Well, I did it. I lived through the Steamboat Half Marathon. First of all, here’s how I did by the clock:
Gun Time: 2:19:03 – Chip Time: 2:18:31 – Pace: 10:37
Overall Place: 564 – Gender Place: 197th
Age Group: 50 to 59 Male Division Place: 28th
Out of: 826 overall, 245 in gender, 37 in division
I took off reasonably slow and built up speed gently to a little faster than 10:00 pace. After about 3 miles I realized it wasn’t working well, and I was off my anticipated pace of 9:20. I thought the race was supposed to be mostly downhill, and the elevation profile published on the event website indicated mostly downhill with a few jaggies uphill. I got totally psyched that I was weak to be running so poorly and with such great effort downhill.
I got a cramp in my upper right abdominal quadrant that I thought might be from eating, so I adjusted my intake, didn’t eat any more, and drank my carb/electrolyte mix while taking only water at the aid stations. I forced myself down the hill, until finally around mile 6 I saw a long stretch ahead that was obviously uphill. I realized then that the entire course was like a slowly descending sawblade. Drop down 200′ over about 1/4 mile and spend the next 3/4 mile going back up 150′. Ouch, that explained a lot.
I cut back a bit and considered myself lucky to maintain 10:10 overall, and actually walked some on the steep uphills. Not what I had hoped for, but not that bad overall. I dragged in the last mile run/walk and as you can see from the pictures from just before the finish, I’m hunched over quite a bit. I took the icy towel, my Subway turkey, and crashed in the grass for a bit.
There was a kid’s run about two hours later, so we hung out and put the kids in it, with me as an escort. That was a miserable 1/2 mile. Then we went back to the condo and I hung out in the hot tub until I was sunburned.
I managed to analyze the data from my Polar RS800CX GPS G5 Heart Rate Monitor (graph shown below) and was actually encouraged, because in spite of the obvious hills in the graph, I had managed to keep a fairly quick and even pace average, despite not really training uphills at all. Another interesting thing was that my abs really ached, the muscles. At the chiropractor the next day I discovered that my right psoas was really tight and irritated, which might explain the abdominal cramping and hunching. It’s a chicken/egg situation, so I’ve been working on stretching my psoas (which isn’t at all easy).
Aside from the Aspen Backcountry Marathon I don’t have any clear-cut running goals, and am taking the week off from running, doing only elliptical and stairmaster training. I’ll have to decide next week how to adjust my training to prepare for Aspen.