Saturday, November 23, 2013

Richmond Half Recap

Signing up for the Richmond Half Marathon months before race day was really a second thought.  My fall goal race was the marathon at Niagara Falls.  All my focus was on scoring my first sub four hour marathon and roll into the remainder of my fall/winter schedule.  The half at Richmond would be at best a relaxing half to run along with my wife who would be fast walking her first half.  I placed no pressure and no real expectations on myself.  This lasted until around mile three.

PRE-RACE:  The week prior to Richmond was a real mental test, it was my birthday, our 23rd wedding anniversary and we lost our doggie Hanna to a mass/cancer on her spine…she had been fighting it and winning for nearly two years.  Then it came back, at just over 12 years old…we had to let her go.  By the time I entered the starting corral Saturday morning, standing in the cold, in the rain, and with a hole in my heart.  I was mentally beat.

Then something clicked, all the positive vibes of the other runners lifted me up.  Being in that mass of people, being in the center of all the positive energy, my spirit began to shine.  And honestly the thought of how much our Hanna loved to run, to be outside fueled me to want to run a good race, but I still had no goal, outside of just enjoying the run.


Erie Runners Club Turkey Trot T-Shirt (might be coolest shirt I own)
Black Race-Ready long distance shorts
NIKE Air Pegasus w/tech socks
Crawlin Crab hat
Garmin GPS 201
White gloves
knee strap
Sunglasses

RACE:  Shorty after getting into my corral (Corral B) I noticed by chance that I was standing near the 1:45 pacer.  My luck with pacers lately had me considering backing up and running along with the 1:50 group after all I was not going to push it three weeks after my FIRST sub four.  But with the packed crowd, I decided to hang where I was and just see how this race ran out.  I did vow to NOT follow the pacer if he got off to a fast start.  My goal if I had one was to run a overall eight flat pace and be near my previous PB of 1:44:11 (2008).

Using a wave start the elites and A corral went off right on time and the energy within our corral picked up as we shuffled forward. I noticed there was a lot of bouncing and tapping of feet as we approach our allotted start time.  Minutes later the PA system was announcing that corral B would be going off in 3…2..1 Go.  We were off.  As common in nearly all races the start got off quick, I was being passed on all sides and yet I was running a solid eight flat…and still lost sight of the 1:45 pace within 50 yards of the start.  Why some pacers feel the need to have a HOT START is really bugging me.  But more on that later.  Through some heavy self-talk and replaying of my success just three weeks earlier…I cooled off my jets and ran a smart, yet slow opening mile.

Mile 1  8:25
Mile 2  8:06
Mile 3  8:07


 (Keeping focused)

Near the three mile sign I was really getting into a groove, to the point everything seemed perfect.  Normally in any race, something is just not clicking…but today all body systems were fully functioning.

Mile 4  8:03
Mile 5  8:01




Up and throughout mile 5 I felt really strong, and was trying to keep my pace in control.  As I would glance at my GPS nearly every time I would have to mentally tell myself to slow down.  I was trying to maintain an eight minute pace but would often see my Garmin display 7:50 or faster.  With the collapse at the Crawling Crab on my mind, I was determined to not flame out again.  The course was pretty flat, excellent crowd support and even with a chill and light mist in the air…the conditions were near perfect.  From the flat roads we headed into Joseph Bryan Park, a nice little inner city park, that although the course map said it was flat did offer some little but sneaky elevations changes.  I assume in hindsight, since this little section did offer some challenges I noticed myself getting up on the front of my shoes and attacking some sections…at one time seeing my GPS displaying 6:48…  What surprised me most was that at this point in the race it was easier to run a faster pace than it was to slow it down.

Mile 6  7:55
Mile 7  7:18
Mile 8  7:49

We left the park and headed back to the city streets of Richmond.  I was feeling really good about my position in the race, my breathing was good, noticing hardly any stress.  At about this point I noticed a few runners around me were really struggling, yet my conservative start put me in a great position.  I did have a challenge to overcome, somehow at this point my brain could not figure out how many miles I had left, 4, or maybe 3 no 6?????  Oh I hate math and math on the run…I’m lost.  But through all the mental fog, I knew it was time to attack the rest of the course.  I had set myself up in a great position and  It was time to run. It was time to claim the PB. 

From here on out it no longer was just a run, it was “Catch that runner in the yellow shirt, the orange shirt…catch that guy wearing no shirt!”  Every colored shirt in front of me became a target.  At one point I felt like an Olympic runner closing in on a podium finish.  And I ran hard…

Mile 9  7:28
Mile 10  7:34
Mile 11  7:22
Mile 12  7:27
Mile 13  7:31

If I have to say the finish was a big surprise…..No, it was the biggest surprise.    I was making great time coming down Grace Street, catching
runner after runner, then turning onto 5th street I saw the massive downhill to the finish.  My legs loved it as it was effortless to run but my mind hated it, a fear of tripping actually had me slowing down to not over stride.  I’ve run the full marathon a few times in the past, and I had heard they moved the finish.  BUT nothing got me ready for the massive downhill finish going onto Bellis Island.  An epic battle was ragging in my head, RUN FASTER….NO, slow down. Don’t fall….don’t listen to him Gump!  RUN. RUN. RUN FASTER!  But, Gee Wizz, Batman don’t fall down. 

Crossing the finish line, it hit me…I had just set a new PB for the Half…just three weeks after running my sub four.  After a terrible week…I found a few moments of joy.

FINNISH: 1:42:41



(Victory)

POST RACE:  Michele and our Dear friend Kendra, finished their half in 3h 11ms…a first for both of them.  All in all it was a great day.  Just don’t ask me how long it took me to find my car after the race… Hint: nearly as long it took me to run the race.  Not a happy camper but it was all my fault.  In the future I will pay attention to where I park!

(Michele and Kendra)


PACER RANT:  And I know they, the pacers, do this out of good will, and I know they have a lot more experience than me, but why have the last three pacers gone out so hot on the start of the race?  I fear they burned out a lot of the folks counting on them to achieve their goals?  At the Crawling Carb Half, the 1:45 pace group burned me out…I could not keep up the 7:40s they were running from the start and at mile 8 or 9, I was dropped.  OBTW an 8:01 will get you a 1:45 finish.  At Niagara Falls the four hour pacers went out so fast that they were out of my site early on.  Last seen they were dragging a big crowd with them.  I ran an opening 9:25 pace off a 9:10 target that will get you a sub four finish.  I caught them near mile 20 and the large crowd was reduced to a few suffering stragglers.  And here at Richmond, I caught the 1:45 pacers around mile 10 maybe 11 and again the large group that was at the start was gone.  I’ve got friends who pace people, I’ve got tons of respect for these people and I’ve read tons of success stories about how pacers ran perfect races helping other achieve their goals.  I ran behind a pacer at Shamrock, and he did a great job, I turned a PB.  But my recent experience points me to a thought that maybe these pacers (just the three I have crossed paths with lately) burned some people out.  Just my two cents…and yes I’m going to see if I can try my hand a pacing.



PLAN YOUR RACE, RACE YOUR PLAN. 



Marathon, Ultra marathon, 26.2, Half Marathon, 13.1, 10k, 6.2, 5k, 3.1, 50 miles, 100 miles, 24 hour run, 12 hour run, running, runner, jogging, jogger, sub 4 hour, Boston, Marine Corp Marathon, NYC, New York City Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Richmond Marathon, Shamrock Marathon, Va Beach, Cleveland Marathon, Niagara Marathon,  Runners Diet, Weight Control, Hug A Runner Day, National Running Day, Runners World, Badwater 135, Leadville Trail 100, Western States 100, Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim, Adventure Running,
 

Marathon, Ultra marathon, 26.2, Half Marathon, 13.1, 10k, 6.2, 5k, 3.1, 50 miles, 100 miles, 24 hour run, 12 hour run, running, runner, jogging, jogger, sub 4 hour, Boston, Marine Corp Marathon, NYC, New York City Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Richmond Marathon, Shamrock Marathon, Va Beach, Cleveland Marathon, Niagara Marathon,  Runners Diet, Weight Control, Hug A Runner Day, National Running Day, Runners World, Badwater 135, Leadville Trail 100, Western States 100, Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim, Adventure Running, 

5 comments:

  1. Nicely done Brian! I'm jealous that you can sustain those super "just above 7 m/m's" so late in the half. Thanks for the inspiration.

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    Replies
    1. Believe it's the ultra training....

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  2. Yayy! So impressed with back to back awesome PB's! Sub 4 and now a nice shiny new half PB as well!! I'm glad you were able to channel some positive energy despite the not so fabulous things going on.

    As for pacers- I have never used one and am really scared to try. I DONT do well starting fast and I don't even do well running even paces. I'm a negative splitter on my best days. Maybe one day I will try a pacer but I plan on grilling him until no end before hand to find out what his strategy is.

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