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Unite Half Marathon - RunHalf Marathon

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Piscataway, New Jersey
United States
CGI Racing
40F / 4C
Total Time = 1h 56m 25s
Overall Rank = 1335/3115
Age Group = F 25-29
Age Group Rank = 77/272
Pre-race routine:

Got up at 6:10 and showered. Ate a banana and a lunabar and drank a cup of water. Looked around in vain for my running gloves and finally decided to take a different pair instead. Double-checked for my race number, hat, watch, keys, phone, and walked to the race area (it was a 15 minute walk from my apartment), arriving around 7:30. Had a bit of trouble finding bag check but finally did. Chatted with the guy behind me, who’s been running for over 20 years! I turned in my phone, jacket, and finally my gloves to gear check.
Event warmup:

I did a very very short, slow warmup jog and caught up with my friends Aaron and Michael. Aaron was signed up for the half as well; he’s the one who suggested we both run this race back in January, in fact. Michael was intending to sign up for the companion 8k race, but it was sold out. Aaron and I tried to get into the pack of people starting, but we were way too far back, lined up with the 12 min/mile pacers. It was too packed to move up, so we just shrugged and figured we’d move up once the race started.
  • 1h 56m 25s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 53s  min/mile

It was 40 degrees and sunny, so I was a little unsure of how to dress; I ultimately went with a long sleeve tech shirt and the race shirt over that (I know, I know, don't wear the race shirt...but I figured it was ok since I had an old one underneath. The race shirt was super cool-looking and I really wanted to wear it!). And pants rather than shorts, and a baseball cap. I hemmed and hawed on the gloves I had brought and finally skipped them, which I think was the right move. My hands were cold for the first mile or so but ok after that.

So this was my third half marathon! PR was 2:02:54. All spring I’ve been targeting sub-1:58 for my time in this HM, or basically 9 minutes per mile average, and I’ve been feeling pretty good in my training the past few weeks. I feel like I turned a corner in my training about a month ago and the 9:00 pace has been feeling easier. Was feeling optimistic this morning, especially with the super weather. Also, the course went through my own university, and I’ve run on all parts of the course before, some parts MANY times, so maybe there was a little bit of a “home field advantage” for me??

It took about 3 and half minutes to walk up to the start line after the gun, and we were off! Aaron is a lot faster than me so he pushed off right away. I did a ton of weaving in the first couple of miles trying to fall in with people that were running my pace; I had some mile splits that were way too fast as I tried to accomplish this (8:35 and such, as opposed to my goal of 9:00). Finally got there in the middle of the third mile or so. I saw the race leader coming back the other way at around that point, and he was flying! I’m sure I couldn’t even run 100 yards at his pace, haha. He looked so comfortable though. And the female leader was not far behind him at all, awesome!

To be honest, I don’t really remember what was going through my head for most of the race. I think my mind was actually kind of blank for a lot of it. I remember thinking that my pace was right on the edge between comfortable and pushing. In my January HM, when I ran 2:02:54, my pace felt absolutely great and easy (9:22 per mile, on a downhill course, wind-at-back). I was running slightly under 9 per mile now and it was ok, but not as smooth as the January HM. I had kind of hoped to view this race as a valedictory tour of the campus where I’ve spent the past 6 years and will graduate with my Ph.D next month, but to be honest I wasn’t really soaking it in or anything; more just focusing on running hard.

A few things I do remember:

-a runner talking on cell phone around mile 4!!! WTH?!

-a woman in a white shirt and skirt with “Bride 4-27-13” written on the back. Took my tired brain a minute to realize that that date is next weekend, not past already, and that she was simulating a wedding dress! Yay for her and her fiance. :)

-a super-enthusiastic guy yelling encouragement to everyone. It’s hard to convey but he was seriously happy and energetic and positive! He was great. He was actually on the course, not a spectator, so I think the organizers must have invited him or something.

-there were bands playing at several points along the course, but I particularly like one that was around mile 10. They had a swing/big band sound; sort of Squirrel Nut Zippers-y. Super fun.

-there were several U-turns on the course, and I was glad to see that they all had timing mats. Wouldn’t want someone to not-so-accidentally make their U-turn too early!!

-the 9:00 pacers were TOO FAST! I was running comfortably under 9:00 per mile myself, and I only ever saw them on the U-turns. I could never see them anywhere ahead of me on the straightaways, despite the big red balloons they were carrying. They seemed to be around 5 minutes ahead of me. I understand that you don't want to screw up and go too slow when you're a pacer, but surely it also counts as screwing up if you go substantially faster than advertised?!

I was getting some side stitches in the last couple of miles, which obviously wasn’t good. My pace was still on target to beat my goal of 1:58, and it was looking pretty safe at this point. The stitches intensified at the end, and even as I passed the 13 mile point I really, really wanted to walk. Everyone around me was kicking the last bit, so people were streaming past me left and right, haha, but I just told myself, keep moving, you cannot walk in the last 0.1 miles!! I did manage to run in, finishing with a chip time of 1:56:25. Yes!

Mile 1: 8:58
Mile 2: 8:35
Mile 3: 8:40
Mile 4: 9:05
Mile 5: 8:55
Mile 6: 8:40
Mile 7: 9:15 (Gu break)
Mile 8: 8:48
Mile 9: 8:37
Mile 10: 8:45
Mile11: 8:50
Mile 12: 8:35
Mile 13: 8:53
0.22: 8:52 pace (1:57)

What would you do differently?:

Probably line up in a more appropriate spot; my overall rank is lower than it could have been, since the listing is by gun time rather than chip.
No, but more seriously...I don't know. I think I executed this pretty well. Maybe if I could figure out how *not* to get side stitches that would help. I guess I could have held back a little more on the pace, while still hitting my goal.
Post race
Warm down:

Not much...walked around trying to find my husband. Stretched thoroughly. Ate some food and drank some water. The usual.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Well, I wouldn't have really wanted to go faster than I did; I gave it all I had!

Last updated: 2013-01-21 12:00 AM
01:56:25 | 13.1 miles | 08m 53s  min/mile
Age Group: 77/272
Overall: 1335/3115
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5]

2013-04-23 8:14 PM

Subject: Unite Half Marathon

2013-04-25 7:02 AM
in reply to: #4712610

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Extreme Veteran
Frederick, Maryland
Subject: RE: Unite Half Marathon
Congrats on a 1/2 Mary PR!!! You'll be up with the leaders in no time!
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