PF Changs Rock and Roll Half Marathon Race Report
Jamie and I, well just me actually, woke up at 4:15 am or so. Jamie rolled out of bed closer to 5 and we hit the road at 5:20. We had signed up for a hospitality tent that was heated with food and porta johns and they had a private parking area and buses to the start. It's $50/person but really makes the morning easy with a point to point race and chilly morning. A lot of our friends were also there so we had a great time waiting for the 8:30 start.
So my plan was to start fast and get my HR up into the mid 160's. My run LT is right around 168 bpm's so I targeted 165 as a good effort to try and average. I have been running a lot this winter as I always do, upwards of 50 miles per week and my tempo runs have been pretty quick so I thought it would be great to shoot for a sub 1:20. My PR was a 1:22:53 on this course 2 years ago.But to be honest, the thought of running 6 lows for 13 miles seemed a bit out of reach, so rather than racing using splits per mile, I just used HR as I know that so well and what I can do with it. If the result was there, all the better.
The first few miles felt great. I was running so smooth and steady and it felt effortless. I went through mile 1 in 5:50 and realized I needed to slow down just a bit. Eric and John were right behind me, although I could hear John breathing hard. I cam to 5K and hit my watch for a split.
OK, that's very good, maybe I can hold on to this pace. The crowds began to thin out and I began the long stretch down McDowell Road. John and dropped at this point and I could see Eric's reflection in the store windows as we went by still behind me. I yelled for him to come up and join me but he was starting to fade. I was still feeling very good, running well, with my HR still around 164-165. I had one gel with me and planned on taking that and my only drink just after 10K which was coming.
Wow, I actually negative split that first 10K but I didn't realize it at the time. I was beginning to believe I might actually make it under 1:20. I had some wiggle room but needed to keep pushing. My ZOOT TT 4.0's felt fast and light and I was slowly passing runners who went out too hard. In fact, I wasn't passed at all after mile 4 so I knew my pacing was good. I knew miles 7,8,and 9 would be hard as I was starting to feel like I wish this was over already. Between 9 and 10 are the only meaningful hills on the course and they hurt but I shortened by stride and hussled up them well. When I got to mile 10, I took a moment to check the time.
10 Miles- 1:00:23
Uh-oh. This is getting really tight. I went from thinking I had it to thinking I was going to come up seconds short. I ahd to figure out a way to find those seconds so I launched myself up the road....Or so I thought. My HR began to falter, dropping into the low 160'sdespite my efforts to increase my turnover. Was I running faster? It sure didn't feel that way but I was catching up to the random runner ahead. My legs felt heavy and unresponsive and visually to me it looked like I was running 8 min miles. I was running down Mill Ave, the same road I race on multiple times per year so i knew what it felt like to be in pain on this road. Miles 11 and 12 came by and I was now sure I wasn't going to make it. I kept trying to do the math in my head and I kept coming up short based on how fast I thought I was going. Even on Rio Salado with less than a 1/4 mile to go I was sure I was short. When I reached the parking lot I checked my watch again and realized I was going to do it but I kept running hard knowing it would be tight. The chute is so long and I just came down as hard as I could, seeing the 1:19:1X ticking away on it. I heard the announcer say my name and home town and that the look on my face wasn't a smile but a grimace of pain. Yeah, no shit Sherlock. I crossed and gave a good fist pump.
Final Time: 1:19:29, 70th OA and 4th in M40-44
As soon as I crossed, I got my act together and tuned to see Eric come in sub 1:22, which was a min. faster than his goal time. John was another min or so back. It was great to see all my friends finish, and then I anxiously awaited Jamie who cam across in 1:43 and had a great race for where her run fitness is right now. She's gearing up for a 3:40 attack at the OC Marathon in May where I will be running the Half...and looking for a sub 1:19. ;)