Tuesday, April 28, 2009

OKC Memorial Half Marathon Experience

First the numbers:

Finish Time: 2:33:27 (GUN), 2:28:09 (NET)
Average Mile: 11:18
Average Speed: 5.3 Mph
Place for entire field: 3241th place! (right in the middle)
Place for age: 285th place (71% of age group finished before me)
Place for gender: 1553rd place (78% of men finished before me)

Comments on these numbers:
The places are all gun time, I'm not sure what they would be considering the NET time (time from crossing the start line to crossing the finish line). As it was, we started between the 2:15 and 2:30 pace groups and stood around for 5 minutes before the crowd eased up and we were able to cross the start line. A lot of people were in the same situation, so I don't expect the numbers to be much different either way. I'm not disappointed in these numbers, we finished in about the correct spot for our pacing group. But in general I'd planned on running about a 10:40 mile and we were way slower.

Race comments:
So my alarm went off at 4:30am, I had to get dressed and to Russ's house by 5:00am. This is the 3rd year I've done the OKC Memorial thing (5K the first 2 years), and every time I wonder why I signed up for something that requires me to get up so early. I popped up none-the-less and got dressed, grabbed a cup of tea and a few Clif bars (those things are NASTY by the way), and headed over to Russ's house.

The first thing I noticed was that it was about 70 degrees and muggy. The previous two years were cold, near 50 degrees. As I've been running farther and farther lately, I've learned to love the colder temperatures and hate anything about 60. So 70 and muggy was a pretty bad sign, and by mile marker 1, I was drenched in sweat.

The most ominous sign came a few miles later, when Russ mentioned that the trusty Garmin watch (with footpod, not gps) we were using to track our distance during training, was a little off. That became more and more apparent as the run progressed until at the 10 mile marker, it said we'd run 11 miles! So all of our training runs were shorter than we thought, quite depressing when our longest training run was 11 miles.

I felt pretty good throughout the run, it was nice to get drinks every 3 miles or so, and on occasion someone would hand out orange slices or something. Once a family who's house sat along the course had baked some chocolate cookie things and were handing them out to runners, I passed on those, never take candy from strangers unless they are sanctioned race volunteers. Other families had set up garden hoses to spray water out over the road, that was much appreciated by most of the runners, and there were throngs of people all along the route holding up signs with inspiring quotes:

"You are awesome!"
"You can do it?"
"Can I have your stuff when you die?"

I knew we were off our pace a bit as we neared the finish line, that was okay, we were just glad to be crossing it. As it happened, we crossed 1 minute behind the marathon winner. It's a little belittling that some guy starts the same time as you (roughly), runs an extra 13 miles, and still beats you, but oh well, the guy lives here in Norman and works at the shoe store. He sold me some insoles once, so I kinda know him :)

I'm not sure what I'm going to do now. It was fairly time consuming to train for the half marathon, but it seems a waste to let all that endurance fade away. Russ texted me the night after the race saying we ought to run a few 5Ks, maybe a 10K, then go for another half and see if we can get our time down. I'm not sure if he was joking or not, and I'm not sure if I want to train over the summer when a 100 degree day is normal. We'll see.

More to come on this blog.

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