Unless you have been going through the site and found the Race Results 2011 you would not have known that I was racing this weekend as I have not spoken about it. The reason I did not speak about it is that I wasn’t sure how I was going to approach this race. Was I going to approach it as a long run or was I going to race it.
When Coach C put out the schedule for the week it showed a long run on Saturday of 1 hour and 50 minutes. I texted her and asked if I was not supposed to race and just run at that pace. She told me to race it but didn’t think I would have a PR type of race because we have been going hard for about 1.5 months and no taper. When I say hard I am not kidding. I have been training for 15-16 hours per week for the last 6-8 weeks. It has been taxing on the body and so I understood what she meant by not expecting a PR type of race.
On Friday night I could not sleep and decided to figure out what it would take to get a 1:39, then I figured out that my 15k run from Bold in the Cold was around 7:25/mile and what would that get me. I used that as my gauge and decided I was going to run a 7:25/mile. In the Bold in the Cold I felt great at the end and figured I could do the same for the half-marathon.
I got up on Saturday morning and got myself ready for the race by having a breakfast of a whole wheat nut bread, 2 tbs of sunflower butter and a sliced banana on top with a cup of decaf coffee. I had about an hour before I had to leave so I decided to make homemade granola bars and take my mind off of whether or not I could hold the pace of 7:25/mile or just run. While the granola bars were baking I made a few trips to the bathroom and I thought….uh-oh I should not have eaten so much. I figured that I had enough time to digest the two that it wouldn’t be bad. Fortunately it subsided and I was out the door and ready to head to the race site in McKinney, Texas. This would be about a 35 minute drive.
I arrived at the race site at 7am and gave myself 30 minutes to get warmed and into my mindset. Of course I had to pee now and so I did. Kneeled down and went in the street as the bathrooms were not open yet. The YMCA opened when I was finishing and I went in an had to use the toilet again and I finally felt like I had nothing left in me.
I had been talking and texting with Greg Larsen whom I met on Twitter. You need to follow him if you are not already. Great guy with a great attitude. His twitter handle is @tri2live. Greg sent me his bib number and I headed to the start line. I was headed right to the front of the pack as I made up my mind to race this event. There was Greg and we introduced ourselves and chatted. I told him I was aiming for 1:38 and he told me he was looking at 1:20 but with an ITB and Achilles issue he wasn’t sure if he could get that number.
Once the horn went off we went at our own paces. I kept him and his bright yellow shirt in sight for about the first 0.5 miles. I was feeling great and really cruising.
At Mile 1 looked at my watch and the pace was 7:15. I knew that I could hold this pace as I felt strong and knew that I had banked :10 on the 7:25 goal. Then all of a sudden I was getting passed by about 6-7 people and that included 1 chicked. I was thinking to myself did these people get shot out of cannons? Where did they come from? There are quite a few hills going up and down and up and down. The total elevation gain for the race was 491 ft and I don’t recall much, if any, of a stretch of flat.
The course took us through a lot of neighborhoods around the Stonebridge Ranch and was great to see the volunteers and the fans cheering us on. I hooked up with two guys that were running at around a 7:25/mile pace and figured I would just run with them the entire time. Soon enough though one guy started to slow down and I passed him but the other runner was looking strong. I hitched my wagon to him and let him pull me along until around Mile 5.
At Mile 5 he began to slow a tad and at the same time I noticed the woman that chicked me. I know had two carrots I was chasing. I got past the guy around Mile 5.5 and set my sights on the female. It was an uphill stretch and I pride myself on running uphill. I think I am at my best at going uphill because people tend to keep their stride the same and I pump my knees so that I can get up the hill fast and I don’t stop pumping until about 4-5 steps over the crest as I want to keep the momentum going.
I passed her around Mile 6.5 and told her to keep up the great work and I started to speed up. At this point I had seen miles around the paces of 7:20-7:21 and felt great. It was around Mile 8 that I came up on another runner who had the M-Dot tattoo and looked to be in great running shape and I had another carrot to pursue. As I caught up to him I noticed him grabbing his side. As I passed I asked if he was ok and if he need any of my water or clif shot. He told me he had a GI issue and I said well I can’t help you there and left.
I then saw another guy up ahead and he was one of those that passed me at the beginning of the race. I knew I could catch him as I felt fresh and he looked like he was struggling. I caught him and passed him around Mile 10 and and kept on pushing. I knew I was in good shape and told myself to run the best 5k I ever ran.
This course was very winding so at turns I would look to make sure he was not gaining on me and then all of a sudden there was another runner coming up and he looked fresh. He looked like he just started the race and he passed me as if I were standing still.
I knew I could not keep up with him and so I said to myself just keep that last guy behind you no matter what. I got to the Mile 12 marker and decided that my body could withstand anything for 1 mile and turned it on. I heard the beep from the Garmin and looked down. The time showed a pace for that mile of 6:48. I thought that can’t be right. I then decided not to let up and keep pumping. I knew that the guy I passed wasn’t going to catch me and I tried to figure out what my final time would be. Could I break that 1:41 I set back in November at the DRC Half-Marathon?
I got closer to the finish line and the announcer commented on #242 Jason from Lewisville wearing his rocket red shoes. I almost stopped cold in laughter at this but I only had another 50 feet to the finish line at most. I crossed and looked down and the time came out to be 1:36:29 and I knew that I beat my PR from November by 5 minutes. What a great feeling and my legs felt great and I was not fatigued at all.
I hung out with Greg for a bit and then noticed the results going up so I went to check. I found my name listed 21st and thought to myself that I would be on the podium. As I scrolled my finger up the list the first 5-10 names were not in my age group and then all of a sudden there was 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and a 6th name within the range of M35-39. Wow I thought. I finished 21st overall and yet 7th in my age group. What a fast age group. Congratulations went up to Greg immediately as he finished in 1:28 and came in 2nd in the M30-34 Age Group.
This was a great race and one that I will certainly run again. My first two races of 2011 have resulted in one 3rd place 15k PR time and one 7th place 13.1 mile PR time. 2011 is off to a rousing start for racing.
Here is the route we ran for this half-marathon:
My splits for this race were as follows: