Sunday, September 04, 2005

Half-Marathon Report: "Get Out of my Way, I'm Coming Through!"

This morning was the South Pfalz Half-Marathon in the Rhineland Pfalz town of Ruelzheim. There were also a 5:2K, 10K and a couple youth races being offered by the same sports club. My run was scheduled to start at 9:20 a.m. so we left early enough so that we had at least an hour before the start. Last year I ran the 10K event, so we were familiar with the clubs activities.

This year the temperature was about 19C/66F at 8:00 a.m., though it did warm up to 27C/81F by the time we left at 1 p.m. Anyway the weather was cool with a very slight breeze as we arrived at the race site, almost idea conditions for a race. This became obvious, the club area was packed with runners try to sign up before the race started. I had signed up ahead of time so was able to pay and pick up my starting number without waiting for too long. Based on my experience from last year I knew that the club had very limited toilet facilities so I got in line right away. The line for the poor ladies had wound itself outside and halfway around the building.

Anyway about 20 minutes before the start I loosened up and jogged around the blog, then made my way to the starting line. The half-marathon (HM) started after all the other races so we had an opportunity to send off the first groups. There were about 400 people signed up for the HM, about 50 more than last year.

My race plans for the day were to run slightly faster than my planned marathon pace (6:00/K, 9:39/M), the idea being to conserve my energy for my marathon in two weeks. After the first kilometer or two I knew this strategy was doomed.

I completed the first 2K each with a pace of 5:15/K (8:27/M). I managed to slow down to 5:25 for the 3K, but ran the 4K and 5K at 5:00/K (8:03/M). After the first 5K (3.1M) I was feeling really good, fresh and strong, so I decided just to run how I felt. And I felt good!

The 6K, 7K, 8K and 9K kilometers were all under 5:10/K (8:19/M), I was feeling fabulous! After the 9K point and a service area (water) I decided I should slow down just a bit, but after a kilometer or so I got trapped in a passing game with a couple dudes and ended up picking up the pace again. I remember doing the 15K in 4:50/K (7:47/M), the fastest kilometer that I noticed for the day (wish I had a Forerunner!). By this time I left the dudes that were playing the passing game in the dust (Yeah!) and I started working on passing everyone I could in front of me. I felt like a stalker on the great hunt! From this point on no one passed ME anymore. Wow!

By the 18K or so point I was starting to feel the effects of my pace, but no cramps or anything weird so I kept pushing it. Around the 20K point my legs were aching from the workout, but I kept up at a steady pace. I stopped looking at my stopwatch after the 19K point as I decided I really didn’t want to know how fast I was going (the only time I remembered I have a marathon coming up).

The last kilometer was hard, but I still managed to sprint the last few hundred meters over the finish line.

My time: 1:48:12!

My best HM time before this was in March, 1:53:29. So this was a new PR!

Hope I can still run a marathon in two weeks ;-)

Actually my legs are feeling pretty good, sore, but no cramps or abnormal pain, pulls or peculiarities. I’m actually thinking about asking if my wife wants to go for a bike ride. Have a nice weekend and wish the New Haven Bunch a great race!

AWESOME, Jack!! You were flying! I hope I can steal some of your speed for tomorrow's race :-)

We'll be thinking of you down in New Haven!
Wow!!! Congrats on the PR.

By the way, quotting you "jogged around the blog"... I wonder where you mind was, lol. :-)
Wow, I'm late saying so, but what a super race. Jack, your marathon is going to rock - you are sooooo ready!!
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