Saturday, April 05, 2008

Race Report: Indiana University Half Marathon

ORN: 13.1 miles, Run, 2:03:11, 9:25/mile

Race Summary

The first time I’ve ever run half marathons on back-to-back weekends. I shot for a 2:05 on this hilly course and beat that, with a negative split to boot. Cool and clear, another perfect day for running made for a most enjoyable outing.

Race Details

Sitting at dinner Friday night, Gretchen posed a question.

“So you are running a race tomorrow in Bloomington?”


“And how far is this one?”

It’s another half marathon, the same as last weekend.

“And what time do you have to leave in the morning?”

Uh, that would be 5:00am.

A pause and a smile; “And you regard this as huge fun?”

I just smiled in return. She loves me a lot.

I was up at 4:30 and backing out of the garage at 5:00am. (Gretchen reported later my departure didn’t disturb her sleep!) The 2 hour drive was uneventful, as was check-in. The temperature at the start was around 38, with projections to the mid 40s by the end of the race. Sunny skies and no wind made this quite enjoyable…a couple of technical layers and gloves were quite adequate.

Work and life intervened this week and I only had a single 5 mile run since last weeks half marathon. I wondered what my goal to “Run the best race conditions allow” meant this week. I concluded, rather quickly, the race would not be as quick as last week. It was a new course to me this week (vs the known course last week), a hilly course (vs a flat one) and my legs were not as fresh. David encouraged me not to over think this race and I didn’t. A target of 2:05 seemed about right; I wore my clunky Brooks Beasts and determined to just enjoy a lovely day.

The race started on time. I estimated about 800-1000 folks ran. We wove in and around the campus of Indiana University, a beautiful place, and the college town of Bloomington, Indiana. The course was quite hilly; I would guess there wasn’t more than 1 mile of the 13 even close to flat. We were up and down all the way.

Splits are deceiving on the hills. The “up” miles came in around 9:45 or so; the “down” miles were close to 9 even. I just tried to keep an even effort. Doing the math after the race, I did the first six miles in 56:48 (9:28/mile), and the next six in 56:35 (9:26/mile). That pleased me a lot.

During the Sam Costa race last week, a fellow runner observed the first six miles or so seem to crawl by, while the last mile seem to start clicking by very quickly. I’d never heard that so succinctly; I found it to be true last week and the same thing this week. All of a sudden miles 8, 9, 10, 11 just clipped by. The second half went really quickly, in my mind.

My legs felt heavy during the first few miles, worse than last week. But they seemed to perk up around mile 5 or so. By the time we got to mile 12, I knew I had gas left in the tank, so cranked it up a bit. Mile 13 went by in 8:53 and the Garmin told me I ran the last tenth, a downhill sprint to the finish line, at a 5:52 pace. It was very nice to see 2:03:11 on the watch. The organizers had a great finish; plenty of water and food, a nice medal, a great shirt and all for 25 bucks...a terrific value.

This has nothing to do with anything but it puzzled me during the race: Why do college kids not wear gloves? There were a lot of fresh-faced, intelligent-looking kids helping to direct runners on this chilly morning. But not a one of them had on gloves. Shirts, hoodies or coats were pulled down over their hands, shoulders scrunched up to keep the hands in the sleeves. All of them. My son, in college, won’t wear gloves either. Why?? I don’t understand. And I sound like an old fogie…

I had a first after the race. I was walking to my car when a man drove by, rolled down his window and said "Are you Joe Ely?" Well, yes. "Great! I read your blog!" How cool. Randy, thanks for stopping by and was great to meet you and your pal. Good luck in the Flying Pig!

As a proud graduate of Purdue University, I couldn’t help having some fun with our archrival Indiana University. So, after the race, I pulled on my Purdue shirt and had my photo taken in front of Assembly Hall, IU’s palace of basketball, former home of Bobby Knight and Kelvin Sampson. Go Boilers...we don't have scandals.

It was a fun day. Race 2 of 5 in the spring series in the books. I’m enjoying it.



robtherunner said...

Well done, Joe! I'm liking those negative splits. You'll have to teach me that trick one of these days.

Wes said...

Definitely a half marathoning fool :-) Congrats on a well run race and splendid time! I'm glad that Gretchen loves you so much... Somebody needs too :-D

John said...

Very well done! But tell me: HILLS in Indiana?? What must the locals think?

david said...

Great job on back to back races....see you are famous and didn't even know it!

david said... that your Rocket City hat in the pic?

Sarah said...

Wow, you're famous! ; ) : ) Nice work with the negative splits again!

P.S. You've been tagged! See my latest blog post for details. : )

Backofpack said...

Nice one Joe! Keep that "enjoyed the day" streak going and you'll be golden!

David said...

Randy's call out made it all worthwhile after another negative splitter. How sweet.

WADDLER26.2 said...

Great run, Joe. The weather was awesome this weekend. Think it is here to stay??

Nice time on the course and yes there are hills in Indiana.

Jen in Budapest said...

I like the blog title "run with perseverance." I think that's a great life motto too. Found you through Rob's blog and just getting inspiration to persevere!


crossn81 said...

Nice Job Joe.. quite an impressive performance after last week. I need to focus more on relaxing and enjoying the day while running an excellent race!

Darrell said...

Back to back races are fun, huh? Be careful or you'll be doing marathons on back to back weekends before you realize it.

Your conversations with Gretchen make me smile. I think Lisa has just given into the idea that I am hopelessly hooked on running and my brain is just not right.

Shilingi-Moja said...

Nice race, Joe. That had to be really satisfying. 2 halfs in 8 days -- not half bad.

Mary Gee said...

Great race report. How fun to be recognized by a blogger!