Sunday, October 9, 2016

2016 Indianapolis Half Marathon

I ran the Indianapolis Half Marathon Saturday Oct, 8th, 2016 as a tune-up for the 2016 Monumental Marathon. I had the basic 3 goals for my big tune-up half marathon. The primary goal was to run in the 1:20s while the stretch goal was to run 1:20:00 and the lest I would walk away happy with would be 1:21:30. The goals were not just pulled out of thin air. I wanted to run 1:20:xx because if you plug that number into my personal equation for half-marathon to marathon time that puts me right at my goal of 2:46 for the full marathon. I wanted to run 1:20:00 flat because that would give me hope to break into the 2:45:xx for the full and the 1:21:30 would still give me a personal course record.

I was up at about 5:30 AM for a quick shakeout before breakfast. We headed out right on time and made our way to Lawrence, IN which is a little less than an hour away. It was a cool morning with a little wind from the north that would end up having a noticeable effect in mile 7. We arrived and parked, as usual at this race, with no problems at all. The parking is really well done here.

Once parked, we had about an hour until the start and since I already had my race bib we just waited in the car until it was time to head out for a warmup. I warmed up and made my way to the start area with about 10 minutes to spare. Took a gel and a couple of drinks of water. This is purely superstition for me before a half-marathon. I got into the corral and started looking around for familiar faces but wasn't really seeing any.

Earlier in the week I exchanged a couple of tweets with Glenn and we loosely agreed to work with each other in this race. I finally saw Glenn with about a minute before the race started. I threw my sweatshirt to the side and moved up a few steps, "You ready, Glenn?"

We got the start signal and were off on a loop around some refurbished, repurposed army housing that was part of Ft. Ben. I knew I needed to control the first mile. I didn't want to go out crazy and tank my race in this mile but I also knew that I needed to keep it under the goal pace because we had a significant climb in mile 3 and a good grind in mile 4. First mile in 6:14. Damn! not only was I not even close to goal pace I just lost 11 seconds. I tried not to panic and make it all up here. Just picked up the effort to try to get to goal pace. Mile 2 6:02, there we go, that's better.

Mile 3 has a significant hill and from looking at past efforts on this course I knew I wanted to be around 6:10.  Mile 3 came in at 6:17. What is going on! Again, just get back on pace. Mile 4 is a net uphill but it rolls so I am hoping I can just get back to goal pace here. Mile 4 at 6:08 so not quite but not a deal breaker. However, I have now run 3 of the first 4 mile significantly slower than the 6:02 I was hoping for.

In mile 4 a small pack had formed between myself, Glenn, and the 2 lead females. Mile 5 at 6:07 and mile 6 at 6:10. I knew here that 1:20:00 was out and in all likely hood 1:20:xx was gone as well. I only held out hope because the next 4 miles were net downhill and I was hoping to make up at least some ground.

We formed a small pack that would hang together for most of the next 4 or 5 miles

We made the turn to head North on Lee Rd and were met with a nice headwind. Lee Rd is just kind of open with nothing to slow the wind down. Faced with this I let 1:20:xx go and just dug in to keep running strong.  I had been too conservative in the first 2 miles and it was going to cost me not only my stretch goal but my primary goal as well.

A turn around at mile 7.5 gives you a chance to see your position. I saw 3 guys out front with a very large gap between the next couple of guys in front of us. We didn't actually see the leader here as he was already in the park. I like this course because it breaks the race up very nicely. After you hit the turn around on Lee Rd you head into the Ft Harrison State Park which is a really nice place to run. I know that I have some more downhill before the next significant climb which encompasses most of mile 10 and culminates in a heart pounding steep hill just around mile 10.5

Somehow at mile 8 I thought I was in mile 9. I have run this race since 2012, you'd think I'd know the course by now. Since I had been overly conservative early and we were running on a slight decline, I was feeling pretty good and tried to take the pace down a notch. a few minutes later we hit the 9 mile marker. Ugh. I quickly put aside my mistake and just tried to continue with a strong pace.

In mile 10 there is a noticeable shift in the vertical direction and I could feel it immediately and my pace slowed accordingly. Somewhere in mile 10 the woman who would go on to be 1st female over all started to separate. Just a minute or so later Glenn started pulling away as well. We hit "the hill" and the separation grew. I just didn't have the strength to keep pace. Mile 10 would come in at 6:34, my slowest of the day by over 15 seconds.

Mile 11 I knew I needed to recover and just tried to keep the gap from growing any. I'd say at this point Glenn had about 20 seconds on me and had closed the gap with the 2 guys who had been running ahead of us all morning. Mile 12 we make the turn on 59th Street headed toward the finish. Glenn over took one of the guys who were out in front of us. My legs are coming back around and I focus on the guy between Glenn and I and try to start closing that gap with a hope of passing him before the finish. He's looking back, which is a good sign for me because it shows he's struggling and hoping he can cruise in. But he sees the gap closing and fights for it.

I ran mile 12 at a 6:04 pace and got with in 3 seconds of overcoming 8th place but he held me off just long enough. I ran the last .1 knowing that's were I'd finish. Hit the timing mat at 1:21:23, sign of the cross and call it a day.


Glenn, Ben, and me immediately reviewing the race

I failed to meet the goals of the day because I ran the first 2 miles too slow along with a couple of slow hilly miles and a bonus slow mile due to a headwind on what should have been a fast part of the course I had to settle for walking away achieving the least acceptable goal of the day, a personal course record. Still, I'll take some confidence away from this race. I could have held that pace a few more miles if I had to have so I think 6:22-6:25 is doable at the monumental especially with 1 more full marathon distance run as a strength workout next weekend at the 2016 Detroit Free Press Marathon where I'll just try to run about a 7:00/mile pace for sub 3:05 time.

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