Saturday, March 20, 2010

National Half Marathon Report (1/2 Marathon PR)

Way too jacked up on adrenaline to sleep, so here is my race report!
Well, the sunshine all week and warm weather were good indicators that this was going to be a banner race. I was a little concerned that it was going to be too hot (studies have shown that performance decreases above 55 degrees), but it was 50 at the start. But I am getting ahead of myself...
Yesterday was the Expo, and they had Joan Benoit Samuelson and Bill Rodgers as speakers in their lecture series. Both gave great advice, not just about running marathons, but how to live life as a runner. When asked about her diet, Joan said "I am on a seafood diet. I see food, and I eat it." Good to know that she eats a ton too! She talked a lot about passion and desire - those are things that can't be instilled in someone, you have to feel that yourself. Joan stressed the importance of running your own race, and not anyone else's. I met them both after, and they signed my bib. Bill Rodgers wished me the best for my Boston debut, and was really encouraging. That is what is so great about this sport; you can meet the greatest runners and they are very down to earth and are inspiring people. Also spent some time with Brian, my MCM friend, and it is always good to see a friend before a big race.
First thought of the morning: I was so happy to fall asleep by 9:45 (that takes training too) and that I fell back asleep immediately when I woke up in the middle of the night. I am starting to get that down pat. I took all of these things as good signs and got pumped up. Played all of my psych up music, did my stretching, and then headed downtown. Metro was a little slow, but made it just in the nick of time. Here's a picture of the metro - the only time runners rule the metro!
And then we were off! Decided to not even wear arm-warmers at the start, so just a blue tank top and my trust blue Asics shorts. First mile was incredibly slow, about 40 seconds slower than goal pace. Nothing scarier than starting 40 seconds behind, and feeling like I need to "make up time" at the beginning of a race. It took about 4 miles, and finally I was hitting my splits (which I carried a band with them written down in my pocket). Phew! Started to heat up a little at that point, so I just kept dumping water on my head at every water stop. Tried a new trick: did not carry my own gatorade with me this time - just took it at the aid stations. Might keep doing that; it was nice to have my hands free. Crowd support was excellent - someone yelled "Looking good, Blue" and that kept me going for a few miles. I had decided that this was going to be an aggressive race, so I just kept finding people to pick off. My power phrase for the race was "relentless fighter" (which I wrote on my band) and just kept that phrase in my head the whole time. There were some strong runners, so I chased after them. There were a bunch of hills from miles 4-9, and since I practice on hard hills, I knew I was going to pass some people there.
I have to say, (obvious statement), a half marathon is so much faster than a marathon! Before I knew it, it was mile 10. Just a 5k left. Then 2.1, and then 1.1. It was at the 12 mile marker that I started to feel tired, but I knew I was only going to be running for less than 9 minutes at that point. I started to pick things up a little more at that point, finding those final people to pass. Then the finish line appeared - there is never mercy at that point! I flew down the chute, passed a few more people, and then crossed the finish line.
Official finish time: 1:39:30
And here are my other splits/results:
Overall: 622/6249
Division results: 26/571
Sex results: 10k split: 45:59 (new 10k PR)
Overall pace: 7:36
:-) Relentless fighter!
Almost a 4 minute PR. I was really happy, because not only did I break my 1:40 goal, I had 30 seconds to spare. I never felt too bad, and this makes my 3:35 Boston goal seem much more attainable. And that is the next stop! I met up with MCM forumites Eileen and Julie after, and we were all just so happy with the race.
What a great day.


  1. Congrats on a great race and a huge PR! WTG!

  2. don't ya just love picking runners off? especially the one's that went out like bats out of hell at the start and sputtered out at the end when it really counts. you ran a smart, steady race Vanessa and your goal finish time for boston is right on! i had joan sign a picture for me at the first boston i did in 1999. she wrote "may the roads of boston be good to you." that lady is ripped...i love it! she was at the nike women's marathon in october in san fran. i was at the expo as she was on the stage speaking. she's awesome! i always remember this as i'm doing a marathon...the half way point is really 20 miles, not 13.1. i think you know what i mean. can't wait to follow you on Monday, April 19th.

  3. I am asking you to sign my race number bibs next time you are home. You have a bright future in running girl!

    Cool looking medal too!