Sunday, March 13, 2011

Race Review - March 4 Hunger

This was the scheduled event for March - part of the effort to participate in a race every month this year. After chatting about it with everyone else involved, I figured I'd try to see how fast I could finish instead of hang back with my wife, sister and our four kids.

The Training
After the last half marathon I took two weeks off. My knees and legs hurt, and one of my toes looked like I dropped a hammer on it. Also, it's time for triathlon season training to start, so after two weeks I started splitting my time between biking and running, pretty much evenly. The goal was less than 25 minutes, and after my interval run on Tuesday I was pretty sure I could do it. After the Thursday run I wasn't sure at all. Hopefully the other runners at the race would help pull me through :)

Packet Pickup / Race Morning
Packet pickup was the morning of the race and this race was only 2 miles from where we live, so we rolled out of bed around 6, met my sister at the race around 7 and had plenty of time to pick up the race numbers and mull around. It was only about 60 degrees, with wind off the ocean - a year in FL has turned me, that felt down right cold.

The Start
The start was fairly disorganized, I think this was the first race for these people. They didn't really say where the start was until about 3 minutes till the start. It wasn't a big deal though, there were only about 300 people there, so we all just made our way over there, and the race started right on time. There was no real start "line" so I'm pretty sure the time they recorded was just a gun time, instead of a chip time.

The Run
The course was an out and back, on the same stretch of open boardwalk along the beach. There weren't any dividers, and no keeping people off the course, but overall that didn't really pose a problem, it was just a little annoying to pass strolling couples and having bikers speeding down the lane through us.

I tried to find a good pace and stick to it, the group seemed to thin out pretty quickly so I was having trouble figuring out if I was going a good pace or not. The first mile came by and the clock said right around 8 minutes, I was on pace, but I was not feeling strong. I thought, if I can hold on for another half a mile till the turn around the it would give me the home-stretch boost that could keep me in the hunt of my goal. Mostly by this time the group had settled, and the people I was near now would be around for the rest of the race. It was a little surprising though how many people seemed to just hit the wall at a mile - or maybe I picked up the pace, but after looking at my splits, I'm pretty sure they just hit the wall - even more than me.

The Finish
The last half of the race really took it out of me, I seriously thought about walking around the two mile marker, but didn't. I got to the end, felt like death, grabbed some water and a few bananas and waited for the rest of the gang to finish. Overall the finish was a pleasant place, there was loud, but not obnoxious, music playing, and you didn't have to walk a half mile to find a place to sit. The largest problem at the finish was apparently people milling around right at the finish, but I didn't experience that, I only heard someone asking people to move.

The Results
Overall Place40 /359
Division Place4 /15

I was running with my phone on my arm with Runkeeper, so I have my splits

The splits tell the story of the race - I went out probably faster than I was expecting, the for whatever reason the second mile just seemed to drag on forever, and the last mile I just kept pushing for the end.

Closing Comments
I am disappointed that I didn't make my goal, when I passed the first mile I was pretty sure I was on pace, but I was not feeling strong. Afterwards my family kept reminding me that I do have a pretty nasty cough that was probably sapping my energy, so that may be part of it. I'm a little reluctant to use it as an excuse, so I'll just have to keep on the training :)

If this was this groups first event I think this was a pretty good event, if they start pulling more people together they'll probably have to figure some stuff out like how to close the course, and put up some dividers. The start could be more organized. But there were several things I liked. The location is awesome, it is a lot of fun to run next to the ocean, and that path is a nice course to run. They had chip timing which is a nice perk, and they had started posting results when I crossed the finish. I would definitely do this race again.

Next up, the first triathlon of the season in early April.

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