Saturday, September 03, 2011

Salt Lake Half Marathon and Relay - the PR that got away

Perfect weather this morning for a half marathon. It was in the low 50s at the start (maybe 10-12C?), and my fingers were pretty cold until about mile 3 when they started to warm up nicely. By the finish, it was warm but not uncomfortably so, at about 65F (18C). I was feeling good, too, with legs just a tad sore from this long week. I've done a lot of km this week - the most ever in a week, I believe, at 94.7km. That's 58.9 miles. Wow. No wonder my legs are sore! But otherwise I'm feeling good and feeling strong. Also of note - I did 202 miles in August (325 km), which is also a record total for me for a month. Sarah and I drove to Research Park (the finish) and left my car there, and then drove her car to the start. It was great to see her and catch up and enjoy a morning run/racewalk with her. She is doing the marathon with me in a few weeks, and it's her first one. She's been training so hard and I'm so impressed with what she has done. It's great to be able to share this part of my life with my friend :).
We warmed up a bit to stave off the morning chill, and we both remarked on our cold fingers! The start was about 1000ft (300m or so) higher than the valley, so it was cold up there. Soon the race was underway. I was supposed to do this race at 85% effort, and I think that's what I did, more or less. My ave HR was 150, which is less than 85%, but with the uphill and the downhill my LEGS gave an 85% effort even if my lungs didn't need to.
This race is hilly and beautiful, too - it goes UP Little Mountain, starting at the Mountain Dell Golf Course, and then down Emigration Canyon and through Research Park to finish at the Research Park Marriott Hotel. It's 4 miles of UP and then 8 miles DOWN and one mile flat/slight uphill to the finish. I was a bit intimidated by the hills, as I've done little hill training this year, but they proved to be no problem. I managed a 6:36/km pace for the first 4 miles (6.44km) and was happy with that - they were big hills. I passed LOTS of runners going up the hill, but lots of runners passed me going back down the other side. That flight phase helps the runners on the downhill for sure, whereas I can increase turnover and get a bit more stride length but am limited by keeping one foot on the ground.
I felt really good and pushed on the downhill when it came, doing mile 5 in 8:27! After that I was a little slower, doing mostly low-mid 9-min miles, until mile 11. I had some cramping and GI distress by the aid station at Ruth's Diner (the 2nd relay exchange for the relay runners) and considered using the port-a-potty there. However, there was only one port-a-potty and three or four people in line, so I figured I could make it. After all, there was only 5K to go. By mile 11 I knew I was in trouble. There is a park at the mouth of the canyon across from the zoo, and there is a restroom there. However, it's back a bit from the road so I had to walk about a minute to get there; add 2 minutes in the restroom and it was approximately a 4 to 4-and-a-half minute detour :(. The mile before my stop I did a 9:30, and the mile after the stop I did a bit faster (last 1.1 in 9:35 - is that possible? I think the mile marker was off), but the mile of the stop took 13:49. Ouch. So probably 4 min 19 seconds or so were lost, or at least 4 minutes. Bummer. Big bummer. I would have PR'd big time (probably by a minute or so) if not for the stop. I pushed hard to the finish, comfortably hard, but still hard, and frustrated by the stop. Oh well. This was a training walk, not a race, so the time was mostly irrelevant. I say mostly because of course I like to have a PR as much as anyone. Still, it shows that I am in fantastic shape and as fast as I've ever been. Assuming my GI system holds up and that I don't have any other major issues, I should be able to PR in the Top of Utah Marathon in two weeks. Yup, it's only two weeks away.
Total time 2:10:49 for 6:12/km (drat...was averaging a 6:03 before I had to use the restroom) with ave HR 150. Garmin connect data here. Oh, and more photos here!


Harriet said...

Still, good job on the half marathon. You are very fit and doing what I've never done: 50+ "quality" miles per week.

Sorry about the GI issues; keep those under control and a marathon walk PR is yours.

Tammy said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Ollie. I appreciate it! It means a lot to have that coming from you - I admire your fitness and your work ethic :).

Nyle said...

sorry for the GI troubles. Its always hard to know exactly how our bodies are going to react the next day from the food the day before.

I think you did an awesome job in this walk. 85% and you blitzed it. I cant wait to hear how you go in the Marathon when you are unleashed at 100%, I know you will totally ROCK it.

Get that GRRRRR rumbling and know we are all cheering for you.