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Run For Life Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Madison, Mississippi
United States
Start 2 Finish Event Management
60F / 16C
Total Time = 1h 52m
Overall Rank = 37/395
Age Group = 40-49
Age Group Rank = 1/78
Pre-race routine:

I managed to get myself up early enough to have a "normal" morning. Took care of the zoo, ate some breakfast, fussed with my coffee maker, stretched, and walked the dog. Popped my Hammer supplements: Race Caps Supreme, Anti-Fatigue, Endurance Amino, and Tissue Rejuvenator and a Nutrilite rhodiola. Got to the race site about 6:30a.
Event warmup:

Shrugged out of my long pants and jacket, donned gloves, and took off for an easy 10 min run around the Wal-Mart parking lot just to get the blood moving. Plenty of time to hit the porta-john before sliding into the crowd.
  • 1h 52m
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 33s  min/mile

Especially for longer races, I always have a plan of some sort. I like the 3-part plan for a half or full marathon because it breaks the race into manageable chunks. Plans are good, but plans that come together in the actual race are rare. Today was one of those days.

I felt relatively confident going into the race that I could beat my 1:58 from March. The weather was perfect and it's a flat and fast course. I was hoping for 1:56, at least, maybe even 1:55. Other than March's race, the last time I had run under 2 hours in a half marathon was in 2000, and I am pretty sure I hadn't run under 2 hours in the 10 years preceding that. Needless to say, I was faster in my younger days...or so I thought.

This race was also a benchmark for my marathon training. I would use the results to evaluate my training so far, to adjust training paces going into the last 6-7 weeks, and to set an overall goal for the marathon itself.

With all of that in mind, I was determined to run hard, but knew I had to take the first mile easy. Even with a warmup mile, running balls to the wall the first mile of any race never works for me. I have to ease into it. And so I did. After the first mile, which was right around 9:40, I sped up a bit and settled into a comfortable pace that kept my heart rate in high zone 2 or low zone 3 for the first 5 miles. I was feeling great and easily passing people right from the start. Those first 5 miles flew by, and the next thing I knew, I was hitting my lap button and focusing on picking up the pace for the next 5 miles. The goal was to push the heart rate solidly into zone 3 without getting out of control. At mile 10, I was so far ahead of pace, a quick calculation showed I could run the last 5k at a 10 min/mile pace and still beat my March time. The plan, though, was to push even harder through the last 5k and let my heart rate begin to drift into zone 4. I was still feeling great, but around mile 11 my legs started to feel slightly discombobulated. I had to tell myself to hold it together...only 2 more miles. At this point, I had passed a lot of people, and I felt as if I was actually racing. I knew placing in my age group was likely as I was somewhere in the top 15 of women overall. That last 5k was hard. It is where the only uphill part of the course is, but even with a slightly extended walk at the last water stop, I still managed to run it at a faster pace than the previous 5 miles. Exactly to plan.

Today's 1:52 was 10 minutes faster than my time at this race last year and 6 minutes faster than Gasparilla in March. It was 5 minutes faster than my most recent half marathon PR (2000). It's still quite a bit off my fastest half marathon ever of 1:40-something, but that was back in 1990 or something. I may never see that again, but my time yesterday showed me a couple of things: my training is going well (now, just need to stay healthy), and I am setting myself up to run one of my fastest marathons ever.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing at all.
Post race
Warm down:

I had intended to run an easy mile as a warm down. There was nothing in my legs, though, so settled for a walk to my car and then back to the finish line for the awards.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not sure I could have gone faster.

Event comments:

This is a first class race with professional timing (I really like the B-tags on the numbers rather than chips on shoes). Finishers' medals are very nice, and there is plenty of food afterward. Despite the nice cash payouts for overall winners (and really nice $10 gift certificates for AG placers), this is definitely a race for beginners and women. There were probably more run/walk or walk only participants than runners. And of the 395 total finishers, 268 were women. A marathon is run at the same time and is just 2 loops of the same course. While I find the course perfect for a half, not sure I would want to go around again.

Last updated: 2011-08-02 12:00 AM
01:52:00 | 13.1 miles | 08m 33s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/78
Overall: 37/395
Performance: Good
Specifics are on the workout log, but broke the race up into 3 parts: 5 miles, 5 miles, 5k. Goal was to up the level of effort each section. Worked out perfectly.
Course: Starts and finishes at Liberty Park across from the Madison Wal-Mart. Loops over to and out-and-back on Galleria Parkway. Very flat and fast. (However, only hills come at the very end.)
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2011-10-16 4:17 PM

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Madison, MS
Subject: Run For Life Half Marathon

2011-10-16 6:28 PM
in reply to: #3725781

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Subject: RE: Run For Life Half Marathon
Fantastic job Karen! I can't wait to see how you do in your marathon.
2011-10-17 8:10 AM
in reply to: #3725889

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Madison, MS
Subject: RE: Run For Life Half Marathon

ebshot - 2011-10-16 6:28 PM Fantastic job Karen! I can't wait to see how you do in your marathon.

Me too! The key is going to be to stay injuries, no illnesses.

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