Saturday, February 22, 2014

2014 Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail Half marathon Race Report

It was a good race. Nearly great. No PR but I managed to push things hard enough in the last half that I'm still cramping up a bit. Although, that probably isn't all that good but it's a minor cramp so I'm not too worried about it.

Anyway, on with the extremely long race report. Last night I had a bad dream about my father dying and I was stuck planning his funeral. The worst part was I couldn't wake up and when I did wake up I couldn't think of a different dream to have. So I was stuck for about 2 or 3 hours trying to dream of something else. Eventually, my alarm when off and I took my shower. I got suited up and headed out the door.

Once at the race, I helped direct traffic into the parking lot. It was a soupy mess and only a few people parked in the lot, which was probably good because it helped preserve the lot fairly well. After volunteering for awhile, I made my way to the bathroom, suited up and stripped down to run, then waited for the race to start.

Along the way I saw Ashland Dave, Alice and her husband Shawn, and Donna. I saw a few other familiar faces as well but since I"m horrible with names, I can't really list them.

Anyway, I took some photos of the race start while I waited for my wave to start and talked to my dad. Once most of the waves took off I headed to my section in the last wave. I volunteered as the backup sweep in case the Mule didn't make it but it did make it so I opted to just start in the back and work my way forward. Since we left in waves, the first wave had 14 minutes on me. I wasn't worried about that but it may account for my place in the age group. There was only one other guy in my wave and I know I picked a few off over the last few miles.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The first half of the race was pretty slow going and I repeatedly tried to keep my heart rate down and my pace slow. But it didn't work out so well and I often found myself creeping up. Around Mile 4, the leader was coming back and had a solid 5 to 10 minute lead on anybody behind him. He was totally smoking it out there. Around this time, I had 6 people behind me, two of them were walking. For the next 3 miles I would run a few steps, stop, take a picture of a runner, then repeat. So those miles were slower and I expected that but I was happy it slowed me down.

After the turn around, with 6 miles left, I was able to put the camera away and focus on running. I turned my music on, put my head down, and turned the heat up. I picked off two runners pretty quick but didn't see any for awhile after that. I made it to about 4.5 miles left and saw a glimpse of a shirt ahead of me, maybe half a mile down the trail. I dug a little deeper and pushed a little harder. With about 3 miles left I passed a volunteer checking bibs and he said they had 5 minutes on me. So I continued to push. With 2.5 miles left, I saw not just one or two but a whole group of runners. So I kept pushing. With about 2 miles left I finally caught up to the last runner in the pack, passed him, and kept pushing. Within the next half mile I passed another 4 or 5 runners. The trail was almost clear in front of me and the nearest runner would end up being uncatchable. They'd finish about a minute before me but I still tried.

I was totally gassed by the end and didn't have much of a kick at the end but I was happy with my results. Last year I ran the same race in 3:33 but that was because I was sweep. My two prior results for this race included my PR of 2:23 in 2012 and a time of 2:33 in 2011. So, even though this wasn't my fastest, I feel great about my pace in the second half of the race. Great enough that I'll try to crunch the numbers later.

When I finished, I grabbed some donuts, some fluids, then headed home after stretching a bit.

Temps were 30F to 35F at the start but warmed to 55F to 60F by the finish. Sky was clear. No wind.

Fluids and Fuel:
Before the run I had a banana and coffee. About 30 to 45 minutes before the race started I had some GenUCAN (lemonade). Right before my wave started, I had an applesauce pouch. Around Mile 6.5 I had another applesauce pouch. Between Mile 6.5 and Mile 9 I had a bottle of Hammer Fizz. Around Mile 10 I had an Accel Gel. During the whole race I had plain water in my hydration pack. Recovery was two donuts, Hammer Recoverite, and about an hour later a lunch of a ham and cheese sandwich, iced tea, and macaroons.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really hurt until the last few miles when my toenails started to bother me. Guess I really need to trim them closer. The last few miles I also had some tightness in my hamstrings and calves but based on my pace, I'm not surprised. The rest of the day went well but my left hamstring cramped up twice, just a little bit, and my right hip feels tight.

Wore my new Lone Peaks (PORKINS), gaiters, T-Star Running shorts/headband/arm sleeves, Buff, short sleeve shirt, and gloves. I also took along my camera, knife, hydration pack, and probably more water than I needed.

Heart Rate:
First few miles were a bit high, then I slowed things down a bit then really burned it up.

Mile 1 - 13:08 (AVG HR 139)
Mile 2 - 12:26 (AVG HR 154)
Mile 3 - 12:43 (AVG HR 159)
Mile 4 - 13:02 (AVG HR 161) (average since I forgot to hit split)
Mile 5 - 13:02 (AVG HR 161) (average since I forgot to hit split)
Mile 6 - 14:18 (AVG HR 158)
Mile 7.1 - 16:27 (AVG HR 160) (includes extra tenth of a mile at turnaround point)
Mile 8 - 11:55 (AVG HR 169)
Mile 9 - 12:01 (AVG HR 170)
Mile 10 - 10:32 (AVG HR 172)
Mile 11 - 11:19 (AVG HR 174)
Mile 12 - 11:59 (AVG HR 178)
Mile 13 - 10:59 (AVG HR 180)
Finish - 2:43:56
AVG HR - 164
MAX HR - 194 (how the hell is this possible?!)
MIN HR - 86
RHR - forgot to measure it
Weight - 222.8 (after the race and after hydrating)

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