Wednesday, October 12, 2011

YMCA Half Marathon Report

Jeremy and I at seven miles
Because this event took place four weeks before my planned goal race weekend, I decided long ago to run the area's largest event (aside from the Race for the Cure) at a moderate pace in order to use it as training for the future. In fact, this is the fourth year in a row for me to run our local race in this manner. It is not that I consider the Y-Half to be less important. I am simply trying to run a variety of races and distances in locations other than my home town.

With the temperature in the low-50's, still air, and clear skies, it was a near perfect morning for a half marathon.  I lined up that morning with about two-thousand other people on a hill overlooking the Ohio River knowing that hamstring tightness resulting from the piriformis pinch might cause me to stop. The hamstring had been tight when I ran the day before, but I had worked it loose before I went to bed.

The original plan called for me to run the half at about 6:05 pace, but I decided to run it with friends, including Jeremy, and we settled on a 6:20 pace. After we climbed over the only big hill on the course and reached mile three at 6:06 pace the plan began to change. We were very consistent, reaching each mile thereafter in just over six minutes. despite a couple of course layout discrepancies that I was aware of because I measured the new course.

As the mile markers passed we each agreed that we were comfortable. Each passing mile also took us closer to the front of the field as we held our pace while others slowed, some a significant 15-20 seconds per mile.

We reached twelve miles in just under 73 minutes. I knew then that we would finish in lest than 80 minutes. It was while we were running on the Greenway next to the museum midway through mile thirteen that we picked up the pace a little. That 5:57 last mile gave me a 1:19:39 finishing time. Jeremy, sly enough to be a couple of rows behind me at the start, was a second faster in the end. His even-paced run allowed him to smash his PR.

My post-event analysis gave me a boost in confidence. The steady effort allowed my heart rate to remain below my tempo zone for about seven miles. The final average HR of 165 (85%) was less than what I have averaged for entire marathons and less than what I averaged for the first two hours of the Silver Rush 50 back in July. I am excited about the fact that this HR occurred while I averaged 6:05 per mile because it indicates that my running economy quite high.

Now I must rid myself of this sciatic pinch so that I can fully enjoy this fitness in Indy next month and in the mountains soon after that.

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