Category Archives: half marathon

Rock N Roll USA Half Marathon

Start time: 3/15/2014, 7:50am
Location: All over Washington DC
Distance: 13.1 miles
Finish time: 2:05:52
Average pace: 9:27min/mile
Total Miles For March: 36 miles
Total Miles For 2014: 164 miles
Current Shoes: 230 miles

Much better than the last two times I ran this course (2011 & 2013), both of which were in the 2:13 range. I ran the first half with Armand, which went well and uneventful. I knew I was going to lose him at the hill exiting Rock Creek Park, in part because I was starting to overheat and I’d decided that once we left the park I was ditching a layer, and partially because he’s great on inclines.

So when we got to the hill, I took my one walk break in the race around the halfway point, which allowed me to catch my breath, and then fumble with my t-shirt that was underneath the long-sleeved one and remove it. According to Mr GPS it added about a minute onto my time, so not bad at all. After that, I kept running it out, although looking at Armand’s splits he definitely picked up the pace big time once he was on his own. (Which he should have! He’s faster than me and even if I didn’t lose him on the hill, he needed to make that break before long.)

Nothing too big to report. One tiny calf twinge around mile 12.75, so it was great to not encounter those like last year. On the whole, much happier with this finish time. It’s not as good as some of my better halves but it’s closer to those finish times (1:58-2:01 range) than I’ve been in in the past for years. So that’s a great improvement.

Rock ‘N Roll USA Half Marathon

Rock ‘N Roll USA Half Marathon
Start time: 3/16/13, 8:00am
Location: Washington DC
Distance: 13.1 miles
Finish Time: 2:13:34
Average pace: 10:12min/mile
Total Miles For March: 46 miles
Total Miles For 2013: 118 miles
Current Shoes: 17 miles

Another year, another March race. This is one where my training’s been a little haywire but I was still hoping for better. Unfortunately I started cramping around mile 8, which added with back pains around mile 1 and in retrospect I should be glad I finished. Nothing seemed to go quite right, unfortunately. Dressed too warmly and in layers that would be difficult to remove, coupled with (making a mistake I’ve done before) filling my water bottle with a sports drink that I then barely sipped because I’m not crazy about the taste. Between the two I might have dehydrated a little bit. Oops.

Bizarrely I ended up within seconds of the last time I ran this race, two years ago. And also one in which I wasn’t thrilled about. So I guess that’s… something? Maybe?

Anyway. I finished, that’s a victory, but there are a lot of lessons to be learned here that I’m still parsing.

An entire race of “eh”

National Half Marathon
Start time: 3/26/11, 7:00am
Location: Washington, DC
Distance: 13.1 miles
Finishing time: 2:13:27
Average pace: 10:11min/mile
Total Miles For March: 66 miles
Total Miles For 2011: 164 miles

Another spring, another half marathon… well, except this was the most “eh” half marathon I think I’ve run. I was never feeling it from start to finish, unfortunately. Just a lot of plodding along, wondering when it would be over, never quite having the drive (or speed) that I wanted. Considering I was some 11 minutes off of the last race of this distance I ran, it showed. My third worst, and the other two were the Disney Half Marathon (where I was saving a lot of energy for the full marathon the next day), and my very first half marathon back in 2003 when I weighed a hell of a lot more (and it was an hour slower). Oh well; everyone’s got a not-good race (or five) in them, and this was one of mine.

As for the race itself, well… I swear, each year this race finds something new to screw up. This year it involved mile marker signs that were mostly not set up (what are the odds that everyone missed them?), and the ones that were set up were incredibly small and also parallel to the street so you couldn’t see them until you were on top of them, if at all. Nicely done there. On the brighter side, this year the course went through Howard University instead of (at least back in 2009, the last time I ran this particular race) near the hospital, so that was a nice change of scenery. And I loved seeing Charlie, Cristina, and Brett along the way, plus getting to see Beth and Chris come up toward the finish line after I was done. And my friend Ben from my running group did really well, so that was an added bonus too.

Since my GPS said I ran 13.3 miles, I have no reliable splits for this race, so you don’t get them either.

Return to Virginia Beach

Shamrock Half Marathon
Start time: 3/21/10, 7:00am
Location: Virginia Beach
Distance: 13.1 miles
Average pace: 9:18min/mile
Finishing time: 2:01:51
Total Miles For March: 60 miles
Total Miles For 2010: 179 miles

The last time I was in Virginia Beach for a race, it was 2003, the race was the Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon, and I was much heavier than I am now. So if nothing else, I knew I would do better than a 3:14 finishing time.

That said, it was an odd feeling going into the race. With multiple blizzards this winter (and then my community center/gym being closed for weeks at a time because of said snow), I knew I was not as well-prepared as I could have been. I had a feeling that a PR was not happening, even as I kept hoping it would. After yet another pre-race night’s sleep being not very good (when will I learn to pack benadryl?) coupled with my body deciding to try and remove all moisture from itself beforehand, though, and I should’ve seen the writing on the wall.

I actually had an ok time for the first 8.5 miles, but after that I started dragging a bit, and just feeling out of energy and enormously thirsty. During mile 10 I ended up walking while drinking a cup of Gatorade, and while I rallied a bit for the next mile, miles 12-13.1 were the pits. A pity, too, because that’s when you finally get to the concrete boardwalk and it’s a pretty finish area. So, no PR, and not even under 2 hours (also disappointing) but at least the 2:01:51 was nowhere near my first race in Virginia Beach so no complaints. I’d told myself last month this would probably happen, so at least it wasn’t a surprise. You just move on and try and do better the next time.

(9:14, 17:45 (miles 2-3), 8:47, 8:49, 9:03, 9:05, 9:06, 9:24, 9:57, 9:38, 9:54, 10:03, 1:01 (.1))

National Half Marathon 2008

The National Half Marathon

Start time: 3/29/08, 7:00am

Location: Washington DC

Distance: 13.1 miles

Finishing time: 2:00:17

Average pace: 9:11min/mile

Miles for March: 57

Just realized I’d never gotten around to posting this. So, the disappointment that was the National Half Marathon this year.

A year earlier I ran the race, had an extra quarter mile tacked on by accident, and finished with a 1:58:17. This year? Two minutes slower, but without the added distance. So what happened? A few things. I hadn’t trained as well, something I knew going into the day. My longest run beforehand was a 10-miler, and looking back to the previous year (as well as this year’s splits) having a 12-miler under my belt really had helped. (I felt soon after hitting marker 10 like I’d run out of gas.) A mistake I won’t make again. In general, though, I just wasn’t feeling as excited about the race, and that can be a bad thing.

It’s also worth noting that this year’s course was much steeper than last year’s for the half-marathon. That climb up through mile 8? It wiped me out, and then once I hit new distance (as you’ll see below) everything just sort of crashed and burned. There was also some self-sabotage going on with what I can best term “bad math.” I remember finishing mile 11, seeing the split, and thinking it was impossible to stay under 2 hours. Well, that wasn’t really the case at that point, but it certainly seemed like it. And I am sure that given a mental defeat, my body followed along rather stupidly.

(I’m also kicking myself for needing a minute long bathroom break during mile 3. Had I just peed in the parking lot right beforehand like I’d contemplated, at least being sub-2:00 probably would’ve been in the bag. Oh well.)

Live and learn, live and learn. And hey, it wasn’t a personal best, but I did finish and it was faster than my 2006 time. I’m really glad I ran it.

Mileage Mile Times Total Time Overall Pace Elevation
1 09:27.7 0:09:28 0:09:28
2 08:47.1 0:18:15 0:09:07
3 09:38.9 0:27:54 0:09:18
4 08:30.2 0:36:24 0:09:06
5 09:00.3 0:45:24 0:09:05
6 09:18.7 0:54:43 0:09:07
7 09:25.4 1:04:08 0:09:10
8 08:57.7 1:13:06 0:09:08
9 08:58.5 1:22:04 0:09:07
10 08:55.3 1:31:00 0:09:06
11 09:20.4 1:40:20 0:09:07
12 09:45.3 1:50:05 0:09:10
13.1 10:11.9 2:00:17 0:09:11

Bleah on the percentile drop this year, though. THAT is humiliating, considering I shifted into a new age group. *sigh*

2006: 133/156 (85th percentile) (30-39M)

2007: 117/212 (55th percentile) (30-34M)

2008: 154/226 (68th percentile) (35-39M)

A Half Marathon… and 6.9 more miles added on for fun. Or something.

World Wide Half Marathon Challenge
Start time: 10/07/06, 8:00am
Location: Downtown Washington DC
Distance: 13.1 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Finishing time: 2:10:41
Average pace: 9:59min/mile

Start time: 10/07/06, 8:00am
Location: Downtown Washington DC
Distance: 20 miles
Run:Walk ratio: 5:1
Average pace: 10:00min/mile

What a morning.

Today was my scheduled 20-mile training run for the Florence Marathon at the end of November… but it’s also the weekend of the World Wide Half Marathon Challenge, in which over 500 people around the world registered to run a “virtual” half marathon either today or tomorrow. No prizes, but we’ve all got race numbers, a results board, even a (PDF) goodie bag. Now, I wasn’t planning on try to beat my PR for a half marathon today (2:06:08) but I figured it was a fun thing to throw in there. After all, I’d be running the distance anyway.

The next bit is also in my regular journal, for those who read both and want to skip it…