Monday, April 16, 2012

2012 Rock the Parkway Half Marathon Race Report - 4/14/12 with @KCRunningCO

I wasn't sure how it was it was going to work out for 2012 Rock the Parkway Half Marathon...

From my preview post, my knee was finally getting over whatever it had going on, I had instituted heart rate training over the long runs and I ditched sports gels for training and racing.

My general race preview on is HERE.

Pre-race was nothing too wild and crazy...
Em decided to stay home with the kiddos, so I was meeting a friend at his house and riding to ground zero.

Seeing that I'm not using sports gels any more, I needed to gauge the right breakfast amount and pre-race food.  I usually don't go too in to depth about my pre-race meals, but I thought it was noteworthy for later in the post that I ate the usual oatmeal and sipped Gatorade.  I also instituted using energy blasts from powerbar.  I ate 8 over the course of an hour from getting up to getting to my friends house and shut off food from an hour before race start.

In addition to my SIX Nutrition I used Push Endurance mixed with G2 in my water bottle belt for the race.  My training runs have had breaks at every 3 miles.  While the race had aid stations every 2ish miles, I needed my own hydration if I was on my own break schedule.  Important info for later!

One last pre-race item of note, the last port-a-potty stop was timed perfect.  Got out with 10 minutes left to start.  Found my spot with the pace group I wanted and warmed up / stretched and ready for the race with no worries.

The race starts, and the experiment begins...
As I mentioned, trained with heart rate over long runs and that results in 9 to 9:30 minute miles.  I'm also going energy gel-less.  I'm relying on fluid calories for events less than 2 hours and using powerbar energy blasts for anything longer.

Luckily I found Jon, a local tri guy, at the start and paced him for the first 3 miles until my first pit stop.  He was shooting for 1:35 to 1:40, so if I was going to get a sub 1:40, I needed to have fast splits from the start.

After pit stop 1 for fluid, Jon was off.

It's interesting the people you find yourself surrounded by during a race.  Since I was off from the aid stations, I would pass people, they would pass me on my stops, and so it went.  I basically finished around the people I settled in with by mile 3.

I'm not going to bore you with mile-by-mile reports and just skip to the end...
The highlights are:
  1. The knee felt 95%.  It gave me some funky feelings towards the end, but I was pushing hard to PR the race.  I'm pretty confident I'm over the issues (pulled ligaments maybe???).  I just need to train smart and not push it back into an injury.  With that out of my mind, I was able to focus on trying to PR the distance.
  2. There was no real bonk.  I had a rough spot with a new part of the course that had some long inclines, but I latched on to some faster runners that overtook me at mile 9.  They carried me to 11.5 with a pace that I needed to make the final 1.5 downhill push for a PR.
  3. The downhill was awesome.  The weather was perfect for running, no wind, no rain, clouds, moderate temps... this all added up to the perfect opportunity.
  4. I had played the entire race right to mile 11.5.  My nutrition was good, fluid intake was good, paced it right to have a shot.
  5. As I poured everything out to the finish line, I knew I would PR, but I wanted to leave everything out there.
  6. Official time was 1:37:30.  My previous PR was this course last year at 1:41.  Wiped that out by over 3 minutes and reached sub 1:40.  Mission accomplished.

What I can take away from this race...
I know have more confidence with my current run training.  I can run 10 to 12 miles at 9 minute miles with speed and threshold work in the week and still run a sub 1:40 half marathon.  I know I can also make it without sports gels which was the bane of my existence last year with GI issues.  And, that stuff is just nasty.

From my Garmin data, I averaged a 167 heart rate and maxed at 183.

The interesting part is if my max heart rate from VO2 max testing is 179, I raced at 93% of my max heart rate.  Definitely in the red, if that is indeed my max heart rate.  Now, if you go with the 183 as max, then I'm at 91%.  Still high.  I'm surprised to have carried that over 13.1 miles.  Something doesn't add up.  But, that's the average.  There are peaks on hills and the last 1.5 miles I was redlining for sure.  I'll need to look into that more to see if I need to revamp my max and my training zones.

This was probably as perfect a race I have had. Aside from some sweet blisters and a toenail that is definitely lost, from my KU visor to my Puma Faas 400's, my gear and clothing caused no issues. From Push Endurance to SIX Nutrition, my stomach cooperated. It all came together and I got the most I could from my body for this race.

Now... if I can just bottle this up for the rest of the race season.

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