Platte River Half Marathon 2011

I’m still amazed at how well I did in this race. I honestly was semi worried that I’d completely bonk and get my worst time yet on the race. The past three months has been lackluster for training to say the least – high stress, lack of sleep, emotionally draining, not eating right, imbibing a lot more than usual, gained ~8lbs… and somehow I still had a great race!

At the beginning of the season, I targeted a sub 2hr pace for this race.  It was going to be a stretch, but maybe possible if I worked my tail off.  Going into the race, I honestly just wanted to have fun and a good run.  As stated in my Reflection post, my self pressure to beat my own time wasn’t there at all.  I took an honest assessment of my training etc and thought that under 2:20 with a goal time of 2:15 was reasonable.  The goal time of 2 hours and 15 minutes would put me under my time two years ago when I weighed the same as I was going into this race.  I had better consistency to my training two years ago leading up to the race, but also knew my base was much deeper this year.  I thought that if I really pushed it and had a good race that the 2:15 was attainable.  Last year I ran a ~2:08:34 with consistent training, weighing less, and had a group to run with and pace me for 10 of the 13miles, so I knew hitting that was not going to happen.

As the race started, I started slow as I intended, though almost 30sec/mi faster than I had planned.  About a quarter mile in, I was feeling really good and wanted to start letting the legs out a bit – this was a bit worrisome for me as Hill and I didn’t get any warmup in at all.  Life with kids and bad timing with the light rail put us at the start in just enough time to take care of gear and a “natural” break before lining up to start.  I allowed myself to open it up a little bit (~15sec/mi quicker) after saying bye to Hill.   My plan had been to hold it back for the first two miles and then open it up; since I didn’t get a warmup in, I knew I needed to somewhat stick to that.  I was thinking 12:30min/mi and then 12-11:30/mi for the first two – not today, my legs were feeling too good, so my first two were an average of 11:03 and 10:47 and then kept dropping.  Mile 3 came really quick at an 10:16 pace and then mile 4 at 10:01 pace; wow, it hit me that I was almost 1/3 of the way through as was feeling really good!  9:41, 9:43, 9:32 and I was past mile 7 and still feeling great!

I took down a Gu roctane gel at this point as I knew it would give me a kick when I needed it later. Miles 8-10, I was continually doing system checks as I have been having issues in this range with hitting the wall in training and past races.  This race I was being very diligent to drink at least every mile (wore my own hydration belt) and eat something every 2miles. 9:35, 9:36, 9:28 and I was at mile 10; I was definitely in the pain cave at this point, but was feeling the roctane kick in and took down a Powerbar Tangerine gel (2x Caffeine ! ) for another kick near the finish.

Since mile 7,  I knew that I was having a great race, but wouldn’t allow myself to look at my overall time or my average pace.  I had been looking at my mile splits on my Garmin and knew that I was easily under 2:20, unless I blew up, and figured I had a good chance of hitting my goal of 2:15.   Now at mile 10, the realization was coming in that I was near a PR pace! (personal record).  I figured that I needed to keep ~9:45min/mi pace to break my best time.  I had just put down some sub 9:30 miles so I started to let the idea creep into my head that it may just be possible.  Mile 11 ticked by at another 9:28 pace and then hit mile 12 with a 9:32 pace.  It was getting harder to keep an even pace at this point as the path was narrowing and those in front of me were going at closer to a 10-10:30 pace resulting in a lot of slow down, find a slot, speed up, and repeat.  I looked at my overall course time and realized I needed to crank out a near 8min mi pace to break my own record, not impossible, but ouch.  My legs still had fight in them and my lungs were game, however the course has a “nice” addition right after mile 12; the 8th avenue viaduct.  This is an overpass that is brutally steep after running 12 miles and laughs at you as most are reduced to a walk or quasi run shuffle as they ascend it.  As I rounded the corner to see the base of the overpass, there was none other than Sonja there cheering everyone on! Her cheer definitely gave me a boost and I refused to let the overpass beat me down and ran the entire way; it did slow me down to a ~10min pace for a bit though so by the time I got to the top I had ~1/2 mile left and less than 4 min to match my previous time.  I dug as deep as I could and gave it all I had.  With every request from my brain to go faster, my lungs said they were good to go, my muscles were pulling a Scotty “I’m givin’ her all she’s got, Captain!”; that last little bit was cranked out at a 8:51 pace and I crossed the finish line in 2:09:44.

I’m very very happy with that result, all the negatives going into the race and I still dang near got a PR and did it all myself without a pacer, never hit a wall, never had to walk, and didn’t have to fight negative thoughts; huge win as far as I’m concerned!

Here is a finish line picture; yup I was hurting a bit at this point, but it was a good hurt!
Finish line photo – (will pop up in new window/tab)

hopefully I can actually buy a digital copy soon rather than just linking to the gallery of it

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