In honor of it being St. Patrick's day and all, I decided to paint my nails, which only happens for particularly special races...you 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."
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