The Bakersfield Track Club puts on a good half marathon. Last year a group of us went down in February and raced in their two halves make a whole half marathon. I PR’d that day in 1:36:30. In November I went back, but treated it as a fast finish long run. I ran a 7 mile warm up, did the first half at marathon pace and then raced the last half. That day I finished in 1:35:19. Between these halves, I PR’d at the Long Beach Half Marathon – 1:34: 17.
Today, I figured I was ready for another PR. The weather was rainy as Dave and I drove down to Bakersfield, but once we were there it was cool and cloudy with just a light breeze – perfect. We jogged almost a mile to warm up and I set the Garmin virtual training partner at 1:33:00 to give me some cushion in case it measured the course short.
At 8:00 we were off! First thing I noticed is that it seemed that the race started at a different point than last year. We were on the bike path just east of the road into the park. Last year, I believe we started a little west of the road into the park. Hmmm. I got a fairly quick start, but it felt easy. I was still in a pack of runners and all of our watches beeped the mile in unison – 6:41. Only problem was the mile marker was still up the path. We hit the official marker at 7:24.
Now I am worried that they started us at the wrong place! Each marker on the way out was consistently off from the Garmin, the first marker after we turned around was amazingly in line with the Garmin. So, I will report the splits from the Garmin as it measured the course very accurately (13.11)
Miles 2 – 4 were a puzzle to me. I was running 200-300 feet ahead of my virtual partner, but the splits per the course markers had me slightly behind PR pace. A big gap opened up ahead of me and I felt like there was a bit of a headwind. Splits: 7:12, 7:05, 7:11. Towards the end of these miles, however, I was slowly gaining on 3 other runners.
Somewhere around the start of the 5th mile. I caught a guy, who was simultaneously catching a girl, who was catching another guy. The path was curving right and as the girl passed the guy on his left he wandered left a bit also. The other guy went even wider to get around the two of them. The inside was wide open so I surged to pass all three of them on the right. I was sure to keep the surge on a bit so as not to encourage any of them to follow. By the turnaround only one was anywhere near. Miles 5 – 6 splits were 6:58, and 7:03. My halfway split (extrapolated from miles 6 and 7) : 46:45.
After getting past the trio of runners, the next guy I saw up ahead was a very tall runner, who had placed ahead of me last November. He was 150-200 meters ahead but I set my sights on him and slowly closed in. At the turn around he saw me and I thought I saw him try to pick it up, but I also saw that he didn’t have it in him. I continued to close the gap. Around mile 7 Dave saw me and let me know I was 27th place.
Miles 7-11: I got past the tall guy and there were a couple of more guys way ahead, so I caught them, then there was another group of 5 or 6 up there so I worked on that gap. Splits: 6:58, 6:57, 6:56, 6:55 and 7:01.
Miles 12-13: I had maintained the chase with a steady focused 2:2 breath pattern. But I know I can bump it up to a 2:1 breath pattern at 2 to go, so I did. By now I was starting to work my way through that other group of runners little by little. Mile 12 went by at 6:50. As we got to the trail there were still two more I thought maybe I could catch. One was the lead female and then another guy ahead of her. On the dirt I passed the female and I continued to gain on the guy. Mile 13 went by in 6:47. Before I could catch the guy I ran out of race!
I saw the clock as I approached and saw 1:31 something! My official time ended up at 1:31:38. WOW! That is a 6:58 average pace! The 2nd half was 44:53. The McMillan running calculator puts this race way ahead of any other race I have done….
I was amazed to see, however, when looking at the results sheet, 3 even faster 45-49 yo guys!! So Huge PR, but no age group medal. That’s okay by me. Dave finished around 1:41 (I think) and won 1st place in his division!
PRs so far in 2010: 5K in 20:18, 10K in 42:24 and Half Marathon in 1:31:38.
Next up 8K: next week 🙂
Miles today: 15.5
Weekly total 34.5 miles
February – 151
2010 total – 364.5