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Armadillo Dash, College Station 13.1 - RunHalf Marathon

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College Station, Texas
United States
38F / 3C
Total Time = 1h 35m 5s
Overall Rank = 59/1268
Age Group = M50-54
Age Group Rank = 3/37
Pre-race routine:

Woke at 0450, drove the 45 miles to race site eating and drinking the pre-race breakfast.

A cold front had blown in on Friday, so we'd have perfect weather for today; cold, clear, light wind.

I had done this race 2 years ago, so I knew what to expect on the hilly course. I'd run a pretty good race with 1:36:30 and placed 3rd in the AG. I had checked the athlete list and last year's AG winner (Robert) was returning, so unless he had a major malfunction, I had little hope of an AG win.

Readers of my blog will know that all my training the last few months was geared for the Minnesota ultra, so I had no illusions of grandeur and if I could post a 1:40 or so, I'd consider it a good day.
Event warmup:

Being a cold morning, I jogged about a mile in a fleece, sweat pants and gloves. I was going to race in shorts, short-sleeve tech shirt, and no gloves. It would be cold at first, but that starts paying off at mile 6 or 7 once things start warming up.

Took off the warm-ups, went to the start area and then had to stand around for almost 25 minutes waiting for the pre-race speeches, national anthem, etc. and another delay to accommodate the late arrivals stuck in traffic.

Tried to bounce around and stretch to stay somewhat warm.
  • 1h 35m 5s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 16s  min/mile

Got right up near the start line and met up with Robert. We chatted for a while; turns out he is into adventure racing, also. We let the really fast guys have the line; no since in being rude about it.

Took off and ran about as fast as I could, but that uphill sure made it seem hard. Got a super-dry mouth from the cold, dry air and snagged a sip of water at the 2-mile aid station.

Once the course leveled out some I was able to establish a decent race pace and I was still sub-21 at mile 3. From miles 3 to 5 my stomach started rebelling and I thought I was going to throw up.

I never have stomach issues, but in retrospect I'd eaten too much of 3 different foods (700+ calories) and drank too much (20oz of G-ade, 19oz of Power Edge & ~10oz of water). I'd eaten like I was in an ultra race instead something that's going to be over with in less than 2 hours. A 'not thinking' mistake; it's been awhile since I've run a short race.

Nothing to do, but keep running. Little by little, the bad feeling started to minimize itself as I kept up the pace. I was right at 42:00 at the 6 mile mark and that's about when you start hitting the hills.

Started to slow somewhat. The fast folks were gone and I was ahead of the rest of the field, so I didn't see too many runners. I got passed by a couple of folks and I passed some others.

The sweat was starting to flow, but the hands were stone-cold numb. Don't need no hands no how. I carried a gel, but never thought about taking it; who needed it after all I'd already eaten?

The pace dropped off during the middle miles, but I was doing OK. The stomach issue had settled, nothing was cramping or hurting in the legs; just had to keep pounding away. Actually slowed down at the 9-mile aid station to get a half-cup of water and half-cup of Gatorade for a real drink.

About mile 10, a longish, gentle downhill begins and it's the perfect place to start emptying the tank. Passed a couple of runners and that's always motivating.

Turned the corner to start the last mile and uphill finish. Glanced at the watch and saw that I was doing pretty well and was going to beat the 1:40 by a good margin. Kept a solid pace all the way to the line for a strong finish.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing; other than eat like I'm running 13.1 instead of 50+. I probably could've dropped a minute or more if I wasn't packing such a gut-load.

Ran as hard as I could for 13.1 miles and PR'd.

Really pleased with the result. Coming off the DNF in Minnesota; this was a real boost.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around, ate a banana half, some orange slices, drank a water.

Looked at the preliminary results and confirmed what I already knew; Robert had won the AG (1:27), but I wasn't sure if I was second. Yes, there was another AG'r I didn't know about (1:31), so it was third again for me.

Since awards are one deep, I left.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I'm built less for speed and more for endurance (at least that's what I keep saying to myself).

No speed work either because next up is the Zane Grey 50 in AZ.

Event comments:

This is a well-organized, medium-sized, but bare-bones race on a challenging course. No swag (advertising and a packet of fajita seasoning), modest post-race food (water, bagels, oranges, bananas), one deep awards, BUT, it's a certified course, with honest mile markers, plenty of portacans, 8 aid stations, and lots of volunteers.

All the profits go to their local charities and I'm cool with that.

It gets the "dash" name because they run a 5K at the same time. This race has really grown and the competition is increasing. In 2010 my 1:36 was 32nd of 750; this year my 1:35 was 59th and was won with a 1:10.

As a bonus this year, they did have really nice race shirts that were designed by a local, famous artist, Benjamin Knox. Awesome graphic and quality material, too.

Last updated: 2012-02-14 12:00 AM
01:35:05 | 13.1 miles | 07m 16s  min/mile
Age Group: 3/37
Overall: 59/1268
Performance: Good
Course: A rolling hill course with a 1-1/2 mile uphill start and a 3/4 mile uphill finish. Flat & fast, NOT.
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? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2012-03-08 10:28 PM

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Waller County, TX
Subject: Armadillo Dash, College Station 13.1

2012-03-09 6:53 AM
in reply to: #4087909

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Ann Arbor, MI
Subject: RE: Armadillo Dash, College Station 13.1

Hey, wait a minute, I thought ultra running was supposed to make people slow?  Haha, way to debunk that old myth!  Congrats on a great race, PR, and AG podium -- heck of a day you put together right there.  

BTW, you're making me consider adding tire flips to my training

Good luck at Zane Grey 50.  Looking forward to the RR.

2012-03-09 9:03 AM
in reply to: #4087909

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Subject: RE: Armadillo Dash, College Station 13.1

Congrats on the PR!  GREAT race time!

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