A New Half Marathon PR

Saturday, February 23, Richland, WA: I finished the Tri Cities Half Marathon in 1 hour, 47 minutes, 16 seconds.  Thirteen minutes faster than my previous personal record in the half marathon, just over 2 hours when I ran the Chicago Half Marathon in August 2006.

I finished 76th out of 468 finishers, 10th out of 22 in my division.  I had a very effective race plan established by my triathlon coach, executed it well, and finished with a very great personal result.  The race plan was to keep the HR under mid/high zone for the first mile, then very low zone 4 for miles 2-4, low zone 4 for miles 5-7, mid zone 4 for miles 8-10, then somewhat high zone4 for miles 11-13.  I didn't have much of a time goal, I just wanted to break two hours for my time.

Here is the play-by-play of the day.

  • 5:40am - alarm goes off, wake up and start some coffee
  • 6:00am - drink single cup of coffee, have an english muffin with butter. Open up the laptop and review the race plan and race route
  • 6:30am - have a clif bar, start getting the race clothes ready
  • 7:00am - wake up my wife, she is going to drive me to the race, which fortunately is only three miles from the house
  • 7:20am - head down to the race course
  • 7:30am - arrive at the race course, start my warm up
  • 7:45am - get in line to go pee
  • 7:55am - super long line!  Finish up and get to the starting line.  Take a clif shot gel and a swig of water.
  • 8:00am - gun goes off, race starts!
  • 9:47am - cross the finish line!
Now for the actual race, let's take it mile by mile:
  1. OK, need to not be above 160 HR. Check the Garmin, ooh, only at 155 and I'm holding an 8:00min/mile pace, ok this is good!
  2. Crossing mile two I bring the HR down to 149 as per the race plan.  Some people start passing me ... grr ... must restrain self.  Pace drops to 8:30.  I'm thinking well, 8:30 pace is still going to set me up well under 2:00 hrs to complete, so this is good.
  3. HR up to 150, pace drops to 8:20
  4. Feeling good, HR up to 151, pace dropping to 8:10
  5. Take a Clif Shot at ~5.5 mile mark then wash it down with water at the aid station.  HR up to 152, pace stays 8:10-8:20
  6. Race plan says I can go up to 154.  End up staying around 152-153 and pace falls to 8:20
  7. Something clicks here, maybe it's because we hit the halfway point but pace goes to 7:56 and I'm feeling awesome. However, I'm starting to feel blisters on my feet from the run.
  8. 7:50 pace, HR 153, my fastest mile of the race
  9. 8:10 pace, HR 154 - fatigue might be starting to set in
  10. Take a clif shot at mile 10, HR 155, small hill in the course and pace drops to 8:17, starting to look forward to being done
  11. 157 HR, 8:03 pace - clif shot kicking in and I find another gear, knowing we're going to be done soon. Blisters starting to get painful
  12. 157 HR, 8:02 pace - struggling to keep the cadence up, left IT band starting to tighten up due to the slope of the road. Find some sidewalk sloped better to support the left side
  13. 159 HR, 8:03 pace - are we done yet?!  
  14. 0.2 miles to go 166HR, 7:43 pace - Finish, finally!  1:47:16.
Bib #331 ready to roll!

On course, in the home stretch! 

Complete! Looking forward to the next race!

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