Monday, March 24, 2008
March Madness 1/2 Marathon Race Report!!!!
So on March 16th, I was back up in the Chicago suburbs for my Spring Break. To start it off, I ran in the March Madness half marathon in Cary, IL. Most people in the Chicagoland area know this race very well and attracts many runners. Typically is sells out soon after registration opens and caps out at 1000 runners. The course is also known to be very hilly and difficult for those that do not train on hills. So going into the race, I was not sure how well I would do considering I train on flat roads and never get much hill work in. I was also unsure of my fitness level at the time since I haven't done too many highly intense workouts or races to guage where I am at. So before the race, I decided that it would be best to take it out easy and just run with the lead group. I had seen that in the past few years, the winners have been around 1:14, which I knew would be a time I could do, but was not sure what effect the hills would have on me.
So race morning came, and I went over to the course with my girlfriend, Jacqui. Her dad is the president of the running club that puts on this race, so I had a lot of insight of what the course had to offer even though I never have ran it before. We warmed up for about a mile or so in order to get an idea of what the weather was like and what to wear. Luckfully this year was really nice out. It was a little cold but the wind was low and there was no snow! If you live around the Chicago area, you know that we were just hit with a big snow storm a few days ago..so having anything above 30 degrees with no snow/rain/wind is a NICE day! I decided to just go with a short sleeve shirt, running shorts, arm warmers, and gloves. It ended up feeling perfect.
The race went out, and I was actually a little surprised. Nobody was willing to push the pace at all. I felt like I was almost at a slow jog but I kept telling myself that there will be big hills in the later stages of the race. At about 1/2 mile, I decided it was going too slow. I picked up my speed a little bit and nobody went with me. My first mile ended up being 5:30 exactly. After getting a little lead, I picked up my speed a little bit and dropped into the low 5's/high 4's for my new miles just to get a comfortable lead on the runner's behind me. My best friend, John, was out on the course with his bike and would give me updates throughout the race telling me how big my lead was. I was glad to see that it kept growing throughout the miles. At around the 7 mile mark, I noticed that i was going around 5:20 pace. I was still feeling fresh and thought to myself that I could push the pace a little more to see what kind of time I could run. So the last few miles I dropped my miles to low 5's and cruised it all the way into the finish line for a win in a total time of 1:09:32. It ended up being an average of 5:16 per mile. I was happy with the performance since it showed that I was able to hold a faster pace throughout a longer race. In years past I was unable to hold my pace. I was able to run that fast, but would fade out later in the race. But for this one, I was able to increase my speed and get faster/stronger while tackling some very large hills in the later stages of the race. Most hills were around 7-11 miles, so that is when a lot of runners would struggle. But I was able to actually get faster! So overall it was a great race. Jacqui ended up placing 6th overall for the females in 1:32 which was a great time for her. She'll be racing in the St. Louis Marathon in 2 weeks, so it'll be fun to see how that goes. I plan on racing the 5k the day before the marathon and then running a little more than half of the race with her the next day. It'll be nice to get some speed work in with that 5k since I have Collegiate Nats and Du Nats coming up back to back weekends. I'm going to need to have a lot of speed for Du Nats since that is the Elite Worlds Qualifier for the championships in Italy. I plan on getting into the top group on the first run, holding my own on the bike, and powering in the last run to place top 3 overall for the Pros. I think my running speed will be ready by then with a few hard workouts these next few weeks.
So that is about it for my race recap. I'd like to send out a special thanks to Adam Zucco and Trainingbible.com for helping me race to my full potential these past few years, Powerbar for supplying me with the nutrition not only before but also after my races, and Jeff Aubert and the Hillstriders running club for putting on such a great race!
Check back soon, I'll post a recap of the Shamrock Shuffle 8k which I will be running on this coming Sunday!