Fort Garry Rotary half marathon – 1:47:50 chip (corrected) – 15/31 in gender age group – 39/86 males – 48/177 overall

Correction – I originally had 1:47:45 as my official chip time – looks like I read the site incorrect and it was actually 1:47:50 (rest of the stuff in the title of the post are correct) – that has been corrected below and all the math that goes with it.

Official time was about 1 seconds faster than my unofficial number I fired up to twitter earlier.  1:47:50 chip – 15/31 in gender age group – 39/86 males – 48/177 overall

It was a nice clear morning but a bit chilly – cold enough that I had a long sleeve shirt under my standard running shirt and wore gloves.  By the end it was warm enough I wouldn’t have needed either item but it felt better at the starting line having them.

My worries about possible disorganization due to the delay in getting out packet pickup information were unfounded.  The race went well – in fact it started ahead of schedule from what I could tell.

Prior to the race they had several port-a-potties available – some designated solely female.  In the starting area they had the dry clothing drop off and a tent for with some heaters going to help keep the runners warm.  They also had some music playing to help get everyone energized.

There were 4 corals broken up by expected finish time – I was in the second coral.  First coral had the fastest runners (bibs 1-25), the second coral was the next 25 runners, 3rd coral was I think the next 50 and then everyone remaining was in the last coral.  They must have done a pretty good job sorting the corals out and assigning bib numbers because I had bib 49 and placed 48th.

The course was well marked and there were many volunteers on the course to help direct the runners to make sure they didn’t head down the wrong side streets.  Overall the volunteers did an excellent job cheering people on and directing them where they needed to go.

There were a couple rough patches of road on the course but as the course wasn’t crowded it was easy to move away from those areas and get around them.

The race provided some nice residential and park scenery and was mostly a level course – there were couple spots where runners had to do some hills to get on the bridge over the river or run under an overhead road bridge but overall it was flat.

The course had mile markers every mile on the side of the road and painted 5km multiples right on the road.  I found these to be a great asset to let me hit the lap button every marker to see how I was doing for time.  It also helped assure me that my Garmin was basically on track for distance too.

The water stops seemed to be well placed and had lots of water – I did seem to have an issue though finding Gatorade – I only managed to get 2 cups through the race – this might have been my issue as I had headphones on and didn’t hear what they were calling out so I might have been missing who had the Gatorade and who didn’t.  I think a bit more Gatorade might have help a few rough patches I had – I will have to pay more attention at water stops in the future.

After the race they had a massage tent (which I didn’t use), refreshments of water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, bananas, bagels, cookies and soup.  I only had a cookie and a chocolate milk but they appeared to have more than enough to provide for all the runners.

For how I did – I am basically happy with what I have done – it is a new 2nd best for me and is only 1:39 (99 seconds) short of my personal best and it showed an improvement of 2:04 over the Run for Diabetes Research half marathon from 3 weeks ago.  This gives me hope that with continued focused training and weight loss, I will be able to catch my personal best on the Winnipeg Fire and Paramedic Services half marathon on October 19th (just under 4 weeks away).

Because of the mile markers I was able to do some deeper analysis on my pace and relate that to how I was feeling and what I was thinking about at the time.  First mile was way too fast at 7:25 (definitely didn’t “go out slow to conserve energy”), second mile was better at 7:54 and then I settled in to averaging around 8:10 for the next 3 miles.  After that my pace slowed down to just over 8:20 for 3 miles – I think this was mostly as I was around the half way mark to the hour mark as I tried to figure out if I could hit my PR or not and I think it must have clicked there that it was possible but pretty tough to do at that point.  Between miles 8 and 10 though I got things to click again as I pushed through it and got my average pace back up around 8:10 for a few miles but a longer walk break at a water stop brought my mile 11 down to 8:42 and pretty close to put a nail in the coffin for the PR but I managed to go a bit quicker for mile 12 at 8:32 but still wasn’t go fast enough and I had to get my head back in it for the finish.  So mile 13 I pushed on and got back down to 8:11 and kept about the same pace or a little better for the last 0.1 miles.  I didn’t have anything left for a big sprint at the finish but still push hard.

Right now I am feeling pretty good – no injuries or anything to deal with so came through unscathed for sure.  There were definitely a few spots where I could have gotten my speed down lower (mostly by pushing a bit harder and probably getting more Gatorade or something in me for fuel than I did).  In the end though I think I could have gotten really close to my personal best but a few minor tactical errors added up and cost me.  But if I learn from them then I should be ok to make in on my next half with a hard drive.

My weight is another item to look at – I was 219 this morning which is 4 pounds down from where it was when I did the Run for Diabetes Research 3 weeks ago but it should have been lower (215-216) and those extra few pounds down would have helped too.

I was also probably carrying too much stuff too – I didn’t use my water bottle at all from my belt – that is probably a couple pounds I didn’t need to carry with me especially in the cooler temperatures (I don’t even take a water bottle with me on training runs outside at that distance most of the time) – so I think on the next race the bottle will get left behind.  Or possibly replaced with an electrolyte drink or more Coke.

I brought 2 fuel belt bottles with me with Coke in them and I used those but probably started too late at sucking on those.  I might look at bringing 4 of those instead of 2 plus a liter of water.  I am more likely to drink the Coke and it would give me an added boost and provide an energy buffer if I miss the Gatorade at the water stops again.

I also ran with no other fuel – no candies or gels or anything like that so that was good – but I was carrying a bunch that while they don’t weigh much are just one extra thing to carry around.

And then there is the weight around my belly – I need to get the weight loss moving faster again with the hope of being down around another 5-10 pounds for the next race in 4 weeks.  This is definitely possible but will need to be done carefully on top of the training.

Over the next few days I will also need to decide if I keep on with what I have been doing with training for these 2 halves (with lots of speed work) or if I back off a bit of the speed work for longer distance runs as training for the Goofy starts to get real.  Decision still needs to be made on the direction to take there.

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