Thursday, May 30, 2013

2013 Hospital Hill Half Marathon Preview

Dude, I almost forgot I had a race this weekend...
Well, I knew I was running the Hospital Hill Half Marathon, but I'm not really looking at it as an all out race.  It always seems to fall the weekend before Ironman 70.3 Kansas.  It's always a delima in the fact I have to adjust my goals for the race.  It's also a tough race in of itself, so regardless of the HIM the following weekend, I have to adjust expectations for a half marathon.

It stood out as my PR race for a long time.  When I ran in 2006, conditions were perfect.  Cool, no wind, cool temps and low humidity.  It was a breeze to get sub 1:50 and it stood as my half PR for a long time.  The next two years were scorchers!  It wasn't the heat, it was the humidity.  Anyone that lives around KC knows that it gets nasty humid in the summer around here.  Nothing sucks the life out of you than trying to take in large breathes and feel like you are drinking water out of the air and not getting enough oxygen.  Well, that was my excuse for over 2 hours of suffering in 07 and 08.  Then in 2009 I started logging time at IM 70.3 KS and excused myself from the full 13.1 miles.  In 2010, the HH running race was the day before the HIM, so I opted for the 5k run with the prego wife and kid in a stroller.  It was a relaxing humidity fest.

The past two years I went ahead and ran the full 13.1 miles.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's for the rumored sweet compilation of the past three years of medals combining to form one big display that you can buy their wooden frame for.  Maybe it's out of tradition.  It's just a neat home race that has become a tradition since 2006 for me.

Goals, what goals?
It's a hill fest with close to 800 feet of elevation gain over 13.1 miles.  It's not just a clever name.  They start in a nice shopping district downtown and then wind through the major hills through the hospital districts - hence Hospital Hill.  And, they have an affiliation with the hospitals and fundraising as well, minor details.

As I mentioned, IM 70.3 KS is the following weekend and that is a big A race for my schedule.  I want to do well, so I'm not interested in having a huge recovery period or possibly injuring myself going too hard trying to meet an unrealistic time goal.

I've toyed with the idea of using it for a string of temp runs.  Perhaps run two miles at HIM goal pace and then walk for 2 minutes for recovery.  It's a tall order to restrain yourself from racing the crowd and letting people go by you while you do your own thing.  For a lot of runners, this is THEIR big race.  They trained all winter and spring for it and it's a big deal.  Since 2006 when they only had 1300 half runners, last year they went to 3350 runners.  That's a big explosion.  That's also a lot of competition out there to fight off the urge to keep pace with.

Who wants to go fast?  I want to go fast...!

In the end, I know I wouldn't be competing for AG awards on my best day, so the main goal is to either work tempo or run it race pace, which pets me a little anaerobic.  The danger is requiring more time for recovery afterwards.  That works well for HIM taper, but you can't go out for high intensity and low volume taper work if your recovery from an aerobic long workout that takes 48 hours or more depending on your conditioning.

It also depends on the weather.  Right now there's a possibility for rain, which is not conducive to working intensity and speed when you're wet and possibly cold.  It may be a combination of a 3 mile warm up, work 2 mile tempo runs to 11 or 12 miles and recovery run it in.  No sprinting like last year to pass up Scotty Tri's at the last half mile.

Stay tuned...
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