I really love running half marathons. That, along with 15K and 20K races, seem to be my ideal distances. I can run a full marathon and I can run a 5K but I get the most out of a half.
Last Thursday evening, I ran the Tromptown Half. This was my first time running this particular race, not an odd statement since I haven’t been racing a full two years yet and who can run every race in the first year. This particular race was full of lessons for me. Lessons are good since I am less than two months from my second full marathon.
The first lesson learned was about nutrition. When I have a race in the morning, it is easy. I get up with enough time to eat, get to the race, etc. With the race starting at 6:15 – reality is I took the early start at 5:30 so I was across the finish line prior to dark, I was unsure when to eat. I had gotten up in the morning as usual and done some work and errands. My son was getting ready to head back to college so there was running around in the car. The problem was I was starved by 1 and trying to hold off eating until later. I didn’t do too good a job with that as I hungry mid-race.
The other nutrition was about in-race nutrition. I have found what I think is perfect for long races. I bought some Honey Stinger chews a few weeks back in Pomegranate Passion. These are not too big – an issue I have had with other chews – and not too sweet – always a problem. I started with one every 25 minutes or so and this worked until about mile 8 when, without proper planning, I ran out. Will try this same plan for my next half.
I was concerned and carried a water bottle with me. The reason for this was that the early start was new for this race, in its first year. The race director did say that he was not sure the water stops at miles two and three or four would be set up yet when we got to that point. I do understand logistics and was okay as I had seen this warning on the web site so came prepared. Many either didn’t see it or didn’t care to heed the warning.
And just so you know that races do not go perfect for me, I want to say I had a race plan. I did. I was going to run this race with a 5 minute run/1 minute walk ratio that I have been using in my training. I would also slow to a walk for water stops when they were needed. Unfortunately, I did what I always do at a race. I went out too fast. I ran mile 1 in 10:20. I didn’t take my walk breaks. I ran mile 2 in 11:30 – more my pace but still only one walk break. I ran 17 minutes before I took my first walk break. I do not think this is a bad thing. It is just not my original race plan. I also am okay with changing the race plan during the race to some extent. That being said, the not taking a walk break until 17 minutes is okay. The getting caught up in it being a race and going out too fast is not okay as it wears me down towards the end.
I am working on getting a camera – a point and shoot – so I can take photos during my races. I did not have a camera with me this past Thursday so no photos of mine. I am going to point you to two sites to see the area and the actual race photos.