Rochester Half-Marathon

August 25, 2012 – 8:20 am

Late report.

When I started running again in April, I had it in the back of my mind that the Rochester 1/2 would be a good goal. My return took longer than anticipated, but I got up to 10 miles by the weekend before the race. I had told myself that I just needed to get to that distance to be able to run it, figuring that if a 20 miler was sufficient for a full then 10 was sufficient for a 1/2 (* more on that).

I went back and forth the week of the race, partly wanting to see what the weather was and partly thinking I had no business trying to run a 1/2 when I only had 1 double digit run under my belt. I ended up heading down to the running store to register at 8:30 the night before the race. My final thought process was that I was probably going to try for 12 the next day anyway, so why not go for 13 and have some company?

This was the 3rd time running this race, and the 3rd course. The previous two years started in the same spot, but this time they moved down the street and took off to the north instead of the south. This meant that we got to avoid running the giant hill that the 2nd course had in the first two miles.

I had little idea of what to expect for pace. I started out at what felt like a hard but manageable pace. We ran from downtown out to the west. We ended up running around this man-made lake that was built a couple of years ago, and there was a nice breeze coming off of it. I can’t recall why I slowed during the 3rd mile. Mile 4 we finished running by the lake and went through a residential area.

The 4th mile marker was right around the second water stop, which I skipped because I had brought my handheld water bottle. The marker was also at the start of a steep, ~0.6 mile hill. The course had been pretty flat up until that point. A lot of people stopped to walk up the hill, but I ran up the entire thing. I didn’t feel like I was cruising that fast, but I managed to only lose a few seconds from the previous mile’s pace. A long downhill followed, and then we ran down a section of road where you could see people on the way back.

Mile 6 was boooooring. It was run on the shoulder of a road, in the direct sun. Somehow I managed to miss the 7 mile marker. Shortly after 7 miles, we came across the 3rd water stop. I’d been running near a woman in a blue shirt and she asked the volunteers if they knew when the next stop would be. I fell in stride with her and said that the stops were supposed to be every 2 miles, but I didn’t know why this one was at 7 instead of 6. She and I then ran side by side for awhile, talking some about running, kids, etc. It was great to have company, and she really helped pull me along because I was starting to feel the effects of the earlier fast miles, the giant hill, and my lack of endurance.

I had to say goodbye to my new friend shortly after 9 miles, because I felt myself fading and knew I couldn’t keep up with her pace. I had been skipping the water stations, but when I came up on the station after 9 miles I did stop. I took a cup of water from the volunteers and allowed myself to walk through the station so I could drink all the (cool) water.

The last couple of miles were rough, as I expected that they would be since I was under-trained. The last water station was after 11 miles, and I let myself walk through that one to get sports drink. I was able to pick my pace up for mile 13, which coincided with us reaching downtown again. We ran on the bike paths, one of my favorite old training spots. I was so eager to finish, and was able to finish with a good kick (Garmin claims 8:42 pace).

1 | 9:05
2 | 9:01 | 18:07
3 | 9:18 | 27:25
4 | 9:13 | 36:38
5 | 9:21 | 46:00
6 | 9:25 | 55:26
8 | 18:56 | 1:14:23 (9:28/avg)
9 | 9:37 | 1:24:00
10 | 10:02 | 1:34:03
11 | 9:53 | 1:43:57
12 | 9:55 | 1:53:52
13 | 9:34 | 2:03:26
13.1 miles | 2:04:19 | 9:29/mi.

Not a bad effort for my fitness right now. I had thought ahead of time that averaging 9:30 would be good – it probably would’ve been a more enjoyable run if I had just run that pace for the whole race.

* Follow-up. So it seems like running 20-22 is sufficient for running a marathon, but 10 miles is not for a 1/2, at least for me. 1/2 marathons seem much more tolerable for me if I’ve got some 14-15 mile runs under my belt.

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  1. Fran says:

    congrats on the first half in a while. I think I’ve seen half programs typically do upto 12 miles or so. 10 miles might be enough if you’ve strung together a few weeks of them though.

  2. Good job on the race, mg. I think all my half marathon training plans had 10 mile long runs as the last long run before the half, and that was run the weekend before the race.

    I’m not sure how people can talk in a race. I’m dying so badly after the first couple miles that all I can get out are grunts.

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