Monday, May 16, 2011

Marine Corps Historic Half Race Report

This past Sunday, May 15, 2011 my wife and I embarked on the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, VA. It was a very successful race morning for both of us.  My wife managed to meet her goal of running the 13.1 miles in under 2 hours. This was her fouth time running this event and has always come in under 2 hrs.  She's a badass but won't admit to it.  She was a bit upset that Comedian/Actor Drew Carey beat her by a few minutes.  She said they ran neck in neck for a couple miles before he pulled away from her.

As for me, things went better than expected.  I like the phrase my good friend Steven Montoya used "Way to start off the year of the run bro." This year is the year of the run for me and I'm fully into it 100%.

Here is a quick recap of the race.  I'll start of by posting my mile splits then get into a few details about the actual run.

Mile 1 @ 5:41 min/mile
Mile 2 @ 5:43 min/mile
Mile 3 @ 5:57 min/mile
Mile 4 @ 5:52 min/mile
Mile 5 @ 5:46 min/mile
Mile 6 @ 5:59 min/mile
Mile 7 @ 5:58 min/mile
Mile 8 @ 5:58 min/mile
Mile 9 @ 6:06 min/mile
Mile 10 @ 6:12 min/mile
Mile 11 @ 6:49 min/mile
Mile 12 @ 6:41 min/mile
Mile 13 @ 6:04 min/mile

The course itself is very deceiving.  My wife and I drove it the previous day and the rolling hills didn't look bad, even the famous "Hospital Hill" didn't look too punishing by vehicle. BUT I should know better, because even the most non eventful hill by car can look monumental on foot.

You can tell by my mile 3 and mile 4 splits that I encountered those first few hills which drastically dropped my pace compared to my first 2 mile splits. At mile 4 I was sitting about 6th place right behind the guy in 5th.  The first four guys were well up the road. At mile 5 I finally passed the guy in front of me who was sitting 5th.  I could tell he was fading and fast. So there I was, sitting in 5th all alone.  At around mile seven I caught up to and passed guy who was up the road early in the race. I was trying to stay with my original plan of keeping a 5:58 min/mile pace.  I was hitting my mark well until about Mile 9. 

The course became a series of short steep hills which made it hard to keep a consistent tempo. It became obvious I wasn't going to hit sub six minute miles anymore.  At around mile 9 I got passed so it put me back in 5th place.  I tried to keep this guy's pace as he passed me but I couldn't manage it. I didn't want to blow up and end up losing another place.  I let him go up the road.  Then came mile 10 and we both passed one of the front runners who was with the leaders early in the race.  By my calculation, that put me back in fourth place.

Mile 10 was also the place where the course started to get hard.  You can tell by my mile 11 and 12 splits I was running up the infamous "Hospital Hill." At that point I knew my goal of running an 1hr and 18 minute half marathon was out the window. The new goal, to keep my 4th place.  When I started mile 13, luckily the road leveled out and I was able to put out one last good effort for a 6:04 min/mile split.

HOLY SHIT, I just finished 4th place overall.  I really was surprised.  A race of this magnitude and with the 8,000 participants I never in my life would have thought a top 5 was possible. BUT there it was. To hear my name as I'm crossing the finish line with no one else in sight is exhilarating.  As my old man always said "Hard work pays off. When everyone else is sitting on the couch and you're out there training in the cold wet rain good things happen."

Thanks for reading and stay tuned because the year of the run continues June 4 with a 15k run.