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 Shamrock'n Half-Marathon Report
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Shamrock'n Half-Marathon Report Posted: Sun Mar 12, 2006 2:09 pm 

My training plan called for a marathon "dry run" today: 17 miles with 14 at my intended marathon pace, wearing my marathon clothes and shoes. In the past I've always done these dry runs alone on my regular training route, but Pfitzinger suggests doing them as part of an organized race if you can, so you'll have aid stations, crowd support, and everything else you'll get in your goal marathon. So I drove the two hours to Sacramento for this morning's Shamrock'n Half Marathon.

The weather could hardly have been worse: 40 degrees, raining, and strong winds. Flags were snapping in the wind. The moment I stepped out of my car, I wished I'd brought more clothes. I ended up running a 4 mile warm-up (to get a total of 17) wearing shorts, a running shirt, a fleece jacket, a windbreaker, a hat, and gloves, and I was still cold at first. I did the first three miles easy, and the last one at something like MP or faster, and finally started to feel warm.

For the race I decided to ditch the hat and both jackets, leaving only the gloves as extra protection against the weather. Luckily the rain diminished a little to a drizzle by start time, but the wind was still pretty bad. No matter, once I was moving I was warm enough.

This was NOT supposed to be a race, but a training run. My goal was to lock on to my intended marathon pace of 7:25 and ride it home, which should have been a strong effort, but not a race-level effort. That was the plan anyway. The miles unfolded like this:

1. 7:15 Too fast! Need to slow to 7:25.
2. 7:02 Slow down.
3. 7:07 Brain to legs: I said slow down.
4. 7:04 Hello legs? Take it easy down there.
5. 7:17 Moving in the right direction, but still too fast.
6. 7:17
7. 7:12 OK, I give up.

Through all those miles, I felt pretty comfortable. The pace wasn't exactly easy, but I definitely could have gone harder. I was breathing at a relaxed 3-3 pace much of the time.

8. 7:22 More headwinds now, starting to feel it.
9. 7:13
10. 7:26
11. 7:26
12. 7:09 Now I'm racing.
13. 7:09
Finish 1:34:52, 7:15/mi pace

I was amazed at how much difference it made to run behind someone else when going into the headwinds. The first couple of times I ducked in behind another runner, they seemed to immediately slow down significantly, and I was annoyed. But then I realized they weren't slowing down at all, it was just that my effort level was so much less with them as a wind break, it only seemed like we'd slowed way down.

My new lightweight racing shoes were great, and got me through 17 miles with no troubles at all. Now I'll dry them off and hide them away until Boston.

Overall I'd say this was a pretty good result, despite the fact that I totally failed to contain myself and stick to MP. I definitely ran slower than I could have if I'd raced it all-out, but faster than I think I could have sustained for 26 miles. Given that, it looks like my intended marathon pace of 7:25 (roughly a 3:15 finish) is about right.

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 222

Re: Shamrock'n Half-Marathon Report Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 5:01 pm 

i think you showed pretty good discipline all things considered. i know i can never keep myself honest when i use a race for a pace or tempo workout. there was no 1/2's around here for me to do that workout so i did it as perscribed. even though i didn't have a race atmosphere, i too found myself doing this workout a little too fast. i pretty much held my race pace from the fall (which i fully expect to be too fast for me at boston) and it showed. i was a little fatigued towards the end of the 14P. And like you I had some wonderful (Chicago Winter) headwinds to contend with. It was nice day though, about what i expect in Boston in April, so i think it served as a nice barometer run for me. the last 20 i expect to tell me a lot too. in the fall, the aforementioned two workouts were the ones that i still point to as the best indicatior of my fintness level going in and also where i drew the most of my confidence that i was ready on race day.

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Shamrock'n Half-Marathon Report Posted: Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:48 pm 

Thanks. Are you following the Pfitzinger plan as well? I thought you were doing one of your running group's plans.

Pfitz sure does like to load on those VO2Max sessions in the final weeks. God how I loathe them-- I would rather do a long run every day than go to the track-- but I guess they got the job done.

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 222

Re: Shamrock'n Half-Marathon Report Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:54 am 

i have followed the group's plan when we meet, but i have been following pfitz loosely the whole time on other workouts. But I have gravitated more closely to it for weeks 7 to 0. I am shaving off a mile here or there from the weekly runs, but am basically going to follow it to the end now.

Runworks 2005 5M Racer
Rochester, NY
Joined: 28 Nov 2004
Posts: 262

Re: Shamrock'n Half-Marathon Report Posted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 4:38 pm 

Great race Rickshaw, and a good observation about perceived effort when ducking in behind another runner. I'll have to remember that so I don't just get annoyed and jump back out on my own. How close was that to your half-marathon PR? I think it must have been the shoes!

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