Saturday, February 12, 2011

Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon

A couple of months ago I ran the Kaiser half and started writing a race recap afterwards but somehow managed not to save most of it. I didn't feel like writing it again but I figured I should at least write a shorter version. The very short version is that I ended up running a rather painful 1:19:50, averaging ~5:50 pace for the first 7 miles before slowing down significantly for the last few miles. Here are my splits:
5:48, 11:34(5:46), 17:36(6:02), 23:37(6:01), 29:33(5:56), 35:11(5:38), 40:52(5:41), 46:54(6:02), 53:05(6:11), 59:36(6:30), 65:59(6:23), 1:12:39(6:40),1:19:50(7:11 for the last 1.1 mile)

Before getting into some more details about the race I should I guess mention what I've been up to since the last time I showed up signs of life on this blog. Last September, as I was getting ready for Alumni XC, I was starting to get a little more consistent in my training and I was hoping I would carry on and increase my volume even more afterwards. Unfortunately that hasn't happened and I was actually less consistent over the last few months. I've been good about running on weekends and in general I would run 8-10 miles on Saturday and follow that with a 13-16 mile long run on Sunday. Weekdays though were pretty much hit or miss and most weeks I would only manage to get out the door once or twice more. So I probably averaged something around 30-35 miles per week and wasn't running any workouts either.

A few weeks before Kaiser I started thinking that I needed something to motivate me and that's why I decided to sign up for the half. I knew I wasn't really in shape to run a half and I wasn't expecting much but thought it would be good to get in a race again, even if I would run it as a workout. When I signed up I was thinking that I'd probably start out running 6:30s and try to finish up the last few miles at a tempo effort. Two weeks before the half I ran my first workout since September and ran 3200-1600-4x800 in 11:16, 5:15, 2:32, 2:32, 2:31, 2:31. The following week I ran 5x1600 in 5:21, 5:21, 5:21, 5:25, 5:16. I was definitely surprised as I was running considerably faster than my last workouts without really having trained much in between.

After those workouts I wasn't sure what to shoot for and thought it would be best to start out somewhat conservatively, somewhere around 6:00, and push the last half if I felt good. That plan kind of went out the window once the race started and the adrenaline rush I got from racing again made the first couple of miles a little faster than what I wanted. I was feeling rather comfortable though so I just went with it. I settled a bit in miles 3-5 but got faster again on miles 6-7, thanks in part to a downhill section through the park. I was still feeling pretty good at mile 7 but soon things changed once we turned along Ocean beach. While I was still feeling fine aerobically, my legs started having trouble handling the pounding and soon I was in survival mode instead of racing. I struggled to keep myself moving and got passed by quite a few people, which was a bit disheartening, but at that point I wasn't thinking about racing and only wanted to get myself to the finish. I somehow managed to get to the finish line without completely falling apart but was pretty much wiped out. I walked straight to my car afterwards and headed home without doing any stretching or cool-down. It was definitely one of the most painful races I've ever run.

I had mixed feelings after the race but after thinking about it for a while I wound up feeling fairly good about it. I know it's hard to get excited about running almost 10 minutes slower than my PR but it's not too bad considering how much I've been running. In September I only managed to average just under 6:00 for 5 miles and now I was just over 6:00 for 13. I know the comparison between cross country and the roads is not exactly fair but still, that's quite an improvement in my book. So, a step in the right direction I suppose.