First, do enough training. Then believe in yourself and say: I can do it. ~ Haile Gebrselassie
New PR: 1:26:24, 68th overall, 3rd in division
For a race in which I didn’t actually start feeling okay until past the half-way point, this one turned out well. I had zero expectations for this one so goal-setting was a bit of a challenge. Arbitrarily, I settled on 1:25 as a pie-in-the-sky goal, PR as goal #2 (though actually had my old PR wrong so nearly screwed this up) and a sub 1:30 as my “I’ll be okay with that” goal for the day.
My other objective for this race was to get a bit of a feel for the whole remote-start-line aspect since I will need to repeat this style of race-day shenanigans in November. I am not sure I really nailed any of it, but it was good practice.
I slept through my alarm a bit and was pretty tired as I zombied my way out the door around 5:30. Jammed up to Idaho Springs and made my way to the busses that took us up to the starting line in Georgetown. My buddy, Caleb, found me in line so we were able to hang out on the way up the hill and throughout the pre-race warm ups and whatnot. His friend, Mike, made it a trio.
We milled around the start area for about an hour, got our numbers, tried to stay warm, etc. With about 30 minutes to go before the start, we warmed up a bit (ran the first couple miles, which were on a loop, and did some strides) and then bullied our way into the front of the starting corral.
Pretty quickly after making it into the corral, it was time to race. I ditched my t-shirt and water bottle and we were off. I was pretty far up front so had clear sailing for the first couple of miles which featured some hills (up), tight corners, and relatively steep downhills. My buddy, Rafa Pacheco (who ended up 24th with a solid 1:21), ran by me about 1.5 miles in and we exchanged words of encouragement. I definitely went out a bit on the spicy side (have to knock that off) but settled into my target pace fairly quickly, though I wasn’t feeling super well.
I really struggled to find my pacing and shake whatever was causing me to feel so bad in the early going. Finally, I ducked into a toilet around mile 5.5 to relieve myself and this seemed to make things improve in the next couple of miles. I didn’t really start to feel okay until around mile 7 when I was able to pick up my pace on a stretch of dirt roads and start picking people off. I actually felt human for the next several miles, lost my rhythm a bit on a short uphill around mile 8.5, was able to recover from that and motor through about mile 12.5 then faded just a bit on the run up to the finish. After a couple of final turns, I was done with a new PR (barely) of 1:26:24.
Lessons learned: I certainly didn’t approach this race with as much focus as I probably could have and didn’t really eat or sleep as well as I should have in the week prior. I went out too fast but was able to overcome some wonkiness early, which was nice. Mostly just focused on staying smooth and working on form when things weren’t going quite to plan. At New York, I am going to try to get off my feet once I make it to the starting line. I definitely didn’t do this well yesterday. I also plan to take more clothing to the start as I was a bit chilly waiting for the race to get rolling yesterday.
All in all, it was a solid effort and a good race. I plan to do a recovery run today to see how things shake out and don’t think I’ll lose any real training time (another goal for this one). I feel like I am on track at this point and am hoping this event really helps kick start the rest of my NYC training. If you are looking for a fun half, I recommend the GTIS. Good stuff.