Tuesday, April 12, 2011

US Half Marathon "the other half" - 4/10/11

It's been four and half months since my injury and 3 months since surgery, and mentally I was ready to race again. Physically though, I wasn't sure. I'd been running for approximately six weeks and my ankle felt good, but my mileage was only up to 8, so 13.1 could have been bit of a stretch. Being that the last half marathon I ran was the other half of this race a week before my injury in November, I felt it was an appropriate one to have as my first race back, so I registered a few days before the race and snagged one of the last spots.

(race morning)

As much as I hated getting up at 5:30a, I was thrilled to be going through my old pre-race routine again. I made it to Aquatic Park 20 minutes before race time. Perfect timing to make my way to the start line and check my gear, leaving me a few minutes to spare before the 7a start. The first few miles went along smoothly. I fell into an 8:20 pace which was right around what I was doing my longer training runs at. Unlike the race in November where it was pouring rain, the weather was perfect for running. Sunny, but cool. Having run this exact course before, it was nice knowing what was coming next. And while I remember running through the Presidio, I somehow always manage to forget the hilliness of it. At mile three I was reminded as we started making the ascent to the bridge.

(view from mile 1)

Crossing the bridge was as beautiful as always, but I have to say the best view is when we looped around under it on the trail that runs along Vista Point Road. The clear skies just made it that much more spectacular. On the way back across the bridge, I met a student named Per who is here studying from Demark. He had run up beside me and asked if he could interview me for his blog and a podcast he was doing. Being that I had nothing to do but run, I welcomed the distraction. For the next mile or so I answered his running related questions which he recorded. He took some photos and said he'd be posting the interview and pics on his blog. As soon as it's posted, I'll link to it, but being that this interview was conducted at mile 9, some of my answers weren't necessarily well thought out, but that's what happens when you're getting fatigued.

(this was where the turn around was at mile 10)

The last few miles were along Crissy Field, the Marina Green, and up and over Fort Mason. My pace stayed pretty steady the entire race, with the exception of the hilly sections of the course where it dropped a bit. I was just happy I didn't have to walk them, or for that matter any part of the course, like I was sure I would. I managed to get myself to the finish fairly painlessly and with a good time.

I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 1:53:24. I came in 25th out of 339 entrants in my division which is in the top 8%. My time was a minute faster than when I ran the course in November. I'm shocked. In November I was arguably in the best running shape of my life before my injury, and here I run my fifth fastest half marathon after only being back for six weeks and not being properly trained. I'm not sure what happened, maybe the rest was what I needed, or maybe the core work I've been doing has really helped, but regardless, it makes me very excited that I'm finally back.

(all done!)

And props to the organizers of the US Half Marathon for having a QR code on the bibs so you could check your time/standing with a QR reader. That was a first for me.

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