Saturday, March 25, 2006

Race Report: Sam Costa Half Marathon, Indy, March 25, 2006

ORN: 13.1 miles, 2:04:37, 9:33/mile

What a difference a year makes.

Running is a lonely experience. It is also a gradual experience. Changes come slowly. We seldom get a chance to assess our real condition.

But once in a while we do…and today was such a day.

Sam Costa Half-Marathon is a relatively small race giving us Hoosiers a chance to run with others after slogging around by ourselves all winter. I ran this race a year ago and thus I got a rare opportunity to see just where I am in my running.

A year ago, this race was my first shot at a half-marathon since 1993. I didn’t know how I would do. My longest training run going into that race was 12 miles. I was nervous. The race went well, but it was work. I distinctly remember going through the 10 mile marker last year laboring somewhat, wondering if I’d finish. I did finish but it was tough, with a time of 2:06:35, a 9:41/mile pace.

Well, a lot more running in the year past. I count 10 races since the 2005 Costa. My objective right now is to finish, injury free, the
St. Louis Marathon in two weeks. So I entered this race just to get a long training run in as well as to enjoy the social aspects of a race. I intended to run at a 9:45/mile pace, the rate I hope to do the first 20 miles in St Louis. I was hardly nervous…in fact, my main focus was to simulate the pre-race routine I’ll use in two weeks.

And, go figure, I finished 2 minutes faster than a year ago. I never labored in the race. As the splits below show, I held the pace reasonably constant, which pleased me. As the race went on, I was going nuts with the slow pace. Since I felt good towards the end, I decided to open the gates over the last 1.1 miles…so when I hit the 12 mile mark, I sped up and finished strong.

Surprisingly, when I got home, I looked at my previous half-marathon times and see that this time is technically a PR for a half marathon, by one second. I’m not booking it as such, though. I really think the course was a little short as I looked at my Garmin. Plus, I simply didn’t have a PR effort. It doesn’t seem right. So, I’ll just call this one an enjoyable run.

Not much to comment on about the race. I was surprised how quickly the race went by. We had the start, took a while to get in a groove and, boom, there’s the five mile mark. A little more running, up a hill, round a corner…and boom, there’s the 10 mile mark. A few more turns, the 12 mile marker, put the hammer down, up a hill and it was over.

The one humorous thing about the race was the weather. We had a cold snap this week and a half hour before the start, it was 35 degrees. I decided to wear shorts, just because I love to run in shorts and, hey, the calendar says it is spring. As we assembled and got the race going, I observed about 5% of us were in shorts…the rest had black tights. I reported to my wife that this put me in the 95th percentile of something…a first for me in running!! Alas, after the race, I changed and got back in my car and it started snowing. And it continued to snow much of the hour’s drive home. Ahhhh, springtime in Indiana.

All in all, I find this humbling. Through no doing of my own, I’m able to run without injury, with time and a place to run that’s enjoyable. Races are available, it is fun. It is a gift of grace, for which I thank God daily.

A fun outing, hope you enjoyed the write up.


9 17, 10 09, 9 44, 9 44, 9 44.
9 57, 9 35, 9 24, 9 42, 9 36.
9 43, 9 48, 8 26.

Persevere. You just might get a chance sometime to see how you are doing.


Darrell said...

Nice job sticking to your plan. I love the race synopsis..5 miles, 10 miles, DONE! Hope the marathon goes as well.

David said...

Well that was easy. Imagine how it would have been if you were racing! I would put that down as a PR. The Garmin is NOT always accurate. If your time was a second better than the one a year ago, then it's a PR. If they say it's 13.1 miles, you have to believe them.
Take it!