the kids. (Thanks hon!) And my parents kindly drove me to the race. I'm more than capable of driving myself, but races are always more special when you get to share them with loved ones so having my parents there to cheer me on was great. The weather was perfect (for February in New England). Sunny, no breeze, and 40 degrees. My plan was to run the first mile and just see how it went. I figured I'd come up with a game plan in real-time.

The race started and I ran. Once I started, I felt good. I crossed the first mile at 6:36, which was too fast, but I felt comfortable. I adjusted my pace and my second mile was 6:52, maybe a little too slow. By the third mile, I realized there was a group of about six guys running just ahead of me that were aiming for just under 6:50 pace. They were clearly running the race as a training run. At that point, I decided to hang onto that group. And hang on I did. I stepped on some of their heels by mistake a few times, but they almost spit on me more than once, so it was all good. I couldn't really talk with them, but listening was fun. At some point someone in the crowd yelled "you go girl!" and then "take care of her guys, she's number 4!" They yelled back "we're on it!" So every once in a while someone in the group would say "how are you doing number 4?" This interaction really helped me mentally stay in the race. Some miles felt easy, others felt hard, but I just hung on.

Somewhere around mile 10 the group split up. Three of the guys wanted to pick it up. Three guys were waning. At that point, I wound up in the middle and on my own. A small part of me wonders if I could have hung onto the faster three if I hadn't known they were running faster. Mentally, it is always better to try and run with others. Once I was on my own, my pace did slow a bit. Not horribly, but I did lose about 15 seconds, which would have gotten me under 1:29 (had I not slowed). I ran the last 0.1 at 6:18 pace, crossed the finish, and smiled. It was an amazing race. I ran strong from start to finish, and that's all I'm ever really looking for when I race. A four minute PR was nice too.

Lesson Learned:
You never how a race will go until you run it. I didn't believe that I'd be able to break 1:30 with a chest cold. Chest colds are particularly problematic with my asthma. Today my ribs and stomach muscles are extremely sore, and I'm sure it has something to do with breathing heavy during the race. I am beginning to understand that, although this whole asthma thing is a huge pain in the butt, if I play my cards right it doesn't have to slow me down...

Race Stats:
1:29:12 (6:49 pace)
4th overall female out of 770
44th overall out of 1326


Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

Loved the report! Huge congrats! And yes, this is how I raced my best HM as well. Run the fist mile and see how you feel. You can take risks at the HM. I can't wait for Quincy because I think you are going to get another PR> If I remember correctly Hampton is a long course, Quincy is more exact and an easier course. Yes, keep smiling. And fingers crossed everyone stays healthy!

SSB said...

great race! Congrats!

Raina said...

Katie, I loved every detail of this race report! Fantastic execution and I enjoy reading your thoughts on racing in a group. (I am not sure I ever have done that- except Boston!)
What a well earned PR! And you are so right- you never know what you will do on race day.
Sorry about the cold. Imagine what you can do without! SO looking forward to how you race the next half and Providence :)
Enjoy some RnR- you deserve it!!

Katie said...

Thanks ladies!

@AM: I don't think it was long this year. My Garmin read 13.2 rather than the 13.4 last year. They did change the start a bit...

@Raina: In high school, one of my teammates and I were evenly matched and we often ran races together. It really made a huge difference. We often supported each other. I'm not sure I've ever experienced that in a road race before Sunday. Generally, it's hard to find people running the same pace...

Jenn said...

I was searching online for results for this race on Sunday!! So excited to see how awesome you did!! Great report! I like those real time gameplans and these have often times worked better for me. Super congrats on such a super race in less than super circumstances!

Raina said...

:) Well, we always start off in a mass, but things usually thin out. Having a person of same pace would be awesome. Hope you are getting better :)

AmyC @ running escapades said...

That is an awesome story and performance! Congratulations! I thought it was a really fun race =)

Tina @GottaRunNow said...

Congrats on a fast race and a PR, too! It's great to see that asthma doesn't slow you down!

Kat (Eating The Week) said...

Hot damn, you're fast! Even w/out asthma, I couldn't get near that time. Congrats on your PR!

Loved the part about pacing w/the group of guys. Random camaraderie is one of my favorite things about races.

lindsay said...

Glad Emily is ok! The group of guys sounds awesome - especially for "taking care" of you. Congrats on the PR and holding onto 4th place!

kristen said...

Congratulations on the PR and great race!

I had a race in the fall that had me thinking "ugh, if i had just hung on to that guy..." but I'm not as speedy as you :)

Hope you're recovering well!

Pam said...

Way to go! Congrats on the PR.