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At one point the day before the race I considered not running as my legs were still not feeling good from last weeks 50K Trail Run. Based on the results this would have been a mistake as this was a big time PR and also accomplished a small goal I had set of running a sub-1:30 Half Marathon. This was by far the largest race (over 30k) I have ever ran.
Annie and I were staying at the "Haunted" Menger Hotel which was two short blocks from the start line. The hotel was awesome and I will post some pics from it later. No ghost sightings ...sigh.
The race started at 7:30am as opposed to the normal 7am starts we have become accustomed. The reason for the later start was that the organizers had put together a charity ride on the marathon course. Makes sense since the roads are already shut down. I saw many a cyclist who was pumped about being able to ride through the city sans traffic.
There were over 30,000 people running the full and the half so toss in all the spectators and the Alamo Plaza/Convention Center area of San Antonio was packed jammed. We run with the LifeTime Fitness Run Club from the Lake Houston LTF and we had around 20 or so run club members doing the race so we spent the time before the race looking for everyone. Once everyone was located it was time to get ready.
The way these large Rock n' Roll series races work is that they have corrals based on your expected finish time. Annie had heard they had over 30 corrals this year and to look down the street this would have seemed right as runners were lined up as far as you could see.
My friend Bobby and I were in the first corral as we both put down an expected finish time of 1:30 for the half. Our corral had all the pros and a bunch of intimidating-looking (aka-skinny, not tough) elite runners. Bobby had run the 50k last weekend as well and we both decided to take it easy as our legs were still a little out of sorts. The plan was to just start off and stay with the heard and then back off a little when things spread out and we could find some real estate to claim as our own. This plan was a massive fail.
The gun went off and we starting moving at around 7min pace. Surprisingly, my legs had some spring in them and felt remarkably good. Bobby was with me for about the first mile and I looked back and told him I was going to see what I could do.
The first four miles felt pretty good, lots of turns on the course and a few hills made it difficult to find a real rhythm but it was so early in the race that it did not really bother you too much. At the mile 3 point there was a band and a bunch of people handing out drinks. One guys was yelling "Root Beer" and I grabbed it thinking a shot of soda would give me a boost. Well, it was Jager. Half of it went down the other half went out my nose. If it wasn't so damn funny I would have turned around and punched the guy in his head.
By mile 5 the lactic acid was starting to creep up in my quads and my new goal was to see if I could hold a 7min/mi pace. The lactic acid burn became manageable and for the next 4 miles and I was just cruising along enjoying the day. Somewhere around mile 9 the sun started to come out and you could really start to feel the humidity. I noticed my breathing was becoming labored and an uncomfortable lung burn was beginning to rear it's unsightly head! I told myself to hold the pace until mile 10 and then just back off and cruise on in over the final 5k. For the second time today a plan was a massive fail.
A few weeks back I had done a 10mi Race (10 for Texas) and despite some muscle issues I ended up with a strong finish time of 1:11:08. So when I passed a race clock at the 10mi point and saw the time of 1:08:45 blaring at me it was time to make a decision. I looked down at the Garmin and did some quick math and figured I needed a time of 20:30 over the final 5K to get in under 90 minutes.
Actually said to myself out loud, "This is gonna hurt!"
And the race was on.
I passed a ton of people in the final 5k and just kept tuning out the pain as the Alamodome kept getting closer and closer. The final 1/2 mile of the race is up a big hill. Last year I was a spectator standing on this hill and I was remembering all the people I saw walking into the finish. That would not be me this year as I hit the hill with authority and busted ass up that sucker.
I crossed the finish line with 28 seconds to spare - 89minutes, 32 seconds.
11/13/11 - RnR Half Marathon
Overall Place: 149/19365
Gender Place: 125/7337
Age Group Place: 10/1192
Here are the Garmin Splits:
1 - 6:59
2 - 6:46
3 - 6:42
4 - 6:50
5 - 7:00
6 - 6:58
7 - 6:52
8 - 6:46
9 - 6:39
10 - 6:45
11 - 6:41
12 - 6:51
13 - 6:31
.1 - 5:50
Overall this was a fantastic race. Spectator support was amazing and running through San Antonio was pretty cool. The weather ended up being warm and humid but we all made the best of it as us Texans are used to the pea soup. We enjoy San Antonio and this race so much that we will be doing it again in 2012! Whose in?
A big congrats to my wife Annie who set a PR @ 1:53:01. Congrats to my friends Bobby and Beth who also set PR's of 1:42 and 1:47 and to all the other wonderful runners from the LTF Run Club!
And another huge shout out to my cousin Bonnie who did her first 26.2 yesterday! She is super competitive and did not let the mid-80 degree temps slow her down. Congrats Bon!
**** Edit **** I just re-read this race report and it was not very fun and much more serious than most of my Race Reports. I apologize for this and leave you with a picture of me kicking Predator ass:
|"You Are One Ugly M*******"|
Thanks for Reading,