I went in to my first half marathon race hoping that I could run it in 1:55:00, and that was based on my training runs and their typical pace. Running a 1:55:00 half marathon would be keeping a pace of just under 8:50/mile, which seemed doable. Well, I didn’t quite make it. Official chip time: 1:56:14.
Before I go through my thinking, let me say this: I am incredibly proud of my accomplishment. A year ago I couldn’t run a single mile at all, let alone a half marathon. I put in the miles, I slogged through the winter, I trained very diligently, and with the help of more experienced runners, I trained pretty intelligently too. I feel ten feet tall today.
Now then, how did I miss my goal? A few factors, I think. I plan to get some more experienced input as well, but here’s what I think:
- I didn’t train on hills enough for this particular race. If the Flying Pig is known for any one thing, it’s the hills. Miles 6-9 are pretty much all uphill and it’s a doozy. Every time you think you’ve made it to the top, there’s one more push to make. And, unexpectedly (to me), I found the downhills from 10-12 to be just as tough as the uphills on my legs.
- I wasn’t as prepared for the weather as I should have been. It rained through most of the race, especially at the beginning. The socks I chose to wear today were kind of low cut and that ended up being a mistake. I never put any body glide there and payed the price. Just over 2 miles into the race, I could feel the rubbing of the wet shoes and socks and it never let up after that. When I got to the finish, another runner asked me if I was OK because I had a steady stream of blood going from both Achilles into my shoes (which are now blood-stained). It was my own little Curt Schilling moment. I tried to just ignore the pain, but I’m sure I changed my gait a bit here and there trying to alleviate the pain.
- Lack of experience. I should have noticed much further back that I was a bit off my goal pace. I noticed as I passed the mile 11 clock, but even though I pushed hard to make up the difference in the final two miles, I ran out of real estate.
Here’s my race in more detail. As you can see, the uphills were the miles were I was running at a pace higher than my goal.
All in all, I’m happy with this first half marathon. And now I have something to gun for when I run my second half marathon in Columbus this summer, and then the full Chicago Marathon.
P.S. Funny update. If you’ve read this blog before, you may remember my post titled “I’m a serial killer.” It was a post about how I’ve killed three iPods in a very short amount of time. When I got back home from the Flying Pig, I forgot to take my Shuffle out of the pocket of my running shorts, and sure enough, they went though the wash. Dead. Another iPod, mercilessly cut short in its prime.