Danville Half Marathon

The day has finally arrived and just as quickly is gone.  It is amazing how fast 13 miles flies by 🙂  I was up by 5:00 this morning – for one I couldn’t sleep –  and two, we had to be in Danville, VA this morning to pick-up my racing packet.  The nice thing is the race didn’t start until 10, so we weren’t up and at’em as early as we could have been.

The trip down was uneventful, except for the fog on Afton Mountain.  If you live in the area, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  There is always fog on the mountain.  In fact, they have installed special lights in the roadway, when the fog gets dense.  The crazy thing about this morning, is there was nothing, and then, all of a sudden, a very thick, dense fog.  It so happens that the top of the mountain is our exit and going back down the mountain, we didn’t have the special fog lights leading the way.  As quickly as the fog enveloped us, it went away.  It still is amazing how long it stays dark in the morning.  We were almost into Lynchburg, before we had any significant amount of daylight.

We got to the race area – had some trouble finding the registration area and then had to wait for about an hour until the race started.  This was a little un-nerving for me and I had to keep telling myself “trust your training” and “trust your instincts.”  To add to the uneasiness was the fact that my ankle injury was really acting up this morning.  Several doses of ibuprofen helped and then running and working away the stiffness helped some, but the stiffness never really went away, so I ended up running with it.

Finally it was time to start the race.  I jumped out to a quick start – almost too quick. Although my breathing really didn’t indicate that.  When I reached the first mile post, I looked at my watch and almost fainted.  An 8:00 minute mile – that was not a sustainable pace, I pulled back a little and the next mile registered at 8:16 – still a little fast.  After that, I settled into a nice pace that didn’t waiver more than 10 seconds either way off my final pace.

So how did I do?  I am excited to report that I finished the half-marathon (13.1 miles) in 1:50:30.  Which gave me an overall pace of 8:25/mile.  Like I said, except for the first mile, my pace was 10 seconds + or – of that pace, which means I really nailed that pace.  Why am I so excited?  Not only did I set a new personal record (PR), I crushed the old PR of 2:01:04.  I was over ten minutes faster.  We stayed for the awards ceremony and I narrowly missed getting an award for placing in my age division.  The third place finisher, finished in 1:47 something.  Not bad for a guy who only took up running three years ago.

One other cool factoid comes from comparing my performance in the Staunton 10 Miler two years ago (which was two weeks earlier.) That day I completed 10 miles (on a much hillier course) in 1:55.  Today my 10 mile split was 1:24:17 – taking a full 30 minutes off that time.

My goal(s) for next Saturday:

1.) Finish in less than 2 hours (this is a 9:06/mile pace) and would also give me a PR (Personal Record for the distance of 13.1 miles.) – The way my training runs have gone, I have a fairly reasonable chance of making this goal. Still, there’s any number of things that can go wrong, so there are no guarantees.
2.) Finish in less than 1:55:00. I have been running in the 1:55 type pace over the last few weeks.
3.) Finish in less than 1:50:00. If everything is perfect, I may be able to get this, but that’s why you set multiple goals
So I was able to complete goals one and two and almost completed goal three.  I had some serious cramping going on by 10 miles and really had to push through the last 3 miles.  In other words, I had to persevere – I had to press on!  As I look back – I was passed by several runners early in the race (upto about 4 miles in.)  At that point, we were all running at about the same pace, but it wasn’t long, because of my training that – one by one – I started reeling in the runners and picking them off and passing them.  That is why you run at a steady pace.  It was a great morning and just below are some pictures of today.

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Now for the runner geek in me and for my journaling, here are my splits.

Mile 1 – 8:00
Mile 2 – 8:16
Mile 3 – 8:26
Mile 4 – 8:23
Mile 5 – 8:30
Mile 6 – 8:31
Mile 7 – 8:31
Mile 8 – 8:25
Mile 9 – 8:34
Mile 10 – 8:36
Mile 11 – 8:38
Mile 12 – 8:23
Mile 13 (plus the .1 mile) – 9:28

Pressing On!

Edit: (Added 10/30/2012) Here are the overall results – I finished 38th overall out of 172 runners and finished 5th out of 11th for my age group.  My official time is the same as what I clocked on Saturday.

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