Monday, March 18, 2013

New Bedford HM RR (1:25:59)

New Bedford wasn't on my racing plan, but the Hampton half was cancelled due to poor weather. Even then, it wasn't necessarily the next half I would have chosen, but it turned out my parents were running it. And I love going to races with my parents. Also, they bribed me with promises of a St. Paddy's day dinner at their place afterwards, and who could say no to that?

In honor of it being St. Patrick's day and all, I decided to paint my nails, which only happens for particularly special can see the result over on the left. (As a side note, I honestly don't know how people can paint their nails all the time. I do it maybe three times a year, and every time I find it extremely annoying.)

Race day was great. I met my parents at their place, and then we went down to the race together. I found one of my best running friends from college, Amy, almost by accident and was able to run a warm up with her and her teammates from Whirlaway, which was awesome. I find running a warm up with a group to be relaxing before a race. Maybe it reminds me of college cross-country. We finished our 2 mile warm up about 10-15 minutes before the start. We dropped off our layers and only waited maybe 5 minutes before the race started. This was a fairly sizable race, and we couldn't quite push our way to the front, but after about 400 meters or so we were moving at a good clip. We passed the first mile at 6:12. Too fast. A race start like this is difficult though. Sometimes it's almost better to go out a little faster, rather than going out at your designated pace where you'll spend more energy weaving around people. Somewhere around here Amy had to drop over to the side to tie her shoe. She eventually caught up to me (and finished a minute ahead of me). The girl is like the energizer bunny! Anyway, the first mile wasn't my fastest, so I don't think I necessarily went out too fast.

I never quite felt in control of the race though. You can see my splits below, and they're all over the place. Some of that has to do with the hills. I'm sure if you looked at my splits against an elevation map you'd find that that the faster splits were downhill. During some miles the wind was irritating, but then the course would turn down a road and the the wind would be gone. So it wasn't constant. After mile 7, I was really having trouble hanging tough. I vurped a few times...going off track here, but have you ever seen "Wreck It Ralph"?

It's a cool ode to video games movie. There's a go-cart racer in the movie named Vanellope von Schweetz. At one point she's getting ready to race and she tells Ralph that she's "so nervous she's thinks she's going to vurp, you know when some vomit mixes with a burp and rises up."

Somewhere around mile 7, I started vurping my gel, which has never happened to me before. I decided against taking a second gel. Also, I didn't wear my hydration belt, but I still can't actually get water from a cup into my mouth while I run. I did attempt it at almost every water station, and failed miserably. It's sort of embarrassing, and borderline ridiculous. Around here, I also wound up with a side stitch, but nothing that I couldn't run through. I'm not sure if it was poor hydration or poor spirit, but by mile 10 I was starting to wane. The picture to the right is a fair depiction of how I felt...

When I crossed the 10 mile mark I was running an average pace of 6:28. The next 3 miles were tough, as they always are in a half marathon, but I don't usually slow down so much. My mile 11 and 12 splits were awful. 12-13 was awful too, but there was a fairly long hill there, so I can cut myself some slack for that.

The mile 10, 11, and 12 splits are bothering me. Something wasn't right there. Either I went out too fast, something wasn't right with the hydration stuff, or I let myself give in...I'd like to study my HR splits, but I wore the Polar HR strap and I can't get my HR splits unless I connect to their site and download the data from my watch. I haven't been able to do that yet. It's a little frustrating because you can view your HR splits on the Garmin without having to connect it to a computer. Anyway, I'd like to get that information and see if I glean something from it.

I did get my average heart rate from the Polar watch, which was 162. The watch is claiming that 162 is 87% of what it calculates my maximum HR should be. So now I'm wondering what percentage of your maximum HR is one suppose to be at when they run a half marathon? (Feel free to throw in your 2 cents if you train by heart rate. I'd love to know what others think on the subject.)

While my 10, 11, 12, and 13 mile splits were bad, my last 0.1 was fast. I saw the clock, and knew there was still a chance I could break 1:26 if I hauled it in. My official chip time wound up being 1:25:59, which is a ginormous PR for me. And so, it was a great day. Not to mention that I got to see so many running friends, and many of them ran well too. Another college friend, Justin, ran a PR. My co-worker, Rachel, ran a PR. And, of course, Amy, who wound up with an official chip time of 1:25:01! And she stopped to tie her shoe!

The rest of the day was awesome. I ran back to find my parents on course, and ran with them to the finish. I wound up with 19.5 miles for the day. I had wanted to run 20, but we also walked almost a mile to and from where we parked the car, and I was standing from 10:00 to 1:30, so good enough.

Back at my parents place, Nick and the kids were waiting for us. We ate our corn-beef and cabbage, and whoopie pies, and just had a great time. Overall, a great day! Huge thanks to Nick for watching the kids all day, and to my parents for driving me to the race AND making dinner!

Now there's Boston to think about...

NB HM Splits
Mile 1: 6:12
Mile 2: 6:31
Mile 3: 6:44
Mile 4: 6:33
Mile 5: 6:17
Mile 6: 6:17
Mile 7: 6:08
Mile 8: 6:29
Mile 9: 6:30
Mile 10: 6:39
Mile 11: 6:47
Mile 12: 6:45
Mile 13: 6:54
Last .1: 5:40


Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

Loved reading this. You ran a really strong race and seems to me that you brought the suffering up to another level. Mile 13 is a tough hill I hear, so the fact that you ran that pace shows that you stayed tough! I think the "all over splits" show that you ran by effort - the hills and the wind made the splits to be uneven. So, funny fact - you ran the exact time that McMillan predicted based on your 18:34 5K, to the second. I continue to be so impressed with your progress this year. It is absolutely crazy, and I love watching it! Oh,and I have no doubt that your HR in the last 3 miles is going to be your highest:) No doubt you gave it your all, Katie, you always do!

Michael said...

Congrats on the new PR Katie! I had no doubt. BTW, 10, 11 & 12 had a good headwind and 13 had a good hill. No need to look any further than that for answers to those splits. :)

Karen said...

Great job on gutting it out, hilly courses are frustrating to try and get even splits on. I usually underestimate the wind too. That is a fantastic PR!! Congrats!

I'm so with you on the nail painting thing too. I hate when it starts to chip too. So much work for this low maintenance girl.

Raina said...

You are just getting so incredibly fast Katie!! I am constantly inspired by your improving race times. Congrats on the huge PR :)

Also, it would seem you were in the right heart rate zone, if that number is right for your max. LT zone is 80-92% HRMax.

sea legs girl said...

Awesome race and thank for giving me a new goal ;o)!!

I was really interested by the fact that you were mad about slowing the last three miles. It seemed to me that if you didn't slow down the last 3 miles, that would mean you started too slowly.

So I looked up the splits of the female world record in the half marathon and she slowed throughout the race, mostly in the last 5k. Check out the details here:

Katie said...

@AM: I did notice that I ran what my 5K predicted within 1 second. I'm not sure what that means for the marathon though. Typically I'm 5 minutes slower in the marathon than the predictors, but I'm also usually slower from the 5K to the half...

@Michael: So I looked at your splits, and I'll buy that 12 & 13 must have been more difficult miles as your splits significantly slowed there, but your splits look just fine for miles 10 & 11... :P

@Karen: I hate chipping nail polish! And I hate the way it smells in general! I will say that the metallic green color looks pretty cool though.

@Raina: Thanks for HR info...I need to look into heart rate more. I don't train by HR because my legs are weaker than my heart. For example, yesterday I ran 11 miles at 8:25ish. I barely sweat, and my HR was too low for a reasonable training run, but my left Achilles was tight, so 8:25 pace it was. I would like to know what I should see in races though...

@Sea Legs Girl: Glad to provide the motivation. ;) Thanks for the link. I agree that if I hadn't slowed at all (or if I had run faster) then it could mean I went out too slow, but if you slow down too much then you're not running your best either. I think my last 4 miles were too slow, though after looking at some others' splits, it might just be miles 10 and 11...It seems miles 12 and 13 were legitimately hard for others too, but still even if was just miles 10 and 11 that could have been 30 seconds...

Michael said...

Hehe. That's just because I over extended myself trying to push through the wind and move up through the field during miles 10 & 11. By the time I hit mile 12 I was toast and gave back all those spots and then some.

Tia said...

Great race!!! Wow- some of those splits are CRAZY fast!! seriously. You are READY for Boston!!

Alicia said...

That's an awesome PR, congrats.

So did you not manage to take in any water at all during the whole race?? Don't most gels need water to be asorbed properly? Maybe you were feeling rough at miles 10-11 because the gel never digested and so you never got any benefit from it?

I train by HR but I'm the opposite of you--my heart is stronger than my legs. My average HR for my October marathon was 87%, but I did have a bad couple of miles between mile 21 and 24, so maybe I would have been better off in the low 80%s...

Katie said...

@Alicia: Actually that's what I was saying, I can't seem to force my legs to work hard enough to get my HR where it's suppose to be during training. So my heart is stronger than my legs too. No, I was not able to drink anything, so certainly not enough for a gel to be absorbed. I definitely have to figure out the whole hydration thing, which pretty much means I need to run with a hydration belt.

Alicia said...

Oh right, I get it now:)

Okay then I am definitely voting for lack of fuel as the reason for the "slow" (I can't bring myself to call 6:45 pace slow) miles! How about a friendly support crew person to hand you a bottle with a squeeze top somewhere along the way, that you could drink out of and throw away?

Michael said...

Katie - Have you tried pinching the top of the dixie cup and just taking small sips? Works for me. Every time.

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

Katie, I am volunteering to be your water gal at Boston. Maybe Nick can be at a different spot. We can give you squeeze bottles with water or gatorade (or whatever) that you can just throw away. And maybe you can carry a handheld for the first part of the race. The water stops at Boston are crazy...I am like you, I have to wear a water belt, otherwise I can't drink. Plus, I hate stopping to get water, it takes me out of my groove..

Healthy Ambitions said...

First, congrats on a great race after so much training. You get faster and faster! As for nail polish, I always see other women with nicely painted nails and then I go to do it and one swim and they are chipped to pieces and look like hell so for the most part I have given up except for special occasions. I can not drink water at stations without spilling all over myself or coming to a complete stop to get it in- never figured it out. As for heart rate, I think I must be the opposite because my HR seems to be high when I run no matter what. Again, congrats on an amazing race- very inspirational. I can not imagine a 1/2 running 6 and change mile splits!

Raina said...

I see what you mean. It is often the same for me. I don't train exclusively by HR, but if my legs are not feeling it, I go to recovery heart rate- and that gives a huge window. It doesn't make sense to try to run at the easy heart rate if it means your legs won't recover.
And for races, I rarely look at HR during them, but analyze after. During the race I just want to go as hard as I can maintain. Legs should feel fresh! :) I combine the heart rate reserve formula zones with pace training (for, say, race pace)- at times.
That said, whatever you are doing in training is working for you- so keep doing it!!!!!!

Katie said...

@Michael: Yeah, I was pinching the dixie cup top. I still don't get anything in my mouth. :(

@AM: That would be amazing! I think I'll wear my hydration belt, but it would be awesome if I could switch out water bottles somewhere in the middle. Nick will have to be with the kids. My parents will be picking me up at the finish, but I have no idea if they'll be able to be out in the middle of course (if they're picking me up). If you met me somewhere in the middle and swapped my bottles you could probably still run a bunch of the race with Amanda. ;)

@Healthy Ambitions: Thanks! I love hearing that others can't drink from a cup and run at the same time! I'm so jealous when I'm racing and seeing all these people speeding by and drinking water at the same time. Grrr.

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

@Katie, absolutely! I am not pacing Amanda this year, just hanging out with Jenn and cheering! Very easy for me to run a bit with you and exchange bottles!

Jacqueline said...

I can't run and drink from a cup, either. I've tried so many times, and tried to pinch the cup, etc., but it never works.

Nice race, and congrats on the PR!

I don't love the data review on the Polar itself and am way, way too lazy to ever plug it in to the computer.

Christie said...

I enjoy following your training. Congrats on a speedy race. I have the same consuming water while running problem... ends up everywhere but my mouth.

With the gels, I have found the watered down gels, like Powerbar, agree with my stomach better while running without liquids.

lindsay said...

Love the nails! Never have the patience for it myself. Plus I end up putting it on too think and then later in boredom peel it off in one piece... Congrats on the PR!

chris mcpeake said...

Way to go. Congrats on the new PR