Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll USA Race Recap

Operation Sub-2:00 didn't go exactly as planned.  I set a PR but didn't hit my time goal -- and, I'm okay with that.  It was a beautiful day.  I'm healthy enough to run a half-marathon (while still recovering from a cold apparently), and I'm going out to celebrate St. Patty's Day tonight like a college freshman.      

To the recap!

The morning - unsurprisingly - started out with a metro failure.  (It wouldn't be a DC race if I could use the metro and get to the start on time, now would it?) I got to my station at about 6:45, which would normally plenty of time to ride, transfer, and make it to the staging area in reasonable time.  But, it's Metro on the weekend and that means track work.  I had to wait about 15 minutes at the next station for a train, which got as far as Smithsonian before it was too crowded for the doors to close.  We off-loaded, and I waited for two trains before attempting to continue.  I made it to the staging area at 7:55 (the race started at 8), dropped off my bag, and sprinted to the corrals.  I was originally in corral 6 but made it just in time to join corral 12 at the starting line.

Assuming that I would start in my corral, my plan was to run the first three miles at a 9:15 pace, the next seven at a 9:00, and push at 8:00 pace for the last 5K.  Of course, starting six corrals back with people who didn't want to run that pace at the beginning of the race, my strategy became "Get as far away from this corral as fast as you can so you can hit your target pace as fast as possible."  With that in mind, I ran the first three miles in 8:54, 8:57, and 8:06.  Not exactly the plan, but okay.

After the first 5K, I felt myself starting to slow down. By then, I was in a groove but not hitting my target pace.  I did the math in my head and figured that if I slowed down but then pushed for the last 10K, I could still hit my time goal.  I decided to enjoy the run until the second half of the race.

Miles 7 and 8 were definitely the hardest and my body tried to stage a rebellion.  I took a few walk breaks, stretched, and kept trying to figure out what I needed to do to finish in under two hours.

Things started to feel better around Mile 9. By this point in the race, I figured that I could hit by time goal with a finish time of just under two hours if, at mile 10, I pushed myself harder than I've ever pushed myself on a run.  Unfortunately, the rest of my body wanted to hear nothing of it.  At Mile 11, I decided that I just wanted a PR.  With the revised goal, I really started to enjoy everything about the day and the race.

According to my Garmin, which lost satellite reception a few times and was at least a tenth of a mile off from the mile markers on the course, I hit 13.1 miles at 2:02:13.  (An unofficial PR!) I crossed the finish line - after 13.34 miles by my watch - at 2:04:31 (only a little faster than my time at the 2011 Baltimore half-marathon but a PR all the same).  I'll post my official results when I get them.  I'm very curious to know how my official time compares.

Stef and I have earned our St. Patty's Day celebration.  Congrats on your PR!

I imagine tomorrow will be a recovery day. Then, I'll be back in training mode for this year's Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run and the Providence Marathon...which seems to be approaching faster than I would like.  Time to put in some serious work!

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