Pittsburgh Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
United States
Pittsburgh Marathon
60F / 16C
Total Time = 1h 53m 59s
Overall Rank = 1965/12135
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 171/590
Pre-race routine:

Laid all of my stuff out the night before. Woke up at 4:30 am. Ate Cheerios, drank water, and took a huge croissant to eat on the way. Parked at SHV and rode the trolley to Wood St. Dropped my spare clothes and refilled my water bottle at the office.
Event warmup:

Walked to Wyndham and met my pace group. Stood around and talked until we moved up to Corral C. Corral was probably a quarter mile from the start line.
  • 1h 53m 59s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 42s  min/mile

Started out slowly due to congestion. Stayed with pace group for first several miles. Started to pick up the pace on the Northside and pulled away. Tried to keep the pace around 8:24 / mile (1:50 pace). Right IT band and hip capsule pain started around mile 3.5, but neither really ever got unbearable.
Focused on keeping cadence high and body upright (not bending over at the waist) and running tight corners.
Ran with my 20 oz hand-held water bottle which worked out great. Refilled it from water stations two or three times. Water stops were too infrequent for the warm day. Was so glad I had the bottle to bridge those long gaps. Took one Honey Stinger 10 minutes before the gun and at mile 6.
Pace started to fade at mile 10, but picked it back up.
The uphill onto Forbes Ave after crossing the Birmingham Bridge was the most difficult.
Lost mental focus during mile 13. After cresting the top of the Blvd of the Allies, the finish line looked very close, so I picked up the pace. Then the road dipped down, and the finish dropped out of view. This was demoralizing. Lost track of my pace and cadence. When the road rose up and the finish was in view again, it seemed even farther away. Just plugged away at the end, but could have probably finished a little stronger.
Overall, a very satisfying race.
What would you do differently?:

Maybe move up to Corral B to alleviate some of the congestion?
Be smarter and mentally tougher. Maybe drive the course to eliminate surprises. Focus on the Garmin distance, not the visually-perceived distance.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked into Point State Park. Had more water, a banana, and pineapple. Stretched as best as I could in the grass. Had masseuse work on my IT band. He said, "oh yeah, I can feel it's tight."

What limited your ability to perform faster:

First time racing at this distance, so I did not have a benchmark. It was hard to know what was too fast and when I could push harder. Most training runs were at 50 degrees F or cooler. Running in the heat was a different experience.

Also, during training, I tended to max out my HR at 173. But I spent match of this race in that area. Still need to do a test to check my max HR. I'm sure it increased during the training. I was a little cautious a couple of times when I saw higher numbers. I think the fitness was there, however, to redline it for longer periods of time.

Since I did not know what race pace was, I did not do a lot of training at faster race pace.

Event comments:

Really well organized race. The expo was top notch. Signage was clear. Things happened on time. Technology was great: i.e. real time Facebook and text updates of race splits. Plenty of food and drinks afterward. Lots of volunteers. The main neighborhoods (South Side, North Side, West End) had great turnouts. Bands were great and motivating.

Last updated: 2012-01-05 12:00 AM
01:53:59 | 13.1 miles | 08m 42s  min/mile
Age Group: 171/590
Overall: 1965/12135
Split Time Distance Avg Pace Summary 1:54:02.6 13.30 8:34 1 9:27.2 1.00 9:27 2 9:23.3 1.00 9:23 3 9:04.8 1.00 9:05 4 8:54.3 1.00 8:54 5 8:12.7 1.00 8:13 6 8:39.4 1.00 8:39 7 8:32.1 1.00 8:32 8 8:20.8 1.00 8:21 9 8:20.8 1.00 8:21 10 8:33.4 1.00 8:33 11 8:19.2 1.00 8:19 12 8:26.9 1.00 8:27 13 7:28.8 1.00 7:29 14 2:18.9 0.30 7:40
Course: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/175450403
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4