Sunday, February 05, 2012

Super Half Marathon Race Report

A good friend of mine, Tim Bergsten of got together with the Pikes Peak Road Runners and organized a half marathon and 5k for Super Bowl Sunday. I wouldn't miss this inaugural event and the timing of the event was great, as it is 6 weeks before the LA marathon. So today, I ran!
You can read about my race plan here, but it was executed well.

I got a good night's sleep and DIDN'T have to wake up at 4:30am. Nope, slept in until 7! I had a low-key race morning, got all my stuff around and left the house around 8:35. Pre-race packet pick-up went well. I parked in the underground garage and took the elevator up (saving energy!) to the lobby of the Plaza of the Rockies. Had my bib number in about 5 minutes and then met up with Scott, Kim, and Nate of the Pikes Peak Tri Club. John showed up shortly thereafter. I ran into Ken from the Porsche club, and several Team In Training athletes as well. Tim and Karen Barry were there as well....a lot of people out to race!

Despite the recent snowstorm that hit Colorado and made the national news, Colorado Springs didn't get that much so the trail was 98% clear. Although in the teens on my drive in, the temp was probably in the mid-20s at race start and low 30s when I finished. The sun was shining brightly and there was only a light wind. For Feb 5th winter weather, no complaints at all!

In the hour that I had before the start, I made sure I had my hand-carry bottle with Nuun and a couple Hammer Gels in the zipper pouch just in case. I was going to use my race belt, but then opted to just pin on the number instead. I put my jacket, car key, and outer-pants in the gear bag and dropped it off. I went to the bathroom a couple times and did some dynamic warm-ups in the lobby. At about 10 minutes before "kickoff" I headed outside with Nate to do a little warm-up run. The crowd had gathered and shortly thereafter the gun went off.

I am working with a run/walk for the LA marathon, so this was a great place to put it into practice. I set my Garmin to do 20 5min/30s intervals. I did my best to stick to an 8min pace for the run segments and just walked the 30s. I pushed myself pretty hard - I haven't run like this in a long time, as my Ironman training was a lot slower. So running hard for just under two hours is pretty tough on the body, though I knew I have the base fitness to do it. And the Generation UCAN really does provide steady energy.

Here are my splits. Here's the Garmin data.

I was running with a group of people, and I'd pass them running, and they'd pass me walking. I'd expected this to happen. I basically just tried to run as hard as I could without over doing it. The walk breaks were definitely welcome! I was so glad to see the turn around, as that meant over half the race was over (it didn't quite finish where it started) and I just tried to use my leg strength to push the pace. It was cool to see Kelly Ping out on the trail (she wasn't racing) as she's training for the Leadville 100 run. Yeah. Mark Good was at one of the aid stations and he gave me a little extra cowbell.

My legs were hurting and I was breathing pretty hard, but the downhill sections allowed me to keep up a good pace. I stuck to my walk breaks the entire way (except the last one, as the finish line was just a minute away.)

I finished at 1:50:31, a little more than 2 minutes over my half marathon PR. 9/61 age group, 23/173 overall females. But based on my training and the fact that I walked 10 minutes of the race, I'm quite happy with that. Tim was at the finish line to cheer before he headed in to work, and the tri club guys were hanging out. Tim Barry was there, as was Ken. Some quick "how'd it go?" conversation and then we walked the few blocks to Jack Quinn's. My clothes I checked were there. I had to wait in line to get it and pick up my goodies bag (a pretty cool shirt and pint glass):

But before I stood in line too long for the goodies, I realized I REALLY needed to eat. There were no snacks at the finish line and the half a gel I had over an hour earlier was long gone. So I hustled to the snack table and grabbed some bananas and mini-clif and mojo bars. That helped! I had to walk a block or so to get to my car and get my dry clothes, and then back to Jack Quinn's to change and enjoy the post-race specials. Once I was changed...and that was a challenge in itself...try putting on compression tights in a small bathroom stall...a table had opened up and I got a seat and then ordered the breakfast special and an Odell's Pale Ale. John, Nate, Scott, Kim, Tim, and Karen all joined in on some post race cheers.

I chatted with Tim Bergsten to tell him I had a great race (and that there should be food and clothes at the finish!). He was really pleased with the turnout as it was about twice what he originally thought it would be. I left Quinn's but before I got back to my car, I stopped into Buttercup's Frozen Yogurt and got a snack for after I got home. Even though it was cold out, frozen yogurt treat sounded great! And it did taste delicious!

So with super sore legs after a Super Half, I walked back to my car drove home and plopped myself on the couch to work a little and enjoy the Super Bowl.


Christi said...

Congrats on a great race Nicole! I really enjoyed it myself and hope that this race stays on the schedule!

Nicole said...

Thanks, Christi! Saw you did the 5k...Awesome!!!

Ara said...

Sounds like a great race you had! I can't wait for the day I can do a 1/2 in less than 2 hrs.