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Armadillo Dash, Half-Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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College Station, Texas
United States
55F / 13C
Total Time = 1h 36m 30s
Overall Rank = 32/769
Age Group = M50-54
Age Group Rank = 3/34
Pre-race routine:

Woke at 0500, drove the 45 miles to the race site while eating my standard pre-race breakfast.

We would have great weather; 55 degrees, cloudy skies, and light winds.

I signed up for this race at the last minute when I stumbled across it while up in College Station a few days earlier. I was really wanting to see how well I could do in a stand alone half, because I had never run one. I was hoping to better my 1:35 split that I had at the Houston Marathon back in January.

After going to packet pick-up on Saturday, I drove part of the course and confirmed right away that this would not be a PR kind of a race. The hills aren't "that bad", but they are constant; with an uphill start for the first 1-1/2 miles and the last 3/4 mile uphill to the finish.

I was going to keep 4 splits at miles 3, 6, 9, & 12 and shoot for 21 minutes per split and an 8 to 9 minute kick at the end to get me in the 1:33 range. Shoot high; that was my goal anyway...
Event warmup:

Ran ~10 minutes at a nice easy pace on the nearby soccer fields. Had the warm-ups on and so I got a nice sweat going. Ditched the warm-ups in the truck and went over to the start area.

Got right up on the start line and starting looking for the other old guys who I'd be competing against. Met a guy doing the same thing as me. He said he would run a 1:30-1:32, but he was in the 40-44 AG. (That was good news.)

They delayed the race 10 minutes waiting for people stuck in traffic, so there went my perfectly executed warm-up. There was a light breeze blowing and I actually started getting chilled. While the announcer was still talking, I went for a 200 yard jog just to keep the blood going.

Finally; they sang the National Anthem, said the prayer, and blew the horn.
  • 1h 36m 30s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 22s  min/mile

I went out hard at the start to establish as fast a pace as I could while going up the hill. I wasn't feeling bad, but I really wasn't in top form. I seemed to struggle with getting into a smooth rhythm. It was hard to gauge the effort because the hill was causing me to breath hard and raise the heart rate.

I was right up front, but the really fast guys pulled away and one by one the other fast runners started slipping by me. I hadn't blown up; just settling in to my race pace (7:00-7:15).

Not much to comment on: There was no scenery, so I just kept my head down and focused on the pain of pushing hard. I finally established my typical breathing and striding pattern, but I was never able to fully recreate that race mojo I had in Houston back in January.

I remember totally missing getting water at the first water station because the girl had it so full and she moved just as I flew by. Water just sprayed everywhere. No biggie; there'd be another station in a couple miles and hydration wasn't going to be a major issue today.

I remember a side stitch at mile 5 because I rarely get these. I continued to breath hard and it passed away within a couple of minutes.

I remember "missing" mile marker #7 and being surprised when I saw #8. It's always nice when you've gone a little farther than you thought you have.

I remember hearing the distinctive "slap-slap-slap" of a young guy running in Vibram 5-Fingers as he passed me about mile 9.

I remember 2 girls passing me at mile 10, and then I re-passed them, and then they re-passed me for good at mile 11. And 1 of the girls had the weirdest gait with her feet flinging from side to side. It looked bad, but she made it work for her. (When I say "girls"; they were 15yo... I checked the results.)

I remember a 30-something guy passing me at mile 12 and saying, "Come on Ironman, let's finish this." (He was referring to my M-dot tat.)

I remember kicking strongly up that last 3/4 mile to the finish.

I remember the announcer pronouncing my name 98% correctly as I crossed the finish line.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I ran as hard as could for 13.1 miles. I'd put out a solid Z3-4 effort the whole way.

1-3 = 20:31
4-6 = 22:12
7-9 = 22:17
10-12 = 23:01
Final 1.1 = 8:23

I never really faded, but I did slow down chugging up those hills between miles 6 and 12 and I'll admit it.
Post race
Warm down:

I was very sweaty, but the breeze cooled me off quickly. It didn't take long for a chill to set in.

Got a sports drink and walked around looking for any older guys that finished ahead of me. Found one guy who'd beat me, but he was in the 55-59 AG. Chatted with him a bit; he's been to Boston 3 times and said it's the best race he's ever been to. Outstanding.

Hmmm? I wondered how I'd done in the AG?? I didn't think I'd won, but I knew I was FOP for sure. Once they posted the preliminary results I saw that I had finished 3rd in the AG and 32nd overall; hey that's pretty good!

1st and 2nd place had run 1:30's, so even if I'd run a 1:33, I still would have been 3rd. Interestingly, my time would have won the 45-49 AG and been second in the 55-59 AG. The guy who finished 2nd in my AG was from Florida. Now who comes from Florida to run a medium sized race?

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I hadn't really "trained" or tapered for this race and I'm maybe not fully recovered from my Rocky Raccoon trail run in February. And I'm still on the training schedule for Boston anyway.

All of that being said; I'm very pleased with the result.

I'll still need to find a "flat & fast" course for a true PR attempt.

Event comments:

I rated this race a 4 based on the fact that it's a good, basic race. It's a certified course, accurate mile markers, plenty of volunteers, good traffic control, and a decent finisher's medal. If you want anything more; don't come here.

Cheap swag in the race packet (chap stick and sunglasses strap), the t-shirt is some funky technical fabric that stays wrinkled regardless of how it's washed and dried, AG awards go 1 deep. Post race food is bagels, oranges, bananas, crackers, water, and sports drink.

I'm not complaining; I already have all the t-shirts, water bottles, hats, medals, shoe laces, etc. etc. that I can possibly need or use. They save their money and give it to their charity; I'm cool with that.

This is the 4th year of this race and it gets bigger every year. They also run a 5K at the same time, so that's where they get the "Dash" part of the name.

All I want is an honest race; and that's why I gave it a 4.

Last updated: 2010-03-06 12:00 AM
01:36:30 | 13.1 miles | 07m 22s  min/mile
Age Group: 3/34
Overall: 32/769
Performance: Good
Course: A loop on highways and country back roads east of College Station. Rolling hills; you were either going uphill or downhill the whole time. The "scenery" is mixed woods, industrial buildings, country neighborhoods, and the busiest highway in the region; certainly nothing special. This is NOT a "flat & fast" course.
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? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2010-03-10 10:30 PM

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Waller County, TX
Subject: Armadillo Dash, Half-Marathon

2010-03-11 8:30 AM
in reply to: #2720040

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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Armadillo Dash, Half-Marathon are on some kind of runing jag these days! A mary/an ultra on trails/a half mary - and it's not even Spring yet!


Doin' this race bodes really well for Boston - You're gonna have a great day at the big dance..
2010-03-13 8:31 AM
in reply to: #2720040

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Frisco, Texas
Subject: RE: Armadillo Dash, Half-Marathon
Great race and race report.  1 deep .  Top 3 finish is great.  I'm liking the half distances - HIM and 1/2 mary - long enough to be challenging but short enough to really use some speed.
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