Monday, October 18, 2010

BAA Half Race Report: it's better with friends

Since the Duxbury race, I've definitely been in my off season. Sure I did a half marathon last weekend, and I've got an olympic distance race in Australia next weekend, but I've been treating it like the off season. Which means I've cut back to about 3 - 6 hours of exercise per week, and I've upped my ice cream intake significantly.

I showed up to the BAA Half Marathon last weekend with relatively low expectations. The Pumpkinman run gave me some confidence that I could do a pretty good time in this race, but I haven't done a half mara on its own since this race last year, so I was a little anxious, but not nervous going in.

Rachel and I did some pre-race warm ups, then headed to the line for the porta potties. This was my one complaint about the race. They did not have enough bathrooms. We waited for about 15 minutes in a line and still weren't even close. Rachel gave up and headed for the bushes, and I should have followed suit, but I thought, eh, I'll be fine.

About 2 miles in, I hear from behind me "Hey, I thought I recognized that ponytail." It's Nathaniel, Paul's roommate from Notre Dame. Nathaniel is faster than me. He runs marathons, but he had told me he was planning on running 8:30s, but now, apparently, he's feeling good. So we start running together and we're holding 7:55 - 8. In the back of my mind I'm thinking, I've never broken 50 minutes for a 10K before, if we keep this pace up... And there's the 10K mark, we've just run it in 49:14. Killer! But I hope that doesn't mean that I'll blow up for the full distance.

Now I start thinking about a sub-1:50. That would be pretty spectacular given that my fastest time was a 1:53:10. The second half of the course is a lot more uphill though, so I try not to get ahead of myself. Still we're pulling in low 8s: 8:04, 7:59, 8:02. We hit the 10 mile mark with a sub-1:20 time. Nathaniel turns to me and says, "if you've got 10 min miles left in you, you're gonna break 1:50!"

At mile 11, Nathaniel decides he's gonna see how much he's got left. I thank him for the pacing, and immediately drop back to an 8:33 mile. Hmm, that's ok, I've got buffer, it's just so much harder to push the pace when you're not trying to keep up with some one. Mile 12, only 1.1 to go. Geez, I've got to pee. But, it's only 1 more mile, you can hold it. 20 more paces, Ack! I can't hold it! I run behind a tree for a quick pit stop. So that added 30 seconds to my time.

Back to the race, and I'm ready for this thing to be over. We run around the grand stands and finally into the stadium where we finish off with half a lap. 1:46:26. Sweet!

I grab water, food, and t-shirt and look around for Nathaniel to no avail. I head back in to watch Jeff and Rachel finish their races. Rachel all smiles with an 8 minute PR!

Two big takeaways from this race:
1. I run better with friends, and I need to learn how to push myself like that on my own.

2. Make sure you pee right before the start of the race.

Stay tuned, next post will be from oz!

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