Sunday, May 3, 2009

Half marathon - Done :)

I woke up around 5h30 after a really good night of sleep. Had some oatmeals, a yogurt, orange juice and a coffee for breakfast.

We left to the race around 6h45 since we had to be at the start before 7h30. When we arrived me and my wife splited, she was running the 10k and the start lines were in two different places. I had to take a bus to go to the start line so as soon as I arrived at the finish line I jumped into one of the bus and we headed to the start line.

We arrived there 1 hour prior to the start, so we just walked and relax for a while. I took a gel at some point with some water. I went for a warm up around 7h50 or so, during my warm up I heard the start of the 30k race. While warming up I found a gel on the ground, someone would have a bad surprise at some point today, but with over 500 people there no way I would find who lost it ;) I ran 2-3 km at a pace around 5:00/km (8:02/mile) or so trying to get my HR higher a little bit and warming up my legs.

After my warm up I tried to find the friend with whom I was supposed to run today, her goal was to run it under 1:50:00 so she could qualify for New-York next year. I didn't tell her yet that I would run it with her, when we talked about it earlier this week I told her that a 5:00/km (8:02/mile) split half mary was probably a bit fast for me. I finally changed my mind yesterday and when I told her that she would have someone to run with today she was really excited. We met around 10 minutes before the start and got ready for the start.

We had a plan to head out at a 5:00/km (8:02/mile) pace and do whatever it would take to stick with it. We knew that this would give us a 5 minutes to play with if needed, since Nicole needed 1:50:00 or less to qualify to New-York and that was the plan to run it in those time.

The start was a little bit crowded so we knew it would be a pain to get up to our speed right at the beginning. We tried to pass as many people as we possibly can, while I was looking at my Garmin all the time to make sure we were not going out too fast.

The course was nice, from the start line we had around 4k to run to the finish line, then we had a loop of around 17k to run to come back to the finish line. I was happy to see that when we got by the finish line I didn't want to stop and cross it already, that means I was not too tired yet ;)

According to the weather we were supposed to have a head wind to start with. But finally the wind was not too fast and it didn't really bothered us for the first 4k, which was good. After that we passed the finish line and started the loop we had a downwind and I was starting to regret those long sleeves. But it was a bit too late to change my mind on clothing, so I just HTFU and kept going.

When we reach the 10k point I realized that I just PRed for a 10k and it made me really happy. I then wondered if I PRed the 5k too. Now that I looked at the splits I know I did :)

My initial plan was to stick with Nicole at a 5:00/km (8:02/mile) pace as long as I would be able to and then let her go. I didn't want her to miss her qualification because she would have wait on me.

But the more we were going the more I knew that I would be able to finish in 1:45:00 or so. I knew I had it in me. My HR was good, I was around 90-95% LT for the entire race and I figured I could keep that pace for under 2 hours without too much problems.

When we crossed the 10k starting line we knew that we were about to turn around and head to the finish line. We did with 9km to go or so, but at this point the wind was hmm, lets just say stronger than before.

It was not that bad of a wind, around 12 MPH maybe, but after 12 kilometers we could have done without it to be honest. So we started to run with that head wind, at some point I thought that it would show in our splits but it didn't changed them that much.

I was starting to be a little bit tired, but I kept telling to myself that I wanted to be there to see her face when she would finally qualify for New-York. So far she has done Boston, London, Moscow and Berlin and she always said that she needed New-York to finish her top five marathons.

So I told myself to HTFU and she keep that pace. My left knee was hurting and I knew it was probably not the brightest idea of all to keep pushing through it but I had to. We kept going at that 4:58/km-5:02/km (8:00/mile-8:06/mile) pace that we had since the beginning, When I saw the sign 8km I told to myself to just keep going, only 40 minutes to go it was not that bad. And I kept going, after a while I realized that we were at the 4km sign which made me really happy because I knew that we just did half of what we had to do when we saw that 8km sign. And honestly it seems like it went really fast from the 8 to the 4km sign.

4 kilometers to go, only 20 minutes. I am starting to be really tired. I never pushed that fast for that long. My best time for a 10k as 52:14 and I did it not that long ago during a training run to test my speed.

I wanted to slow down a little bit, but I knew I couldn't do that and miss Nicole's finish and my 1:45:00 time that was really reachable. I never even dreamed about doing 1:45 for that half before three or four days ago. But now it was there, I only had to keep going and I would reach it.

So I did, I kept running with her, she was pulling me at that point. I didn't want to let her take any advance on me or I knew I would let her go. When we finally reach the 2km sign she told me that if I wanted to slow down she didn't mind, she knew that even if we ran the last two kilometers at a 6:00/km (9:39/mile) pace we would finish in time for her to qualify anyway.

But deep in my mind I knew that I would be really pissed at me if I slowed down with 2km to go and miss that 1:45:00 mark because of that. So I told her I was ok, I knew it was not true and she knew too, but we kept going at the same pace.

When we finally reach the park where the finish line was she had taken maybe 25 feet on me, so I sprint a little bit to reach her. When she saw me arrived a little bit faster she told me she nothing left in the tank and there was no way she could sprint the last 200 meters. I was happy about it, first because I didn't want to sprint that much and secondly because I knew we had done a hell of a race and we both reached deep to find the energy to finish it in that time.

That was her best half marathon lifetime, and same for me. From 2:14:20 to 1:45:20, which means a PR by 29 minutes, I am really happy about this :) I also got my 5k time faster by 30 seconds or so and my 10k time by over 2 minutes. All that during the same race!


  1. wow -- congratulations on a GREAT race ! .. you killed your PR by almost 5 min - that's ridiculous! ... sounds like someone needs to run a stand alone 5k and a stand alone 10K to get some more PRs ;)

    I gotta tell you though, this kilometer stuff is killing me. I read 5 min and I'm thinking 5 min miles .. and then 1:50:00 and I was SO confused.

  2. wow - way to go!!! That is fantastic well done.