Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Parks Half marathon 2014 race recap

I was running the Parks half marathon 2014 this past Sunday (09/14/14). The course started at Rockville metro station, going downhill on Veirs Mill rd before turning on Rock Creek trail, before exiting through Chavy Chase neighborhood, and continued on to Capitol Crescent (CCT)/Georgetown Branch Trail, and ended in downtown Bethesda.

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The course wasn't super flat but neither super hilly. It was a nice course with the first few miles downhill, then a big hill at around mile 4, then mostly flat until mile 11- finish. 

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I usually do my marathon pace runs, and some long runs on Rock Creek trail, so I'm familiar with the course. Anyway, I've never run the whole course in one run.

I was taking a mini taper by running only 6 miles on Thursday instead of 10+ miles like every week. Then I did the cross training on Friday and no running at all on Saturday. I was eating Chipotle (BIG meal) for dinner on Saturday, then went to bed super early (around 7:30-8 pm).

I woke up around 5 am, ate two slices of bread with Nutella, got dressed, did my normal knee stretches, then I woke Brian up around 6 am. The starting line was at Rockville metro station. We got there around 6:30. It was about 10 minutes walk from where we parked to the starting line. There were lots of potties there but there was still a quite line. I went to pee three times before toeing the starting line. My goal was to break sub 1:50. I found the 1:50 pacer and planned to try to stick with her.

The weather was around late 40 which was kinda chilly. But as soon as the gun went off at 7 am, and I started running, I felt great. Laura (the pacer) was weaving through people the first mile since it was crowded (about 2500-3000 runners). I didn't set my Garmin to do the auto lap like usual. I just hit the lap button each time I ran pass the mile marker (it was clearly visible on the course). I ran the first two miles too fast (8:14, 8:17) because they were downhill. I realized that I got in front of Laura, so I slowed down and walked through the water station. Mile 3 came out at 8:42 which was the slowest mile for me.

After the big hill at mile 4, I just kept following Laura. I may not be running right by her, but hearing her voice assured me that I wasn't too far from her. I pretty much drank Gatorade and walked through all water station. One good thing about this course was there was a sign before the water and aid station which let me know when to take Gu gel. Right before mile 8, I took Gu gel, and drank it down with water. Around mile 9, I saw Sherene,  a runner from my XMP pace group. We just said hi to each other, and I kept running.Mile 9 and 10 were the fastest miles for me at 8:02, and 8:08, not sure if it was from Gu gel or what.

Mile 11 came the hill, I just concentrated on my form running uphill. When we hit mile marker 12, I decided to take off from the 1:50 group. I heard Laura cheering me on. I was getting tired at that point, but kept running. From mile 11-finish was pretty much uphill even though you didn't really see the hills but your legs felt them. I managed to pass a few more runners. As soon as I hit mile 13, I sprinted the last 0.1 miles to the finish line. It felt good passing lots of other runners at the end.  But my photo probably didn't say so. LOL

I gave it all I had at this point. 

I was smiling running through the finish line. 

My Garmin showed 1:48:53, and my official time was 1:48:51. I was super happy with the result. I did it!!! I ran sub 1:50. I felt that I ran the race smartly. I even had energy left to sprint the last 0.1 miles to the finish line. I may be able to run little faster if I didn't slow down too much at mile 3, but I'm definitely happy with this race.The weather was perfect, the course was nice, volunteers were very helpful, and I did beat my PR by 4 minutes. 

 Here are the splits from my Garmin.

The result from the race; I got 125/983 (overall female), 26/150(AG),time 1:48:51, pace  8:19.
About 6 weeks before the MCM, I feel more confidence that I will be able to run sub-4 marathon. :) 

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