Wednesday, October 29, 2014

2014 Indianapolis Half Marathon Race Report

Stats
1:21:07 Chip Time (PR by 2'46")
1:21:13 Gun Time
3rd/1432 Overall
3rd/635 Men
1st/97 40-45 AG
Indiana State RCAA Masters Half-Marathon Champion

This was my big tune up race for the 2014 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon next Saturday 11/1/2014 and my goal for this race was to run under 1:23. That time would give me a solid PR and put me right where I need to be to feel confident in my ability to run the Monumental in under 2:50. That's it and all indications from my training pointed to success.

I have been training for the last 6 weeks in a pretty big calorie debt trying to shake about 10 pounds that snuck up on me. I've always raced at 128 or under and I knew that I didn't want to carry that excess weight for 26.2 miles. In addition, in the 2 weeks proceeding the half marathon I logged 100 running miles each week. The first time I had ever run 100 in a week and I put together 2 weeks in a row at that mileage. The point is between the weight loss and the big mileage weeks I had become familiar friends with a very deep level of fatigue. 

Luckily, this race was at the end of my first week of tapering for the Monumental so I had cut back to 75 miles and for the 3 days leading up I ran super easy and I picked up the calories. So when race day rolled around I was feeling good to say the least.

This year we stayed in a hotel near the race. All the usual's the night before and I slept pretty well with no complaints. I was up at 5:00 AM to get dressed, drink some coffee and eat the ritual cliff bar and banana. They have really good parking at this race and we picked up our packets the night before so no rush in the morning as we were only about 5 minutes from the race and I know the area well.

We got to the race walked to the start area and I went off for a short warmup with 4 x 20" strides. This race has a great feature for guys. A walk in urinal trough. This means no waiting in a port-a-pot line. Additionally, I was seeded in corral A so no need to get in early and jockey for position. This combination means that at this race I can finish my warmup literally 5 minutes before the start and that is just what I did. Perfect.

I got lined up at the start and my wife pointed out my old friend Garrett that I met and ran a lot of the 2013 Carmel Marathon with. He was pacing the full for 3:15. We talked for a minute and planned to work together in the Monumental to reach our mutual goal of running under 2:50. I was very happy to see him and also excited about the plans we made.

With that we were off. It was about 40 degrees and I stripped my long sleeve throw away shirt off and ran this race shirtless. I really just prefer to run without a shirt. You want to get a lot of comments during a cold fall race, go shirtless. 

Within the first mile the lead packs had settled a bit and I was just behind the first group in about 7th or 8th place. I picked out several runners that I would keep my eye on and try to pass before it was over. Around mile 3 there is a nice long hill and I watched a friend and fellow CKRR member move from 4th to 1st over the course of that hill while shedding clothes. It was a thing of beauty and something I will always remember. 

I wasn't passing anyone in the first 5 miles or so and no one was passing me. It seemed like the gap between the 7 or 8 in front of me was getting smaller except for my friend who now was solidly leading the race. I just kept the rest of them in sight knowing that I run stronger as the race goes on. About mile 5 I caught my first target. 

This marathon has a relay element with the first handoff around 4 miles and at about the same time I was passing a guy I got passed by 2 other runners and I assumed them both to be in the relay. They just looked way to fast. I was wrong. Only 1 was in the relay, the other would be the eventual winner of the half marathon. 

Around mile 7 there is a turn around. My friend was in the lead with no one even close. I shouted some encouragement to him and from here I started whittling down the runners in front of me. Passing most between 7 and 10 miles. At mile 10 there is another good hill and last year it took my legs out and I never recovered. This year I attacked it again but faired much better.

I made the turn for mile 12 and saw the last guy I thought I would have a chance at and I knew it would put me in either 3rd or 2nd place but I had lost the exact count. Still, I hate to see a guy falter this close and I tried to get him to rally and finish strong. I could tell though that he was probably done. I passed him with maybe 3/4 of a mile left and my legs were beginning to feel weak. I've been running right around 6:11 the whole race but the adrenaline of another pass gave me a bit more determination. I made another turn and saw a CKRR member who was spectating. She let me know I was 3rd overall and with this I found a little more strength and was able to keep the faster pace trying to hang on to the podium finish.

I made the final turn and even though I couldn't see her yet I could hear Hannah! Always my loudest supporter. Then I hear and see my wife and she is letting me know that I am 3rd overall but I have someone close so I need to pick it up, "Every second counts! GO!" I find a whole lot of strength here and drop down to about a 5:30 pace. He couldn't cover so I extended the gap and secured a podium finish, a humongous PR at 1:21:07 and the title of RCAA Indiana Half Marathon Masters Champion. Apparently this was the Championship half marathon race for the state. I think that I knew that but wasn't really aware and didn't really know how it worked. I received an email letting me know and a nice medal in the mail a few days later.

Full of confidence from my 2 tune up races this season I am nothing but excited for Saturday. Time to show the marathon who's boss!