2011/03/06: Moe’s Better Half Marathon (race report)

Last night I came up with the idea of doing a half marathon today since there was one about 30 minutes away.  However, since I hadn’t trained specifically for it, I was a bit hesitant to do it (because of the expense…I knew I was capable of completing it, even if it was slow).

At 11 last night, after being encouraged by Xanthe (yes, she’s a “bad influence” haha), I decided to set my alarm for 5:20am and see how I felt then.  I woke up 5 minutes before my alarm and decided to do it.

Moe’s Better Half is in San Marcos, TX and it is super hilly!  I did the same race in 09 in 2:29:38, which was about 4 minutes off of my PR which I’d set a couple weeks prior to that on a net elevation loss course (3M in Austin).  Due to my lack of training, I didn’t think I’d break 2:30 but was hoping to be sub-2:40.  My “normal” half marathon time is between 2:29 and 2:33, although I hadn’t run a half since January of last year.  (I had run multiple races of longer distances, though.)
This is the elevation chart for the course:

I arrived about 40 minutes prior to the race start and registered before going back to my car to stay warm.  When I picked up my bib, I found out the race wasn’t chip timed.  I thought it had been previously, but there’s a good chance it wasn’t.  I was bummed about this a little bit, but the crowd wasn’t too big, so it didn’t take very long at all to cross the start line.

I started out at a sub-11 minute mile pace, which I thought was way too fast, since my HM PR was 2:25:22, which was a 11:06 pace.  However, it felt good, so I stayed with it.  I took a few walk breaks to get some water, take off my jacket, and eat GUs.  However, my pace was staying below an 11 minute pace with a few miles barely sub-10.  It was very weird to me.  As I ran, I did mental math to try to predict my finish time.  It was strange when I got to the point where I only needed a 12-minute pace to get under 2:30, and then under 2:24.  Getting below 2:20 was my far-fetched goal for the YEAR, so I didn’t really think about that.  I also hadn’t started my Garmin until just before I crossed the start line, so I wasn’t sure how much time I’d lost that would count against me (since it was based on gun time only).

The course was as hilly as I’d recalled, but I sort of liked it.  The variation made it fun.  There were some points at which I wished I’d had a camera just to capture what the hills looked like.  I think I’d actually rather run a course with rolling hills than one that’s totally flat.

When I could finally see the outlet mall where we began and would end, I was really happy, although the miles just seemed to fly by.  The last 2 were the toughest for me, likely because I’d exerted so much energy the rest of the race.  Miles 12 and 13 were the only ones slower than an 11-minute pace (11:17 and 11:10).  As I was looking at my watch, I got this weird feeling that even though I’d slowed down that I could break 2:20 by Garmin time, but I still wasn’t sure what the clock time would be.  When I turned the final corner and saw the clock, I was very happy (and surprised) that it was showing around 2:19:30.  I sped up and officially finished at 2:19:36, which is a 10:39 pace!  Final Garmin distance was 13.16 miles, with the final .16 miles done at an 8:35 pace; my unofficial Garmin time was 2:19:30 (timer was started just before crossing the start line and stopped shortly after crossing the finish line, meaning I had very little “lost” time).  By official time, I set a HM PR by almost 6 minutes and set a course PR by just over 10 minutes!

Sometimes things just work out…



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