Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Race Report: Martian Festival of Races Half-Marathon - 8th Overall

Finally, my first race of the season is in the books!  After a long stretch of training, it felt good to get back on course and get a real indicator of where my run fitness is.  This race was interesting primarily because I haven’t ran in a stand-alone running race since 2009.  I know my running had changed significantly since that last race, and I was exciting to see how I compared to “real” runners!

Race Week:
My approach to this race was as a “motivated” training run.  There was no taper, so no real specific preparation from a training standpoint.  Looking at the big picture, I have Rev3 Knoxville on May 5 and Ironman Florida 70.3 5-weeks later, which are a bigger priority in the context of my triathlon season.  So race week it was training as usual, I just kept the hard bike and run efforts Monday through Wednesday, and took Friday easy to get ready for race day on Saturday.  While my race week training was uneventful, the weather we had was not.  It started raining on Tuesday and continued more or less through later Thursday for a total 2+ inches of rain.  Since the course is an out-and-back configuration on Hines Drive (a popular local training park) that lies on a flood plain, it wasn’t long before the course was under water.  I have to give credit to the race organizers since they had a certifiable backup course, so besides a course change, the race went on without a hitch.

Race Day:
The race day weather was less than ideal.  The temperature was in high-30s, 15-20 mph winds and a mix of light rain/snow.  Great temperature for running, but the wind and precipitation was not enjoyable.  The great part about weather is everyone has to deal with the same conditions.  Personally, I adapt well to harsh weather and I think it levels the playing field among abilities.

At 8:55 it was time to go, I lined up towards the right side second row from the front.  I chose the second row because the course starts with the first block uphill, then we turn right, directly into the headwinds, and wanted to let someone else lead the charge into the wind.  The horn sounded and we were off!  As we rounded the corner and headed into the wind, I stayed tucked behind the leaders in front of me.  Already the lead pack of about 6-8 started to pull away, with a single line of us following behind.  After about the first mile, the lead pack had broken away, then there was a smaller pack about of 2 about 50’ ahead slowly pulling away and I was staying sheltered from the wind in the 3rd group.  I had the feeling my group was slowing and not wanting to bridge too large of gap into the wind, I decided it was time move up to the group in front.  As I started to close, the 2 pulled ahead slightly as we went down a slight downhill.  After my initial surge I was stuck between the 2 groups, and decided to get back to my target pace, knowing that we would be turning out of the wind shortly and I would catch them eventually.

The rest of the race went well.  I was consistent on my pace, with hills or winds affecting my pace accordingly, slightly faster on downhills/tailwind or slightly slower on uphills/headwinds.   As I made my way through the course, I picked off a runner every 1-2 miles until about mile 11, where I held my position until the finish.

In the end I crossed the line in 1:20:16 (6:07 min/mile), which was 8th overall.  Based on my recent training runs, my goal was sub-1:22, and a stretch goal of sub-1:20.  I just missed breaking 1:20, but overall I am really happy with my results.  For those that are interested, here are my mile splits (min/mile) and HR (avg. bpm):

Mile 1:   5:57  (166)
Mile 2:   6:04  (168)
Mile 3:   5:53  (170)
Mile 4:   6:12  (169)
Mile 5:   6:00  (169)
Mile 6:   6:01  (171)
Mile 7:   6:17  (171)
Mile 8:   6:10  (168)
Mile 9:   6:07  (167)
Mile 10: 6:06  (168)
Mile 11: 6:09  (169)
Mile 12: 6:12  (167)
Mile 13: 6:03  (173)

With the first race out of the way, now it’s time to get ready for my first triathlon at Rev3 Knoxville on May 5.


  1. Welcome back to race season man! Best of luck in Knoxville!

  2. Thanks! Looking forward to next weekend!