Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Scopin' out the Half Marathon scene

Training schedule called for a 4 mile easy run today.

After work I drove to the park where my half marathon will be this weekend.  I've never been there, so I'm glad I now know where I'm going at 7:30am on Sunday.

This morning I packed my gym bag with my running clothes, my hand held water bottle, my ifitness pouch, and I printed up a trusty course map (see below).  While it wasn't that long of a long run, I wore the ifitness pouch so I could easily bring my car keys (They didn't jangle in the pouch at all!), license, and my cell phone in the event of creepers or getting lost in this park that is brand new and foreign to me.  (But really, I need to get some pepper spray).  Luckily there weren't any creepers.  And I didn't get too lost.

If you have read my blog for a little bit, you may recall seeing that the elevation map for this course is pretty intense:

I wanted to run the part of the course that involved the monster hill that I will encounter twice over the course of miles 5.5-7, and miles 10.5-12 (Once is bad enough...but twice! and at the end!)  So I ran the large loop to the left (not the little off-shoot loop to the right).  I veered slightly off course and missed a turn about half a mile in (whoops!) but I ran the rest of the loop.

An "easy" 4.80 miles in 56:42.  But an average moving pace of 11:02, which is more accurate, as I stopped multiple times to consult the map.

So I actually ran it faster than I realized.  I think I saw my average pace and thought I was doing really badly.  Meanwhile, I was running it somewhere between half marathon pace and easy pace.  My pace was also slowed by stopping to locate the restroom situation near mile 1.2.  And I drank too much water between 2pm and my arrival at the park. Oh and the 30:00 pace? I had stopped and was stretching at my car.

If I do an 11:00 pace while running up hill for 3 miles... that's ok.  That means in order to tie my previous 2:21:10, I'd have to run the remaining 10.1 miles at a 10:41 pace.  Which I think is completely doable.

Let's hope music, and seeing others running around me will pressure me to run a little faster!

Here are some photos from my run:

 This sign was unexpected.
Shortly after this sign (in the "no horses" zone) there was a pile of horse poop.

 Beginning of the hill.

 More hill, 13 minutes after the previous hill picture.

5 minutes later, I was so happy for this downhill.  
When I see this for the second time on Sunday, I'll have only one mile to go!

We're actually getting a whole bunch of rain from Wednesday night through Friday night. But I am happy to report (I know it's 5 days out)-
Saturday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 36. Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 54. (No Precipitation).

There's a mix of sun and shade along the course, and several spots with open fields where I could see a breeze coming across.  Based on the current forecast, I'm guessing it will be around 40 at the start.  I'm leaning towards shorts with a long sleeve shirt.  Not that anyone really needs to know this, I'm just thinking/typing aloud.

Cross your fingers for me that the rain continues to hold off for the weekend!


  1. i always think it's so smart when people scout the course like this, but i guess i'm too lazy. looks like it will be a very pretty run though!

  2. Good luck in your half! I think it's so smart to check out the course, especially the hilly part.

  3. Haha! I love that - horse poop right after the sign!:)
    Looks like a great course! Good luck this weekend!!:)

  4. What a gorgeous course, and you are so smart checking out the course before hand!
    You are totally going to rock this race :o)

  5. I've been following your blog for a few weeks now, and just wanted to say GOOD LUCK on Saturday!! You'll do great, and what a gorgeous place to be running! Enjoy yourself =)

  6. Sorry... good luck on SUNDAY!! hehe...

  7. I am POSITIVE you will beat the crap out of your previous time. You have been running so much faster recently and the excitement of the day will pump you up. Great idea checking out the course, the hills look rough, but you are prepared for them! I like to go in with maximum information possible. I promise to cross my fingers for you this weekend!

  8. Thanks for all the well-wishes, everyone!! I don't normally check out race courses in advance, but I started to get really nervous about those hills. I'm feeling (a little) better about them, now. I wanted to see how much worse they were than the one I live near... and at least now I know what to expect, and when to expect it.

    It is a pretty park! I may have to go back for some long runs (to be worth the 25 min drive from where I live) after the half.

    Alyssa- I think I will start repeating to myself "I will beat the crap out of my previous time." No more of this "I think"/"I hope" stuff!


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