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Country Music 1/2 Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Nashville, Tennessee
United States
Elite Racing
60F / 16C
Total Time = 1h 42m 37s
Overall Rank = 925/21398
Age Group = F 30-34
Age Group Rank = 39/2269
Pre-race routine:

Woke up shortly after 5:00 a.m. It had been storming overnight and it was still windy and raining outside. Laura (StartingToTri) and I met Ellen in the hotel lobby where we had breakfast and reviewed our Operation Keep Everything Dry Despite the Steady Rain strategies. Then Team in Training was nice enough to open up their shuttle buses to anyone needing a ride to the race site so we sent Kim back to bed and the three of us hopped on and headed out.
Event warmup:

Shortly after we got to the race site the rain actually started to come down harder. After confirming everything was wrapped in waterproof plastic, we finally checked our bags and got in line for the porta potties wearing our quite stylish anti rain garbage bags. This is where I split from Laura and Ellen as we were in different corrals. When I headed to my corral I got a little jogging in and then finally ditched the garbage bag as I lined up with the others. Luckily the rain was tapering off finally so I hoped it would be finishing up for good.
  • 1h 42m 37s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 50s  min/mile

My two goals for this race were to have fun and run hard. Despite the rain I still planned on doing that. I might need to revise my finish time if the wind and rain continued, but that shouldn't affect my ability to have fun and run hard (I'm learning to practice the whole "don't stress over things you can't control" thing). But the rain never came back once the race started. Although it was extremely humid because everything was still so wet, the temperature was perfect for running. I was in corral 3 so there were fortunately only a couple thousand people in front of me at the race start. They start the corrals a minute apart so the first mile or so is fairly open. After a couple of miles you start to mesh with the earlier corrals, plus corrals that started after you start catching up, and miles 3-5 were a bit more crowded, but still not bad.

The plan my coach and I had agreed to was that I would run around a 7:55 pace for the first nine miles and then when the hills tapered off, pick up the pace for the last four miles if I felt good. I fell off pace for a couple of the miles due to hills (and I confess one mile where I lost my focus just a bit for part of it), but I got it back pretty quickly. When I saw those two miles tick off at over an 8 minute pace I calmly told myself there was no reason to worry. I had been steady for the rest of the miles and now that the big hill was over, I just needed to get back on pace. There would be time to make up the lost seconds later.

I had hoped for a PR, but my actual PR was run on a perfectly flat course in Chicago so I had slept in my own bed, had no real travel, and could completely control my diet. I also knew going in that a PR would be extremely difficult given this course was much hillier and thus, much tougher for me. I trained on hills as best I could in the weeks preceding the race and I know they made a huge difference in my ability to handle this course as well as I did. Around miles 8-9 I knew a PR wasn't likely, but I wasn't about to let that throw me off. I wasn't willing to give up a single second just because I wouldn't achieve the PR anyway. I still wanted to finish as strong as possible. I reminded myself of my goals and I told myself that there is no giving up there's just running hard and doing the best you can.

When mile 9 hit I started to pick up the pace, just as planned. My legs were really feeling the course by that point, but yet I still felt pretty strong. I knew it was going to hurt (I had planned on that too), but I knew I could do it if I really pushed myself. I ticked off my last four miles at a 7:45 or better pace. Overall I was able to negative split the entire course. I was at a 7:55 pace at the 5k, at a 7:53 pace at mile 10, and finished with a 7:50 pace overall.

Mile splits below. HR average and max is only through part of mile 8 as none of us had brought body glide and the humidity was causing some serious chafing, to the point it was starting to bleed. Based on my own knowledge of my HR and what my HR reading had been for the rest of the race, I could probably give you an estimate of what my HR would be within a few BPMs for the last few miles anyway, so I took that sucker off. Phew.

Mile 1: 7:50, 165, 178
Mile 2: 7:55, 178, 184
Mile 3: 7:59, 166, 182
Mile 4: 7:55, 173, 182
Mile 5: 7:44, 172, 179 (the long downhill)
Mile 6: 8:02, 175, 180 (where my focus fell off just a bit)
Mile 7: 8:07, 177, 182 (the long uphill)
Miles 8 and 9: 15:30 (started to pick the pace up here)
Mile 10: 7:37
Mile 11: 7:45
Mile 12: 7:37
Mile 13: 7:43
Mile 13.1: 0:53
What would you do differently?:

I could have maintained my focus a bit better in the one mile where I fell off for a couple of minutes. I possibly could have pushed harder during the mile with the never ending hill, but I can't be sure I wouldn't have paid for that with a few seconds later on in the course.

We also drove the course the day before the race so I could get a visual sense of what I'd be running. It's not quite the same as running it through. Knowing the course now, I'd be able to strategize a bit better with a couple sections and would like to see if I can improve my time at another running of this race.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around for awhile, got my snacks. I was cold and felt my left hip and quads wanting to cramp so I headed over to gear check to get my warm up stuff. I figured standing around shivering wasn't going to do anything to help the muscles relax.

Then I waited for Laura and Ellen to finish and we all hung out for a bit and then headed back to the hotel for pizza and a nap before we hit downtown Nashville for a few beers.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not knowing exactly what I was in for with the course and not knowing exactly how to train for it. Losing focus for a couple minutes in the middle of the race. Overall I thought things went well though.

Event comments:

This race was very well organized. There were plenty of volunteers, restrooms, fluids, and medical staff. Things were clearly marked at the start and would have been clearly marked at the finish had the rain not forced the organizers to move gear check to a new location (too much mud where it was supposed to be). Elite Racing did an excellent job and I would definitely consider another one of their events.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2008-04-11 12:00 AM
01:42:37 | 13.1 miles | 07m 50s  min/mile
Age Group: 39/2269
Overall: 925/21398
Performance: Good
Course: The course was full of rolling hills. The first few miles they were fairly continuous. Then mile 5 was an essentially continuous downhill followed shortly by the seemingly never ending trek back up the that same hill. The hills continued throughout mile 9 when things seemed to level off a bit. After that, there was definitely more flatish type terrain, although a couple small hills and some false flats were still mixed in.
Keeping cool Good 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? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2008-04-27 2:26 PM

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Wellington, North Island
Subject: Country Music 1/2 Marathon
It was a good race and a fun weekend! :)

Pictures above are Laura, Ellen and I at breakfast before the race; Laura, Ellen and I after the race; and the three of us, plus support crew (Mark and Kim) during the post race festivities.

Edited by MissKelly 2008-04-27 2:28 PM

2008-04-27 4:17 PM
in reply to: #1364746

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Westchester, IL
Subject: RE: Country Music 1/2 Marathon
I only have 2 words Fast KillerKelly. ok I can't count. good job
2008-04-27 5:57 PM
in reply to: #1364746

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, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Country Music 1/2 Marathon
Good golly!  You were fast!  I'm so proud of you.  I personally think you're heading into your best season ever.  Congrats on a great race!
2008-04-27 10:40 PM
in reply to: #1364746

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Extreme Veteran
Algonquin, IL
Subject: RE: Country Music 1/2 Marathon

Hey, you have never let on that you were smoking fast.


2008-04-28 6:22 AM
in reply to: #1364746

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Southwest Chicago 'burbs
Subject: RE: Country Music 1/2 Marathon

Great race report!

Have fun.  (check!)  Run hard.  (check!)  Do awesome. (check!!)

I'm going to agree with your Mom -- I think you've got one helluva season ahead of you. 

2008-04-28 6:28 PM
in reply to: #1364746

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NW Suburbs, Illinois
Subject: RE: Country Music 1/2 Marathon

That is a truly incredible race, especially on the course.  My quick math has you in the top 2% of your Age Group.  The top 2% is some pretty elite territory.

Very nice RR, too.  I enjoy the strategy of running, and I can tell you were on top of your game.

Bring on Alcatraz!!!

2008-05-01 8:21 PM
in reply to: #1364746

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Country Music 1/2 Marathon
Awesome, Awesome job!! You really kicked a@$ out there! And glad you had fun, too!
2008-05-01 9:43 PM
in reply to: #1364746

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Subject: RE: Country Music 1/2 Marathon

Dang you ran wicked fast on a hilly course with wind and rain

Amazing..I agree you are set up to have an amazing season this year..congrats on a smoking time there and cool you negative split! 

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