Sunday, November 16, 2014

(Richmond Half Marathon) Week in Review

60 Miles
10 miles with 2 x 1.5 miles followed by 4x200m
Half marathon race in 1:16:02
0 days off

This was the first weekend that I missed the live webex sessions for my MBA courses. Admittedly, the nerd in me was really freaking out about this, but I got in a lot of work early in the week so that I wouldn't let my teammates down before heading to Richmond for the marathon and half marathon weekend.  My race recap is below:

Goal:
5:50 Place and 3rd place because from past results there seems to typically be 2 africans

actual:
2.5 miles warmup solo with strides
Race in 1:16:02 for 3rd place, 1st American female via
540, 554, 543, 544, 552, 551, 550, 559, 559, 549, 551, 547, 528, :29 (splits from the race markers)
2 miles cool down ish cheering for Michelle and Meagan

For those that may not know, I was in China for two weeks and then I was sick for an entire week after China and didn't recover until just under two weeks left for the half marathon race. Thus, I wanted to set realistic goals so I felt like 5:50 pace (or low 1:16) would be a good fit for me.

I warmed up solo in the cold conditions and came back to the hotel feeling like the conditions truly weren't that bad, especially compared to Cal International Marathon 2013. I immediately told Meagan and Michelle this to make them feel a little bit better about the cold.

Our hotel was so close to the start that I didn't meander over there until like 7:20, just ten minutes before, and it was perfect timing. On the line, I saw two Africans and a blonde chick in pink tights who I thought could definitely not be a legit runner. Well, I was wrong.

The race went off with an anti-climatic "go" and I found myself in the lead and thought WTF? The pace was crawling (or so I thought. I thought the Garmin said 555 pace, but I misread it and it actually read 535 pace). So then I saw the actual pace at 800 meters in, where the Kenyans had conveniently situated themselves right behind me. I naturally decided to slow down because I knew I wasn't in shape to run 1:14 and didn't want to do work for them to later win easily while I would later die drastically. So I slowed up and let the Kenyans go by and suddenly I was leading the pink tights girl and another chick who would later fall back.

After the mile split I decided to slow up a bit to force the Pink girl to take the lead along with four guys. That mile split was slow, so then the guys and I all picked it up again so that suddenly we were on the Kenyans again at mile 3. The Africans said something in a different tongue and took off again, taking the guys with them.  It was clear to me that they were trying to run the slowest pace possible to still win.

Over the next couple of miles, I was alone until the Pink chick came back on me and passed me on a slight uphill. I said good job and then tried to latch on. The rest of the race was spent yo-yoing back and forth with this Russian pink chick. Sometimes she would get me on the downhill; sometimes I would get her on the uphill. It wasn't that I battling with her, it was just that we each had different strengths. I didn't feel like I was wasting energy, but I wanted to maintain my pace and sometimes doing that meant passing her and then having her pass me back.

Quite honestly, during those miles I really wanted to quit (you can tell by the two mile splits at 559 pace), but having Pink chick there helped tremendously. In fairness, those slower splits were through a rolling terrain in a park with several turns so it was probably the slowest point on the course.

Around mile 9-10, I had settled for fourth place because I just felt so darn tired, but then I realized I could probably still beat her. However, I wasn't full confident of winning this battle for third until we rounded the turn at 12.5 miles and faced the massive downhill to the finish. She was side by side with me at that point, but I unleashed it and ended up beating her by 8 seconds in the final 600 meters and just missing breaking 1:16.

In the end, I was really pleased with my result, especially considering that in just March of this year, running 1:17 was a good day for me. Now I run 1:16:03 off minimal training, and it's a bad day. My fitness has come so far and I'm so grateful that I've been able to maintain training while in my MBA program...and to brag a little, Duke's Fuqua MBA program was recently ranked number one, beating out Penn, Chicago and Harvard.

I ran uphill all the way back to the hotel and then ran to the 16.5 mile marker of the marathon to try to catch Meagan and Michelle. I missed Meagan but saw Michelle. Then I raced back to the hotel to get a Starbucks for Meagan and Michelle and cheered for Meagan at 25.5. It was a good day!  Meagan qualified for the Trials with a time of 2:40:48 and then Michelle ran 3:02.  


2 comments:

Marci Klimek Gage said...

That's great that you were able to run that time in a less than peak situation! Your training just took over, auto-piloted you to a great time! Fun to read your race re-cap! Looking forward to following your future posts and results!

lucinda smith said...

you have me completely inspired, caitlin. smart, hard working, consistent, and confident. i really hope to be able to get my fitness to OQ standards so we can toe the line together next year in LA. congrats on the great running and maintain a tough balance with the MBA program. #respect

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