Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sedalia Half Marathon

Saturday I ran the Sedalia Half marathon in Sedalia, MO. I didn’t sleep well Friday night, and didn’t feel completely rested. I think my body felt ready to race last night when I went to bed. We ate breakfast and left for the race around 7 am and arrived in Sedalia at 8:10 AM. After we checked in and used the restrooms, we took a mile warm-up run and then it was time to head to the starting line.

The race was my 3rd half marathon and I also ran it last year as my second half marathon. Hugh ran this as his second half. There were 21 runners from Columbia so our city had good representation. Temp was around 38 F when we started, sunny, and a little windy. I couldn’t decide whether or not to wear gloves and ended up deciding against them. I wore 2 shirts and felt too warm most of the race.

There were 132 runners. I set an ambitious goal for my time at 1:25 or 6:30/mi. Last year I ran this course in 1:28:59 or 6:48/mi. The reason I felt this was such an ambitious goal is that my 10K PR pace is 6:35/mi. I really wondered if I had improved enough to keep less than that pace for 13 miles.

The description of the course was the first mile is flat; miles 1 to 4contain inclines at 1.5 and 3 miles; miles 4.75 to 6.95 contain aslow decline; turn around at 6.95 miles; from 6.95 to 9 miles thecourse is a gradual incline; miles 9 to 10 are rolling; miles 10 tothe finish is slightly rolling with the last half-mile up a smallgrade. Elevation between high and low point is 65 feet.

I lined up in approximately the 3rd row hoping that I wouldn’t start out too fast. It seemed like I didn’t start out too fast and there were quite a few people ahead of me. In fact, I didn’t catch Hugh for maybe a half mile. I let them go and figured I would catch some of them later. There must have been more people this year since it seemed I was further behind than last year at the beginning. First mile split was 6:23. That first mile always goes faster than it seems!

I pass some people up until 3 – 4 miles, keeping a good pace. I wasn’t sure where I was placing at this point, but guessing maybe top 20. A guy that I had been passing back and forth passed me for the last time at about 5 miles when I slowed down for water. At 10K my time was 40:16 which is 5 seconds slower than my 10K PR. At the halfway point, 6.55 miles, my time was 42:37, 6:30/mi average. I didn’t know this at the time, but pretty amazing since that is where I wanted to be.

The second half there is some wind and I struggle a bit, but no one is very close behind or ahead of me. I almost wish that someone had been close since I really had to push myself to keep the pace going. I guess I wasn’t embracing the pain enough today. There’s not much along this course other than the water stations, cows, and dogs to cheer along the runners. I’m just trying to hold onto the pace and make it to 10 miles. After running the first half in mostly 6:20s – 6:30s, the second half was mostly 6:40s. I keep a good pace until the end and finish pretty strong.

Here's my splits:

1-6:23

2-6:24

3-6:22

4-6:27

5-6:37

6-6:42

6.55 mi, elapsed time 42:38, 6:30/mi avg

7-6:44

8-6:52

9-6:41

10-6:48

11-6:43

12-6:43

13.1-7:21

2nd half (6.55 mi) 44:10, 6:45/mi

overall time: 1:26:48, 6:37/mi

This is a new half marathon PR set on this same course where I set a PR last year. I improved 2:11 overall and knocked 11 seconds per mile off my pace. Last year I ran negative splits on this course, but I was pleased that my pace during the second half this year was still faster than my overall pace last year. I’m thinking maybe I started just a little fast this year, but I can’t complain about the end result.

After the race, there were numerous home-baked cookies to eat while we waited for the awards ceremony at noon. I placed 13th overall and 3rd in the 30-39 age-group and 2nd in the 35 - 39 age group. Hugh ran in 1:41:47 and improved his half PR by 8:26. He went out too fast, but that is just how he runs races.

This half was a test for both of us to predict how fast we might run the Flying Pig. In order to run sub 3 hrs, I will need to run a 6:52/mi pace which is 5 sec/mi faster than I ran Portland. My goal is to run a 6:47/mi pace so I am going to try to get a few more speed workouts done to make sure I am ready. I feel at this point it is going to be very close if everything goes well.

Results for this race are posted at http://ctc.coin.org/results/nonctc/shm2006b.html

My Award for 3rd place, 30-39 Age Group

Hugh finishing his second half marathon and setting a new PR.
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