Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mankato Marathon Half 2011 Race Report

A PR is a PR.  I should be happier about it than I am.  I really am proud that I broke my half-marathon PR from 13 years ago, but I didn't go as fast as I had hoped and that leaves me feeling a little disappointed.

This was the first time I've attempted to "race" instead of just run at this distance.  I warmed up, I had a race plan, and I thought hoped I was really going to crush my PR.  I did several things wrong that I'm sure helped my eventual blow-up in the race and there were several things that were just out of my control.

Out of my control included the not sleeping well the night before, being a little hormonal just before "that time of the month", and my usually tried and true nutrition plan not working.

So what did I do wrong? 

My race plan included going out with the 2:05 pace group and staying with them until at least halfway.  I wanted to run just a little past comfortable. I left the pace group behind in the first mile and proceeded to clock my first 7 miles at a 9:13 pace, 20 seconds faster per mile than I had planned.  (The pace group later passed me between miles 9 and 10 and I tried to hang on, but couldn't.)

I wasn't mentally prepared to "race" for over two hours.  Keeping your mind in race mode for that long is HARD!  I occasionally started to drift into space-out mode and had to really concentrate on focusing on my race.  I suppose part of this comes with practice and  I hope that this will improve the more I race at longer distances.  Also, when I did my half-ironman triathlon, I did a lot of race visualization in the weeks leading up to the race.  I only did any visualization the night before this race.

I wasn't trained as well as I should have been for my goal.  I had a rough patch after my half-ironman, and even though I finally started having good runs again mid-September, I haven't been consistent since.

How and where it went downhill:

After my first 7 wonderful miles, I crashed.  I was running along, feeling great.  I had found comfortable and jacked it up just half a notch.   My breathing was perfect, not breathing hard at all.  All of a sudden while climbing a hill, it felt like someone attached me to the weight sled.  I went from a 9:12 mile for my seventh mile to a 10:05 mile for my eighth mile.  And I just got slower from there.  No matter how hard I tried, my legs just did not want to go faster.

I usually take gel at 45 minutes and 90 minutes, in addition to one 15 minutes prior to the race.  That has always worked for me in the past, but I always take an extra gel, just in case.  Boy, was I glad I did!  I was also happy to take an extra gel at one of the aid stations.  I ended up taking gel at 45 minutes, 1:20, 1:40 and a half a gel at 2 hours.  They didn't help me speed up any, but I could tell when it was getting close to that 20 minute mark, and I think it helped me not slow down even more.

My time: 2:08:57.  A PR by 35 seconds.  

I have another half in three weeks.  I don't know how I plan to attack that one yet.  That race falls on my three races in three days weekend.  I am also running two 5Ks that weekend and so far the 5K is the only distance I have not set a PR for in 2011.  I am torn between trying to break my 5K PR and going for the half-marathon PR I was hoping for.  I think I need a couple days to get this one out my head.  Then I can make a decision and draft my training plan for the next few weeks.

I'll post pics later if I get some from the official photo people.  The disadvantage of having a hubby who runs also is there isn't anyone to take pictures of either of us!  Speaking of my husband, he had a wonderful race and a PR of over twenty minutes with a 2:01:30!  Very proud of him!

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