Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Race Day - Bryce Canyon Half Marathon 2010

Ran the BCHM -2010 two weekends ago. This was my first experience running a half marathon outside of San Diego and I absolutely loved it. The results are in, and I'm happy to say I achieved the half marathon PR goal (sub 1:45 finish) I set for myself, along with my other new year's resolutions for the year:

Overall:152 out of 1141 Finishers
Men: 107 out of 419 finishers
Age Group: 16 out of 87

Finish: 1:43:18 Pace: 7:53/mi
Chip Time:1:43:18
Gun Time:1:43:26

I thought my training for the race was pretty decent. I varied my training a little this time - instead of doing really short runs (3-5mi) twice a week and fairly long (8-12mi) runs every weekend, I did 6.6mi (10K) runs, 3 times a week and hardly any weekend long runs (most of the weekends got spent hiking, biking, camping, climbing, road tripping etc, as you can see on my outdoors blog ). The one thing I did do though, was run the same 10K (6.6mi) loop over and over again and try my best to beat my time every time - which meant, running each one like a race!

Now, for the screwing up part: I decided to go play 2 hours of ultimate Frisbee, followed by an hr of soccer (which, I hadn't played in over 10 years) the very last weekend before the race. I was amazed by how different short fast sprinting is from steady long distance running. My Achilles heels were sore following that and I also ended up with a nice blister under my right foot. To top it off, I didn't get much chance to rest my legs before the race, because, we decided to do a bunch of hikes in Zion NP, on the way to Bryce Canyon.

As a result, I practically limped to the start line, with feet feeling like crap, at 5am on the race day (after hiking 11 miles the day before and getting an awesome 4 hrs of shut eye time). I would have probably bailed on the race, if they hadn't told me, there were medals for all finishers ;-). I stretched for a good 45 minutes before the race, but was nowhere close to being in my regular running shape. I finally told myself - since I had come this far, I might as well start it -and so I did. My legs (just the ankles and bottom of my feet, everything else was perfect) hurt with every step, right from the start! I decided I was going to run a couple miles and then pull to the side. I get up to the 1 mile mark and realize I ran it in 7:56, so I change my mind and decide I'll somehow try to keep it up until the 1/2 pt (~6.6miles). After I get to that, I decide, I'll try to make it to the 8.5 mile mark, at which point I would pass the motel we were staying at (and a couple friends cheering me on), so I could bail and go crash on the soft bed. When I get to the motel, I realize I just clocked my fastest 8.5miler (1:04), so there was no way I was going to let my PR goal slip away now. I eventually hobbled into the finish line and could barely stand or walk - but, it was all worth it - not just because I achieved my goal, but, also because, I passed one of the greatest mental challenges I've faced to date!

Overall, I thought the race was very well organized, the scenery was beautiful, there were way more water stops (~10) than we needed (with both water and Gatorade at each) and the T-shirt is the best race shirt I've gotten to date (and all that for a $35 registration). Definitely recommend running it!