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Aramco Half Marathon - Run

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Houston, Texas
United States
52F / 11C
Total Time = 1h 57m 5s
Overall Rank = 2167/11639
Age Group = F30-34
Age Group Rank = 150/1137
Pre-race routine:

Up and out of the house early as I was worried about how bad the parking situation would be (didn't want to run into issues like at the half back in October) -- turned out parking was a non-issue and I made it to the second floor of the Hilton to meet up with people by 5:20am. We stayed there until just after 6, then hit bag drop, and worked our way to the corral area.

I ate a Honey Stinger Waffle about an hour before race start and a Gu about 20 minutes before race start.
Event warmup:

Got in a few minutes of running with a short interval up to race pace....ran out of time and almost missed the closure of the corral! Worked my way up to the 8:30 pace sign before I was unable to make any further forward progress. I figured it was probably a good place for me as I wanted to start out around 8:30, but hopefully pick it up later in the race.
  • 1h 57m 5s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 56s  min/mile

This race did NOT go to plan....not even a little bit. I committed to doing a winter run focus in hopes of improving my running so I could stop dropping massive places at the end of HIM's. I dropped all the biking and swimming since just before Thanksgiving to give my running the best chance for improvement. It just was not to be. I really need to figure out what I'm doing that's sabotaging my improvement because something clearly is not working.

Plan was to start out the first couple miles around an 8:30 pace because I learned the hard way that going out too fast at the start results in a frustrating and painful finish. I was confident that I could go sub-1:52 (since that's what my HM PR from October was) and felt that I had a good shot at going sub-1:50. So I wanted to start right around 8:30 and work my way down into the 8:20's, and hopefully finish a bit stronger in the last 5k.

The first four miles were pretty much right where I wanted to be (8:32, 8:24, 8:32, 8:34), but they certainly weren't feeling effortless. I tried to pick up the effort and next thing you know, I have two miles at 8:4X and two miles at 8:5X....and then nothing sub-9 after. What's going on? Why won't my legs turn over? Maybe I should have gone out too hard because the pace drop-off was inevitable...

Weather was perfect (can't blame my sub-par run on that), I actually tapered for the race (reduced volume, but kept some intensity), and I came in feeling prepared and confident. I'm realizing that the "conventional" running wisdom just isn't giving me the training stimulus I need, so I need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what to change.

I'm really disappointed that my run focus doesn't appear to have resulted in any progress (at least not in the forward direction...) and that I neglected my bike and swim for nothing. That said, maybe it "just wasn't my day"....a day later, I'm really not very sore at all, so it's apparent that I wasn't running to any true fitness-limitation. I just need to figure out what to change to set me up for improvement and actually "showing up" on race day as it appears to be something I struggle with for stand-alone run races.
What would you do differently?:

1.2 mile swim / 56 mile bike warm-up??
Post race
Warm down:

Walked for a couple minutes and then stretched before letting my muscles cool down too much. Grabbed a bottle of water and banana almost immediately, then changed into some dry clothes before finding some more food and chocolate milk

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Not entirely sure....maybe I just stink at running. Maybe I've plateaued and need to change the run stimulus to see improvement. Maybe I'm in my head too much and sabotage myself with too high of expectations on race day. I don't know, but whatever it is -- it's really stealing the joy out of my racing, so I need to figure it out.

Event comments:

Pretty cool to run in such a huge race. It draws a nice elite/pro group as well, which is kinda cool. Everything was on time and organized. It does feel a little impersonal with it being such a big event, but that's not really a big deal to me.

Last updated: 2015-01-19 12:00 AM
01:57:05 | 13.1 miles | 08m 56s  min/mile
Age Group: 150/1137
Overall: 2167/11639
Performance: Below average
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? No
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

2015-01-19 12:59 PM

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Houston, Texas
Subject: Aramco Half Marathon
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2009-01-19 9:13 PM Nette213
date : May 24, 2010
author : Coach AJ
comments : 0
My question is am I playing with fire entering the half marathon this close to my primary goal for this season which is the HIM?
date : June 15, 2009
author : Ali Winslow
comments : 0
I just ran the Boston Marathon under nine minute miles, can I run eight minute miles for my half Ironman training runs? Or should I go slower?
date : November 17, 2008
author : mat steinmetz
comments : 7
I just started doing tris this summer and I have two under my belt, both sprints. Is it reasonable to build up for a Oly in early ‘09, with a HIM in Oct of ‘09
date : June 10, 2008
author : kns57
comments : 0
Steady is our walk. Ignoring the pain that is radiating from my feet, I continue to place one foot in front of the other. Again I wonder, “Why am I doing this?”
date : July 10, 2007
author : Ontherun
comments : 0
Having three seasons under my belt I thought I knew what I was doing. That all changed with a few new challenges and a bunch of new friends.
date : October 24, 2005
author : mikericci
comments : 0
This program should be used for an athlete whose goal is to run a marathon in the 1:30-2:30 range and has a good running base in the past 8-12 weeks.
date : October 2, 2005
author : smeeko
comments : 2
I will assume you have not run consistently more than 6 miles and have never completed a half-marathon. I believe running your first half-marathon is a big task which requires dedication and work.
date : January 10, 2005
author : ewkfit
comments : 0
My training was taking off. I had never felt stronger. I was making bigger strides than I ever had. I was stronger and faster than I had imagined myself ever being.