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?