Monday, November 14, 2011

San Antonio RnR Half Marathon Race Report

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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.

Race Morning:

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.

Jeff Irvin
11/13/11 - RnR Half Marathon
Time: 1:29:32
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,



  1. Congrats on the PRs for you and your wife. I will remember not to take any root beer when I run the rock n roll in miami. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wasn't my prediction for your 10-miler around 1:08??? I was really just predicting your 10 mile split for this race! haha

    Freaking awesome job! You tore it up!

    Congrats to Annie as well!

    Jagger? Really? Maybe that is the secret to a PR!

  3. HOLY CRAP!! Congrats!

    Jagger? Makes me puke.

    Love the kicking Predator ass. Hilarious.

  4. Awesome job Jeff!! And really? Jagger?? I need to sign up for a race like that! LOL

  5. That is DANG impressive. I think I need some lessons in tuning out pain and turning up the speed. Awesome!!!

  6. Way to go on the PR! I really need to put his race down on my list for next year.

  7. Note to self: Take shot of Jager at beginning of race.

    Nice job Jeff! Your grand scheme of running focus is REALLY paying off dividends! I am getting super excited thinking about the upcoming Marathon!

    How do the legs feel now compared to after the 50K?

  8. What a stud! Man, I can't believe how fast you did that half. AWESOME! You nailed it, and had to bust through the pain to do it. That must have made it even better at the end. Way to go, Jeff!

  9. First, congrats on a HUGE PR! That is fantastic. And to your wife too. What a day for you both! Second - as a relative newbie and someone who can't even run an entire 5K yet (still have to walk part of it), how slow were you when you first started running? Is there hope for those of us still working towards Bad Ass?

  10. TriMoE - Yes, I was slow. My first 5k run took me well over 30 minutes and I had to walk numerous times. Oh, and a few months later I learned that it was not even a 5k - only 2.6mi!

  11. Dude that's epic - well done. You've come really far and I think that's awesome.

  12. There could have been a ghost sighting, someone didnt want to play along, think about it, it could have gone viral and the thing to do at the Menger Hotel would have been started my Anne and you. So disappointed

    Congrats to both of you on the race

  13. So I guess running a 50k the weekend before is effective tapering for a half. Good to know!!

    Congrats on the awesome race and huge PR!!

  14. Incredible. And you must have really wanted that sub 1:30 to not have turned around and punch Jager-Asshat in the!

    Sub 7:00/mi is just fast. And now the best part: that is just normal for you. How cool is that?

  15. Geez dude. 10/1192?? You make us all look VERY bad. Congrats on a strong race especially on the heels of a 50K trail run. Animal!

  16. wow--great day all around! Like I said on Twitter, I am super impressed by your time one week post ultra. You go! And Annie rocked it too. Awesome.

  17. wow, you are soooo friggin speedy! congrats to you and annie - job well done!

  18. those are some gorgeous splits, congrats on the PR!

  19. Good stuff man. It actually looks like you are picking Predator's nose... does he have bright green boogers like his blood?

    I think the race was actually good for your legs, allowed you to flush all the crap out from the other race!

  20. HOLY CRAP that's speedy! Nicely done!

  21. Awesome race! A lot of times those races that we don't expect anything from our bodies turn out to be great performances.

  22. Great Race!
    nice job on the PR for both you and Annie
    excellent push at the end...sub 90 is sexy:)


  23. Nice job!! That's a great time and a great race write up! Hope my half this weekend goes half as well! (hehe). Congrats!

  24. Nice race report, Congratulations for a great job well done and looking forward always.

  25. Great job!! Cool to see how you built into your race (pacing) and really brought it home.

  26. Wow, you really are a machine out there - I don't doubt at all that you can run a sub 3:10 marathon!

  27. Dude, that is a mind boggling pace! Congrats. You crushed that race. I have a half coming up this Sunday (my first). With my crappy knees I will be lucky to get under 2:45. Pretty sick, huh?!?!