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Mercedes Half-Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Birmingham, Alabama
United States
Birmingham Marathon, Inc.
40F / 4C
Total Time = 1h 51m 38s
Overall Rank = 566/2667
Age Group = M 25-29
Age Group Rank = 63/158
Pre-race routine:

No routine. I was sick most of the week before so hydration was the key. I woke up at 5:00 had a banana, watermelon and half a powerbar. I drank half a bottle of cytomax en route to the race.
Event warmup:

I made it downtown aroun 6:20 and sat in the warm car for a while. About 6:45 I began stretching out and jogging. I jumped in the corral about 5 minutes before the race start. I seeded myself a bit ahead of the 4 hour marathon pace group.
  • 1h 51m 38s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 31s  min/mile

I was under doctors orders to take it easy. That seemed like a plan since it wasn't an "A" race for me. Well, the gun went off and so did we. My HR took a quick spike and I slowed down a bit. I have a knack for going out too hard and the first mile is always indicative of this. My plan was to run the first half in low zone2 before bumping up to high zone2 for the second half. That way I would force myself to hold back.

I struggled to get my HR down into zone 2 as it seemed to stick in mid z-3. I decided at this point to just run by pace and rate of perceived exertion (RPE). This seemed to work. My pace for the first three miles was smooth. Somewhere during mile 5, I stopped to empty an otherwise full bladder which provided much needed relief.

Half way through mile 5 and all mile 6 was an climb up Greensprings. It also amazes me the people who clearly never train on hills. I was surging up the hill past people. I also let my HR climb into z4 for a bit. Once I reached the summit of the hill and mile 6, I knew I was in good shape. I could tell that I was a few minutes ahead of schedule...and I was feeling good.

Mile 6-9 were small rollers through the neighborhoods. My heartrate was stuck in zone 3 but my pace was comfortable and I didn't feel labored. I hit the final hill around mile 10 and it definitely took some out of me. The final 3 miles were nearly all downhill and flat. At this juncture I knew that unless I blew up, I would be on pace for a PR.

At mile 11, I picked it up a bit more to see if the pack would come with me...and they did. Mile 12 was a beautiful site. I picked it up a bit more over the last half mile but realized that I needed to hold back and not kill myself today. I crossed the finish line only to run into my high school track coaches.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Maybe more targeted training. Despite the time, I didn't really feel like I was pushing it out there. I felt like I was on cruise control for most of the race.
Post race
Warm down:

I felt good after I was done. I found my parents and then went to cracker barrel for food!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Spotty training over the past month...and the flu the week before. This was the first time I ever actually raced a half mary outside an HIM or pacing friends, so I never really knew what I could do out there. I have another half mary in 6 weeks. Now the bar has been set.

Event comments:

I was really shocked how much support there was in the Birmingham community...that impressed me. I found the location of aid stations a bit odd. I would like to see them ever mile...I never really knew when the next one would appear. However, they were fully staffed with PLENTY of volunteers.

I liked this race and might make it a staple in my training.

Last updated: 2008-02-06 12:00 AM
01:51:38 | 13.1 miles | 08m 31s  min/mile
Age Group: 63/158
Overall: 566/2667
Performance: Good
8:39-155, 8:36-153, 8:28-154, 8:35-156, 9:27-152, 9:07-158, 8:25-155, 8:48-154, 8:30-155, 8:32-157, 7:59-157, 8:06-160, 7:54-163
Course: Half the course is in downtown Birmingham where it is relatively flat. There is a large climb into the neighborhood where you have rolling hills before coming back downtown.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2008-02-13 9:31 AM

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Nashville, TN
Subject: Mercedes Half-Marathon

2008-02-13 10:59 AM
in reply to: #1209188

Extreme Veteran
Atlanta, GA
Subject: RE: Mercedes Half-Marathon

Congrats on a great race. Not a bad race for just taking it easy. With steady training and no illness, you should be ready for another half marathon PR in six weeks.

I liked your observation about the hills. I love me some hills, well most of the time, in races and always wonder why people seem to prefer flats.

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