Sunday, September 20, 2015

2015 MVP Rochester Half-Marathon

Weather: Mostly Sunny, 55°F, 75% Humidity, Wind: NNW @ 7 mph.
Route: Rochester Half Marathon
Time (Pace): 1:57.55 (9:00 min/mile)
Pre-Race Observations: Sort-of ready for my third half marathon in six months, and this one is going to be different. While my training has been consistent with my plan (at least up until two weeks ago when school started up gain), and I am looking forward to changing up my race day strategy. Unlike the previous two races, I have not pre-viewed the course personally.

This is the first year the MVP Full and Half Marathon courses will go through the northern part of our city and judging from the course elevation map this is not a "PR Course." I am, however, familiar with most of the course through past running excursions, so thought I lack experience in the total course it is not completely alien territory. Yellowjacket Racing has also done a great job sharing the new course online though video guided "tours" and maps (including the certified one to the right).

Just as I have been running sans-timepiece more frequently of late, I will be running this distance (I have a difficulty actually typing "racing" as my only competition is me) without a watch for the first time. When I shared my approach with my wife, she wondered how I'd know how fast I was going. "I wouldn't," I told her. and that is exactly the point in not wearing one. During recent long runs of 8-12 miles, I have intentionally left the watch behind to focus on my form and breathing without the distracting urge to continuously check my watch.

In order to maintain a steady pace, I will do my best to stay with a designated pacer. Though no guarantee of a finishing time within my desired range, having someone to follow will give me a sense pace and someone to trail. My hope is to successfully run slow-fast and to avoid the endorphin charged delusions of being able to go faster without considering the negative impact on the latter part of the race.

Despite waking up this morning with a sore throat and runny nose, the weather conditions are too good to pass up (the recent humidity and heat having broken after a sweaty week), and I look very forward to giving it a go.

Post-race Reflections: Running with a pacer was the best decision I could have made. I went out with the 2:00 hour pacer (for a half-marathon) and followed her comfortably for the first 11 miles before I set out (just a little bit) ahead, mostly due to the congestion on the narrow trails. As I had hoped, having the supportive human cheering the pack along and letting us know that we were "on track," it was much easier to focus on the enjoying the run rather than expending energy trying not to look at my watch. As a result, I did not go out too fast or make a poor move early in the race.

This economy of energy was most evident for me when, at mile 12, the course went up a fairly steep (though short) hill and some around me began to walk. Reflecting back (I kept the negative self-talk at bay while running) this is where I might have not had the energy and confidence necessary to continue on without walking (and thereby losing more confidence). I finished in 15:58-something which was better than my most recent half ("apples-and-oranges, I know but I'll take victories where I can), and bettered by goal of 2 hours. I also managed to run a consistent pace; one which increased slightly in the latter half of the race.

Official results show that overall, I placed 565 of 2193 total finishers,  373 among 874 total male finishers and 55 of 117 in my gender/age group, males 45 to 49.

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