My Sixth Half Marathon: New Orleans Rock n Roll

New Orleans Rock n Roll Half Marathon Medal
Oh the dirty, painful things I’ll do for beads.

Sunday I participated in my sixth half marathon — the New Orleans Rock n Roll.

Having trained to & recently accomplished my first sub-30 minute 5K in over 8 years (~9:40 min/mi pace) I was very optimistic (cocky?) of my progress. I thought my first sub 2:30 half marathon was certain (~11:26 min/mi pace). My training reflected this self-assuredness – most was invested in sprint workouts; my longest long run was a mere 8 miles at a 10:15 min/mi pace with 2 rests.

Unfortunately, the race humbled me and reminded me I have a lot to do before I hit my goal.

During Sunday’s race I was cruising along and within target for the 1st half at an average 11:10 min/mi pace with controlled fade. My heart rate was a reasonable 65-75% of max heart rate (145-158 BPM) — all systems go. Then, halfway in, my legs became dead weights. By mile 11 I was shuffling along at 14 min/mile but my heart remained slightly above 75% of max heart rate. My official time for the 2013 New Orleans half marathon was 2:36:37 (11:57 min/mile pace).

I shouldn’t be hard on myself – that’s still 10 minutes faster than my first half marathon 15 months earlier in Savannah where I snailed out a 2:47:52 half marathon (12:44 min/mi pace). It wasn’t even my worse — I crawled through the Nashville half marathon with a 2:49:01 time (12:54 min/mi pace) and nearly fell over from heat exhaustion at the end. However, it yesterday’s race was 2 minutes slower than my PR 12 months earlier at Berry college (2:34:56 @ 11:49 min/mi pace).

This race performance shouldn’t have happened. The course had only a 40 foot elevation change and the weather was in the mid 60’s. Part of the problem was the amount of walking I did the days before the race. My brother’s UP pedometer by Jawbone, which is -+10% within accuracy, counted a record number of steps the days prior.

  • Three days: 15,000 steps, or ~7.5 miles
  • Two days: 21,000 steps, or ~10 miles
  • Day before: 16,000 steps, or ~7.5 miles

Even the day of the race we measured 38,000 steps, or just shy of 20 miles total. In other words, we walked a full 7 miles in addition to the 13.1 miles of the half marathon, albeit at a much slower pace.

My next race is the Berry College half marathon in 4 weeks, my first half marathon course repeat. Will my revenge be sweet?

NOLA_13_CourseMap_Full3
L1: 10:45
L2: 10:50
L3: 10:49
L4: 11:06
L5: 11:15
L6: 11:15
L7: 11:36
L8: 11:49
L9: 12:27
L10: 12:21
L11: 13:07
L12: 14:01
L13: 13:03
L14: 10:51

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2 thoughts on “My Sixth Half Marathon: New Orleans Rock n Roll

  1. Well done on finishing the race, despite the unfortunate bonk. I try to stay off my feet as much as I can before every race, even if it means missing out on some sights. I ran the full marathon and enjoyed every step, mostly because I spent the day before napping on a couch. It makes me less worldly though … a fair trade off?

    Good luck in four weeks!

    • Dan: I’ve definitely learned my lesson. I’m sure a mile or so the day before will help keep things loose and the anxiety at bay — but 17 miles of walking the days prior wasn’t the best idea.

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