Sunday, September 16, 2012

Race Report: DSE Lake Merced Half Marathon, #17

I ran my 17th Half Marathon this morning, in my 3rd fastest time. I couldn't be happier. This was part 2 of my first official Goofy training run; part 1 was 4 miles yesterday. Here are the stats, followed by the full race report.

Stats (from Garmin):

  • Finish Time = 2:25:18
  • Overall Place = 134/147
  • Gender Place = 34/41
  • AG Place = 6/6
  • Avg Pace - Overall = 11:05
  • Avg Pace - Loops = 11:18 - 10:59 - 11:00
  • Avg Pace - Half = 11:12 - 10:59
  • Avg Pace - Miles = 11:32 - 11:19 - 11:28 - 10:55 - 11:13 - 10:46 - 10:58 - 10:58 - 11:08 - 11:43 - 10:38 - 10:53 - 10:55 - 9:37 (.1 in 53s)
This was another one of DSE's low key races, which I've come to really enjoy. There was no shirt or medal, although all finishers receive ribbons, but for $10 is a great way to get in long millage with support and meet local runners.

The race was held at Lake Merced, just outside of San Francisco, so there were some transportation logistic to deal with. Jason ran it as part of his 23 miler, so he ran the 8 miles to the race. I took the bus, which was 20 minutes late. Yes, I was freaking out a bit, but I had chosen to take an earlier than needed bus just in case this happened. Instead of trying to switch buses and risking the connecting bus being late too, I took one bus further and then ran 1.5 mile to the race as a warm up. I made it there with about 15 minutes to spare, which was perfect. Oh, did I mention I had to run with a backpack so we'd have something to change into for the bus ride home? Otherwise I'd have to put up with the unimaginable smell that is Jason after a run. It wasn't much of an issue.

It was of course cold and foggy when I left the apartment and for most of the run. I wore a running skirt with knee high socks, a tank top under my Half Fanatic short sleeve shirt, arm warmers and gloves. I had windbreaker pants and jacket over this for the bus ride there and the warm up, then stashed them in the bag to change into after the race. Even though I don't think the temp raised much above 60ยบ during the race, I shed the gloves early on, the arm warmers probably during the 2nd loop, and the shirt during the last loop. I was really glad I had worn a tank top under it. I wasn't super hot, but the breeze felt great with less clothes on when I was working so hard during the last loop.

The course was 3 loops on the 4.5 mile path around Lake Merced (with a wooden bridge crossing on the 3rd loop to make it 4.1), which I really liked. It reminded me a bit of the Ocala Marathon, except this was actually flatter ha! The nice thing about doing a loop 3 times, you know exactly what to expect after the first loop and have consistent aid stations. My plan was to take it easy on the first loop while maintaining slightly negative splits, edge the average pace towards sub-11 min/mi on the 2nd loop, and then give it everything I had left for the last 4.1 miles.

I stuck to a 90s/30s interval (aka 3/1 ratio) for most of it, adjusting for the downhills because I won't waste gravity, and it worked great. I really love the 30 second walk breaks. It ensures I don't dilly dally and keeps my heart rate up while giving me just enough rest. This also means that my run intervals are shorter, which means I can push harder knowing a walk break is coming sooner. My strategy worked pretty well, but I started to pick up the pace too much during the end of the first loop while chatting with another runner about the run/walk method. I kept it up for the 2nd loop, but started fading a tiny bit when I had to tackle a hill and the off-road part that cuts the 3rd loop to the needed distance, and I was getting tired! I still managed to basically maintain my average pace during the last loop, so I'm good with that.

Although a PR would have been nice, I knew it was likely not going to happen given the issues I've had the past week and that I haven't been doing ANY speed work since moving to SF, so I just wanted to finish around 2:20-2:30. I'm thrilled with a time right smack in the middle of that range. I feel like I put forth the best effort I had in me today, ran a really strong and smart race, and didn't wreck myself. So I'll call that a huge win.

Next up: we fly back to Orlando for Jason's first Ironman on October 20. I'll be running the 15K between cheering and  waiting for him to finish. 
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