Thursday, November 8, 2012

Race Recap: DRC Half …aka… Sub-1:40 Half

After seeing Brian’s blog post on his race, I thought I’d follow his race recap format, so here goes.

ENOUGH WITH THE SMALL TALK. HOW'D IT GO?

It was pretty darn awesome! I knew that I wanted to PR, which I wanted to get below my PR of 1:43:05.  But, I pretty much killed that and then some… 1:39:56.  CRAZY!

DID YOU WIN?

Uhh… no, but I won when I ran past that Finish Line!  6 weeks earlier I ran in the Heels, Hills, & Him Half Marathon.  It’s not a highly competitive race.  In that race I ran 1:43 and came in 9th place overall.  There was no way that this was happening at this race.  There’s always a lot of fast runners at this race.

I came in 19th of 124 in my age group (45-49), 152nd of 917 men and 182nd of 1,968 overall.  I’m super happy when I can come in the top third or in this case, the top 10% of the runners.  It’s just my thing.

BEFORE THE RACE

20121104_072023It’s always fun to meet running friends before the race.  Idle chit chat on the weather, what we’re planning.  Erik, one of my running friends, spotted a number on my hand.  He asked what 7:52 was – I told him it was the pace that I needed to be under to hit my PR.  After saying that… internally I was doubting if it was possible.  I was kind of laughing it off at this point.

It was cool that Cairo and his girlfriend came out to volunteer at the food tent.  They had fun.

HOW'D THAT HAPPEN?

I felt confident that I could PR this race, but there’s always a voice of self doubt that pops in your head.  It usually comes moments before the race.  Felix got to hear it a bit before we started.  He assured me that the temps were cooler than my previous Half and to shut up and just do it!  We agreed to run our races as we’d try to start together.

We lined up between the 1:40 and 1:50 pace groups.  A bit closer to the 1:40 group.  Felix and I got separated almost as soon as we started.  He got to a pretty fast start which I was not ready for.  We agreed to an 8 minute per mile start, but that was definitely not the case.  I glanced down and saw that we were already at a 7:18 pace.  Too fast – too early!  I let him go, but I kept an eye on him.  At about mile 3, I caught him and he told me to push.  He’s the best encourager ever!

Check out the above video at mile 4 at the 9:00 minute point to see me and then shortly thereafter Felix.  I’m in black shorts and a yellow shirt.

My breathing seemed very even and controlled for most of the race.  I had some challenges in the neighborhoods with the hills, but kept telling myself that I had to get past the spillway. Just like Brian, the spillway is my nemesis!  It’s not the longest, but something about is so UGGGGHHHH!  It’s probably that I just ran through all of the other hills and have to cap it off with the spillway.

It took me a couple of miles to recover from the spillway, but once I did I figured that I had a shot at a Sub-1:40.  My legs were feeling a bit at this point, but I was still feeling good.  I actually couldn’t believe that I was still holding onto this pace.

It was cool to see running friends out on the course cheering for us.  Every once in awhile I’d hear my name yelled out and see a familiar face… what a boost!

Throughout the race, I could see the 1:40 group, but it always seemed that they were out of reach.  I didn’t know how far ahead they were.

I really like running White Rock Lake, because I know it so well.  I know how far we’ve got to go to complete the race by landmarks.  It seems very achievable when you know the twists and turns of the lake.  There really aren’t any surprises.

Once I started into Norbuck Park, I gave it all I had and finished strong.  When I turned the last corner and saw the finish line, I thought I might’ve started my kick too early, but just willed myself to hold on. I caught a glimpse of the finish clock, it read 1:40something.  I stopped my Garmin after crossing and it read 1:40.  At that point I was totally excited about a 1:40 finish!  It was more than I was expecting and hoping for.

Elaine-MarkImmediately after finishing, I was being handed my finisher’s medal by a volunteer, but I tactfully declined it from them and got it from Elaine.  She was there volunteering in a boot.  This woman is a beast… always moving, always pushing, always encouraging!  I stole a hug from her and for once didn’t cry after the PR.

Cairo and Baylee said that they would watch me finish, but I didn’t see them.  I kept looking over at the fence line.  I waited and cheered on my running friends… Felix, Erik, and Michelle.  I love seeing people finish a race!

After some goofy pictures, I finally called Cairo and asked where he was at.  He asked me the same.  I told him that I was finished.  He was worried as he saw Felix, Erik, and then Michelle finish, but not me.  He missed my finish and thought something happened to me.  It was great to hug it out with him when he found me.  He was proud of dad and was bummed that he missed my finish.

1 - smileWe made our way to the official results board and I was officially on Cloud Nine as I learned that I hit sub 1:40!  This is definitely something that I never ever uttered as a goal!

SPLITS?

7:44
7:33
7:33
7:45
7:33
7:33
7:26
7:28
7:46
7:43
7:44
7:28
7:20
6:18 pace last .20

It’s crazy looing at these split times.  When I first started running I never thought that they’d be mine.  The fun thing is that I think I can get stronger, faster, and go longer distances.

WHAT ELSE?

Why the improvement in time?  I’m chalking it up to INSANITY and somewhat to running trails once a week.  I feel like both are making a stronger runner.  This is a big reminder that I might not see improvements daily, but I need to keep after it daily if I want to surprise myself.

WHAT’S NEXT?

I’m super excited about my very first trail race on Saturday.  It’ll be the Rockledge Rumble.  They had 3 distances to choose from – 15K, 30K, and 50K.  I chose the 30K to push myself and act as a nice challenging long run before the Dallas Marathon.

3 comments:

Run Nature said...

Awesome job, Mark! I can't believe those splits. Great job. -- Angela

Mark said...

Thanks Angela! Also, thanks for the video! Very cool!

Elaine Hillis said...

First of all, I luv u and ur spirit. I am SO PROUD OF U!!!! U did it and killed that time! U know, I hug u so I can get some bad-ass juju! ((((Hugs)))) way to go!!!!