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Colfax Half Marathon Race Report

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by , 05-20-2010 at 12:33 PM (1515 Views)
According to the McMillan calculator my best race of the year was my 17:47 5k back in March, which is equivalent to a 1:22:12 half marathon. I figured I could run sub 1:22 on Sunday, thus that was my goal.

The previous week was spent moving, thus little sleep and my back has been in total agony. The night before I made the mistake of eating a Philly Cheesesteak and my stomach was a mess.

I woke up on race day and ran over to King Soopers to find something to eat for breakfast, since the house is in a state of disarray. I went for the Nick Clark breakfast and had two glazed donuts and slugged a Red Bull. Arrived at City Park and got in a two mile warm-up.

The race started at 6:45am and the temperature was ideal. The first mile was the usual, people shooting out of the start and at the half mile point I was running next to a rather plump girl wearing soccer shorts. I was amazed that she was able to run a Ĺ mile at 6:20 pace.

The first mile out of City Park was in 6:21. The course is a simple out and back, run east on Colfax and then west on 17th street, however the first half of the race is slightly uphill and there was a bit of a headwind going out. Mile 2 was in 6:13, mile 3 in 6:23, mile 4 in 6:18. The first few miles I was running relaxed and with two other guys. In front of me I could see Mike Q. and Scott K. both were on my radar and they were running with a pack of 5-6 people including the first female.

After the fifth mile the pack in front of me started to break apart and I passed the first female as she was slowing considerable. The two guys that I was running with, one had dropped back and another hung on to my shoulder. At this point in the race I started to get a side stitch which rarely happens for me, but my stomach was still out of sorts and I just concentrated on breathing and staying relaxed.

Mile 5 in 6:06 and Mile 6 in 6:09, Mile 7 in 6:22 with a decent sized hill. At the turn around point Scott K. and Mike Q. had separated, Mike was a good amount ahead of me and I wasnít sure if I could catch him, but Scott seemed to be fading. I counted 20 seconds between him and myself at the turn around and had passed him less than a mile later, with mile 8 in 5:59.
With the home stretch only five miles away, a slight downhill and a tailwind, I was feeling good. My back tightened up a bit, not sure if it was from moving or what, but it eventually went away. Mike Q. was keeping me motivated, but he looked strong and had passed another runner. I didnít even bother to count the time gap, as I didnít want to discourage myself. Mile 9 in 5:49, Mile 10 in 6:12.

With three miles to go, I had passed another runner and Mike was 20 seconds in front of me, I kept pushing and came through mile 11 in 6:05. Right before mile 12, I passed Mike, called him a few nasty names and made my way to the finish. Jeff Prata was in front of me, I knew I was gaining on him, but I was not able to catch him.

I closed out the race running the final two miles both in 5:53, to finish with a 1:20:32 (6:08 pace) and a new half marathon PR. The old PR was a 1:21:59 at the Quad Cities Half Marathon, back in Iowa, so itís nice to run that kind of time at elevation.
The week leading up the race was light, mostly due to moving but I also wanted the legs to be fresh for the race. Even though last week should have been my highest mileage week leading up to the San Diego Marathon, I figured it was better to run a good race and have some confidence going into the marathon.

My new half marathon equates to a 2:49+ marathon at elevation. Itís obvious that I do better at the longer distances than the shorter stuff. I passed Lonnie Cruz around mile 9, beat him by almost two minutes but his 5k times are about 20-25 seconds faster than mine.

Starting to wonder what I should shoot for at San Diego. If I was running NYC Marathon in three weeks, I think that I could knock 2-3 minutes off of last yearís 2:48, but San Diego is an easier/faster course. Perhaps a 2:44?

Running negative splits, I will say this. I often feel like I have stumbled upon a running technique that no one else has been able to figure out. It baffles me to see people go out so hard and to die, I just hate finishing a race like that. I ran like that in high school, but by the time I was 19 or 20, I figured out how to pace myself, but it is seriously something that 90%+ of people at road races cannot seem to do.

I will say this; the downside of running negative splits is you wonder if you left something out on the course. My average pace was 6:08, last two miles were in 5:53. Could I have run one more mile at sub 6:08 pace? If I could have, that means at some point in the race I wasnít pushing hard enough.

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