Sunday, July 27, 2008

Riley's Rumble - Long Run / Race

This weekend's run on the training plan called for "Endurance Run - 70+ min".  I did a bit of exaggeration with the 70+ min part :-)

Today was the Riley's Rumble Half Marathon.  I did my first half marathon on this course two years ago and ran it again last year.  It is a "low key" race of the Montgomery County Road Runners Club - and since I'm a member of MCRRC it's a free race for me (MCRRC dues are $25 a year).  With most Half Marathons being in the $45-$70 range, a free race is a great relief to the wallet.

However, this is not an easy course.  There are a lot of steep hills.  And the two times that I have run this race, I have had to walk a lot during the second half of the race since my legs (mainly my quads) were in lots of pain.

Since I hadn't really trained up for a Half Marathon - and I'm only a few weeks from getting over the hamstring/calf injury and did not want to re-aggravate the injury - I decided that I would run this race, but as a training long run instead of as a race.  I thought of it as running a 13 mile long run with a bunch of other runners and water stops along the way.

My plan for running this race today was as follows: 1) keep the pace like a training run and 2) walk up the steep hills.

I stuck to the plan....but it was difficult.  There's a big hill in the first mile and a second one right before the second mile marker.  I don't think anyone likes to stop to walk during the first mile of a run - but I had a plan and wanted to stick with it.  I also know from experience that these two hills really takes a lot out of you which makes the rest of the course more difficult.

The end result - 2:26:30 - an 11:11/mile pace.  My splits were nearly identical - 1:13:23 on the first half and 1:13:07 on the second half (it's actually a slight negative split - which I have never done in a race this long!)  This is about 10 minutes slower than my best Half Marathon time and about 6 minutes slower than my time last year.  However, I felt a lot better after this run.  I was not in pain - which has happened to me the last two times I ran this race.  Also, I was walking when I decided to and not because my legs were on fire and I couldn't get them to run for me.  Most importantly, I did not re-aggravate my injury.  I think I may be out of the woods on this one!

I did have a dilemma this evening - how do I represent this run in my training log?  It was a race - but I ran it like a training long run.  I decided to make it a race and add notes in my log that I ran it like a training run.  I've decided that if I have to pin a number on to run, it's a race no matter how slow I take it...

Sherry is out of town for the next two days, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to get a run in.  I think the only way I'll be able to is if I go to the gym and put the kids in babysitting.  Given timing of activities, it would have to be tomorrow afternoon when my older son gets home from camp.  I'll see how I've recovered from this morning's run and make a "game-time decision".

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