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repost w/pictures: Fast Finish Long Run / Bakersfield Half Marathon

With 3 weeks to go until CIM, my plan was to do a 20 mile fast finish long run. The way McMillan prescribes them is 10 easy, 8 at marathon goal pace, and the last 2 harder.  I also wanted to do the 2nd half of the “Two Halves Make a Whole Marathon” in Bakersfield. So, I devised a plan: 7 mile “warm up” before the race, ease into the race during the first three miles and then to the 8 at marathon pace plus two “faster”……

Michael Graham, who will also be running CIM, agreed with the plan and got up early to go to Bakersfield with me early. We arrived at Yokuts park at about 6:30 for the 8:00 race. We headed out fairly quickly on our 7 mile warm up. We headed west down the bike path for 3.5 and came back. It was very flat. We averaged 8:16 a mile.  I felt good, and had to consciously keep from going too fast during this “warm up.”

We returned to the park with about 20 minutes to check in, get our bibs, and get ready to race.

I set my virtual training partner (my Garmin) for a 7:35 pace planning to stick with it for at least half the marathon. During the prerace “talk” the race director announced that the course was different and that we would be running up the so and so hill.  I looked at Michael and said hill?  He said, “I didn’t sign up for any hill.”

Michael Graham (pic by Alan Brown)

Miles 1 – 5: As the race started I was really good. I kept my virtual training buddy just a few feet behind me.  My first 5 splits were: (1) 7:35, (2) 7:35, (3) 7:36, (4) 7:34, and (5) 7:30.

Mile (6) 7:18, Mile (7) 7:12 — Sometime during mile 5 I caught this guy and he started to get my plan off track.  I was just maintaining my pace, but he would surge ahead. I would maintain and catch him, and then he would surge again. After close to a mile of this I was getting annoyed with him. I was thinking – here I am running at marathon pace, he doesn’t realize he doesn’t have a chance. So I thought, I will just surge a little and put him out of his misery.  I surged and he went with me. Meanwhile we had caught and passed several other runners. Finally, I heard him start to drop back just as I caught this other guy. I crept past him just as we started up this little incline.  I decided not to push it on the incline and he went back by me. A couple of hundred yards past the top of the little incline was the turn around. I re-caught him just before the turn around but as I grabbed water, he surged ahead again…

At the turn around I wondered where the hill was. The little incline?  We had gained a total of 70 feet elevation according to Garmin, but now and I am thinking I am ahead of pace while goind slightly uphill. I am feeling good, it is okay to pick it up a little going back.  I surged and left guy #2. I am now in 21st place.

Miles 8 – 11:  I am sticking with a 2:2 breath pattern and slowly passing people. Guy #3 gives chase for awhile. He eventually gives up, but I hear him say “Thank you” as he drops off.  Guy #4 gives chase and we catch guy #5. The three of us are running single file with me in the middle when we pass Alan Brown who was taking pictures. He calls out “16, 17 and 18.” I surge just before a tunnel and pass guy #5. We run quickly through a water station on the other side and then guy #5 slowly comes back on me and passes me. He gets about 10 meters ahead as we race through miles 10 and 11. My 8 – 11 splits: (8) 7:13, (9) 7:15, (10) 7:08, (11) 7:08.

Right after passing guy #5....

As I passed the 11 mile mark, I went into my “faster” finish mode. I recaught guy #5 and set my sites on guy #6. Mile (12) went by in 6:48. Guy #6 had too much of a lead for me to catch but I closed the gap from 100 meters at mile 12 to about 20 meters at the finish. Mile (13) was 6:43.

I finished in 1:35:19 for 16th place overall and 3rd in my age division.


Michael had a similar race. I saw him not too far out ahead for a few miles and then he slowly pulled away. He also raced pretty quickly through the 2nd half finishing in 9th place overall and 2nd in his division – 1:33:06

So, in total 20.1 miles today with some pretty quick running at the end! CIM, now I am ready!

At each of the “Two Halves Make a Whole” Half Marathons you get unique medals:


Medal from February's race

Medal from today's race

Medal from today's race

Here are the two medals placed together:


3 replies »

  1. Nice work out there Dale. Only a minute off your PR! If that was a marathon pace run you are setting yourself up for low 3:10s. Cool medal by the way.

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November 2009


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