Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Philly ING Rock N Roll Half Marathon - 13.1 - 02:35:04

First official half, done! I'd run 13 miles, or more, several times before the race but this would be my husband's longest run (by about a mile) yet. Before I started training for the Marine Corps this was my goal race for the year but now I had to "run it, not race it." Not like I'm really competing anyway. We drove from Maryland to Philly (my hometown) on Saturday morning with our two Great Danes - for anyone else ever staying in Philly the Loews at 12th and Market is extremely pet friendly! All four of us crammed into a queen sized bed Saturday night so nobody got a whole lot of sleep. I was painfully nervous on Sunday morning, especially after a dog-walking outing on Saturday night left me with a really sore and stiff right ankle. But we suited up and walked the mile and a half (or more) to the starting line.

I had a few goals for the race, in order:
Don't die - Check.
Don't walk - Check.
Come in under 2:45 - Check.
Average somewhere between 11:30-12:00 miles - Check.
Don't hurt myself and compromise the rest of my training - Check.
More details and photos after the break!

We both registered with an expected finishing time of 2:30. Last week I realised that this would be way too fast for me, there was no way I could run a 2:30 half without killing myself. I was terrified about either getting trampled or burning myself out trying to keep up with the field. Neither turned out to be much of an issue but we did go out way too fast with a few miles under 11 minutes. My husband would get ahead of me and keep looking back, eventually I caught up around the 5k point and told him to just go without me. This was his goal race, he wanted to leave it all on the course so there was no reason he should have to wait for me.

It was really pretty smooth sailing through mile 10. The weather was nice, if a little warmer than I'd expected, and some parts of the course were incredibly sunny. We wound around through Center City before heading back up the Parkway, out Kelly Drive, then back down West River Drive (which I guess is MLK drive these days, not sure when that happened). There was not as much rock n roll as I expected, some of the bands were playing at more than one mile marker so by the time we hit some of the stages they were just blaring CDs. It was relatively well supported though some of the Cytomax/water stations seemed a little sparse and they were only on one side of the road and I often didn't want to cross all the way over to grab something. There were also salt packets an Gu offered at two points.

My 5k split was something like 34:59 (only a minute slower than my best 5k race), 10k 1:10. I hit 10 miles at 1:55 which is by far the best 10 miles I've ever run. I had Gatorade with me and grabbed a cup of water here and there but never stopped or stopped to walk. I knew that I'd feel much more confident about the full marathon in October if I could run the entire 13.1 now. For all I know I might have come in faster if I'd done a little run-walk but I feel pretty decent about it.

My right ankle was really stiff, on the inside, when we started but the longer I ran the better it got and by mile 5 it didn't hurt at all and it clearly didn't slow me down. West River Drive is really sloped for drainage at some points, I struggled to find the flattest part of the road but the slope was rough on my ankles and my right knee. Around mile 12.5 my right knee did... something, same thing it'd done last week on my 12 mile run. Whatever it is hurts only on downhills, everything else is fine (it's on the outside, right below the kneecap, I thought it might be an IT thing but I read that tends to be above the knee?). I stumbled and shook it out but I knew there would be no downhills so I didn't worry about it too much. I'd caught up to my husband at mile 12 or so, he was pretty burnt out and taking walk breaks. Like a complete ass I left him behind, I feel pretty bad about it and I really should have just stayed with him.

My last four miles were the slowest but still not too bad with 12:42 being the slowest. I could have, and should have, paced better. I usually do long runs with a group doing about 12:30, I've never been able to pace myself well even with a Garmin. There was a very slight hill right before the finish line, the sidewalks were lined with cheering spectators which really gave me a little boost. I crossed the finish line and waited for my husband who came in about 2 minutes behind me. I can't wait to see our medal picture, he wore his bloody shirt like a badge of honor (I couldn't find the Body Glide that morning, his poor nipples). He's awesome, I can't imagine running in that condition!

Some photos:
Phoebe enjoying the accommodations at Loews:

Ready to race:

The finish line with City Hall in the background, taken from the top of the art museum steps:

Heavy medals, a blurry shot of me and my incredibly handsome husband a few hours later (after several drinks):

And now the stats:

Chip time - 2:35:04 (11:50 pace)

Garmin splits - it lost 2 minutes somewhere and read 2:33:38. I forgot to turn off the auto-pause and I'm guessing it stopped when I grabbed some water or something and didn't start right away but I think I can pinpoint where it lost those minutes (mile 4 for sure). It also measured 13.3 miles which is probably pretty close to accurate with the corners and weaving in and out of traffic:

1 0:10:46
2 0:10:56
3 0:11:17
4 0:09:43 (pretty sure we can add those two minutes here!)
5 0:11:29
6 0:11:21
7 0:11:21
8 0:11:41
9 0:11:42
10 0:11:52
11 0:12:17
12 0:12:36
13 0:12:42
14 0:03:46 (.31 miles)

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