Saturday, March 3, 2012

Snake River Half Marathon 2012

The 2012 Snake River half marathon was my second ever open half marathon. I have run plenty of half marathons, but all of the others came at the end of triathlons. For me an open half marathon hurts a lot more than running at the end of triathlon. Yes they both hurt, but they are both a different kind of hurt. For me Triathlons are more of a mental pain, they still hurt physically don't get me wrong, but you are not running on the rivet like in a open race. To say I was excited for this race would be an understatement. I had two goals; 1.)Set a new Open half marathon PR 2.) See where my early season fitness is at.

For This blog I am going to do something different. For the first time ever I wore My Garmin watch with Heart rate. Lets take a look at how the race unfolded by looking at the data. Each one of these pictures will have a blue highlighted part on the graph, this is what I am referring too in the paragraph below each picture.

If you want to play with the file and look at all the graphs you can find it here

Evan Sims started fast, and withing the first 400 feet I decided the pace was too quick and let him go. The first 400 meters was well under 5:00 minute pace (pace is the Blue Line) and as you can see in the graph, I quickly decided to slow it down and get on a pace a I knew I could sustain.

This next highlighted part is the out section on the course all the way until mile 6.3 (almost the turn around). My effort (HR is the red Line) was a little higher and stayed elevated because I was running into a head wind for this section. Evan was about 20 feet ahead of me and I was breaking the wind on my own. I Kept thinking this is stupid on my part. Since we were staying the same distance apart, I knew I should just catch up and let him break the wind. But Every time I would try to pick up the pace, it seemed like Evan would do the same. I knew I would also risk going beyond my threshold too soon in the race, if I tried to hard to catch him. If you go beyond your threshold in a distance event, the damage cannot be reversed. My pace jumped around a lot during this section and I really think it was due to the changes in wind.

About 400 Meters before the turn around, I hit the darkest point of my race. As you can see my Heart rate drops off for a while(even with a tail wind). This was the point where I started to cramp up and get into trouble. I suddenly found myself in a funk for a little over a mile. Mentally I started to doubt myself, and the negative thoughts started pouring into my head. I was cramping, it hurt, and I really just wanted to stop. I saw third place run in the other direction and I thought to myself "crap I am shutting down and he is going to catch me". In the meantime Evan had put the hammer down and was gone up the road. He was running like a beast. I was giving it my all and shutting down in his wake. This is the point in the race that matters most. The point of most struggle. I had to stop myself from thinking all the negative thoughts, and really only let myself focus on keeping good form. Luckily for me I started to feel better. The proceeding sections were some of my fastest sections of the race. I was dipping below 5:00min pace and doing everything I could to bring Evan back. People running the other direction were giving me encouragement, and it was giving me mounds of motivation.

Whenever I run a half marathon, I always tell myself it is just a 10 mile race. Really the goal is to nail it for 10 miles, than hang on for 3. My thought process is that you can always run 3 miles, no matter how bad you are hurting. This race threw me for a loop though. I had hit the point where my 10 miles were up, it was time to hang tough. The problem was that the wind had suddenly shifted directions and my last couple miles were into the strongest headwind of the day. My pace dropped considerably. If you look at the photo my Heart rate (effort) stays at the same level, but my pace suddenly starts to drop. At this point I started doing math in my head, and thinking about how close I was to my PR. I knew I had to give it my all!

The Very last section of the race is just a ramp up to the finish line. Both in pace and effort. Once you are at less than a mile to go, all the cards should be on the table. There is nothing left to hold back and it is your last chance to leave everything on the course.

Overall my Splits were all over the place. Really I think this is due to the always changing wind. At some points I was flying with a tail wind and at other points running into a headwind. The very last split .16 of a mile is a little off because I forgot to stop my watch at the finish line.

This is a graph of my 5 heart rate zones. As you can see I spent 98% of my time in my threshold zone, and really didn't spend any time above it.

Overall I am very happy with this race! It was not the time I was gunning for, but it was a PR by almost a minute. My Official time Posted after the Race was 1:09:31. I will take that time this early in the year! I know I left everything I had on the course. I have lots of data to look at, and apply to my training. It is still early in the year and I still have some time to improve on my run. Just in case you are curios, I did not take anything on the course. No water or Gatoraid. With the cooler temps there was really no need. My hat goes off to Even Sims. He Ran a new course record all by himself and was very impressive. If you look at the results sadly you will not see his course record of 1:07:45. The race filled up very quickly, filling before Evan got a chance to sign up. After e-mailing the race director, they still would not let him in. This is just my opinion, but if someone is your defending champion and course record holder, let them run! Evan used a number of someone who did not end up running and as soon as he hit the finish line the race director DQ'd him. I knew he without a doubt beat me handily, and after the awards I knew the overall trophy belonged to him. I am super impressed with your Performance Evan, and we will just say you now have the official, unofficial course record of 1:07:45.


Michael W. Bergquist said...

Thanks for all the data. I love to look at all the numbers. I really wanted to watch that race until the race director said he wasn't allowing Evan and two other fast guys.

I would still bet you have a sub 1:08:00 in you right now. Today just wasn't your day. PRs are still good and you finally squashed 1:10:00.

Spokane Al said...

Congratulations on a great race. And although I agree with you that the previous year's race winner should be guaranteed a spot in the following year's race, I do have a problem with someone racing with another person's race number. That, to me at least, is not classy and, as I taught my son so many years ago, the end does not justify the means.

susan smith said...

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