Carlsbad Half Marathon – 15 January 2017

I’m starting to write race reports for every race I do.  This lets me look back and analyze what went well and what I need to work on.  Half Marathons are usually just for fun and to test my “roll out of bed and run a half marathon” fitness, but seeing the nutrition going in, pacing, and race strategy should be useful for posterity.

Day Prior – I did a quick 30 minute spin session at ~170 watts on Zwift just to loosen up.  Once I got to San Diego, I went to the expo and got my packet as well as a new pair of shorts (last pair got trashed from San Antonio’s bike class, whoops).  There was a massage tent next to the expo so I checked it out and decided to get a 20 minute session just to loosen up my left quad/hamstring/IT band.  My left glute doesn’t fire so my hamstring is doing all the work and my left side is feeling the pain.  My therapist, Erynne, worked for Rehab United and she did a superb job for only a light, 20 minute session.  She seemed to hit the right areas and she explained that her company works with several triathletes and she is also a competitor, she knew the right areas to hit.  I’ll look to book a session there at some point in the future.  After I left the expo, I hit the YMCA in Encinitas and got a free guest pass to swim.  Evidently, you can use this pass twice a year without paying, so this was a good deal.  Easy 2k for me (35 minutes) so I was quite pleased with that.

Bike here

Swim here

Pre-Race – I had dinner the night before with my friend Julie and  John.  We had baked chicken, salad with dressing and avacados, and some baked yams – this was an ideal pre-race dinner.  We got up around 0530 the next morning and I had 2 bananas – I’ve found this is all I need to eat before running races and even Olympic triathlons. We made it to the expo but didn’t start until 0745L so we had some time to spare.  I brought my bands with me and did some warmups in the parking lot, then some high knees and butt kickers.

We went to the giant port-a-potty line and waited a bit, then split off and headed to the corrals.  I did some short efforts and continued to loosen up.  I seeded myself next to the 1:35 pacer as I figured this would be a good pace to settle into – I would have been happy breaking 1:40 since I’m not in prime running shape right now.

Weather – Textbook perfect run weather – 40s/50s, overcast and gray, no rain and a slight headwind going out.

Run – I’ll break this up by miles:

Mile 1-3:  I started off easy since I didn’t get as much of a warmup as I wanted.  Everyone around me took off like a bat out of hell, including the pacers.  I just settled in a rhythm and focused on keeping my heart rate in Z3 and not spiking too early.  However, my shoddy warmup was giving me some high numbers, so I just focused on breathing and cadence.  I wasn’t really tired, but knew that if I pushed too hard too soon, it would come back to bite me.  We started to hit some inclines and short hills, so I knew this race would take more work than I thought.

Mile 4-6:  We got out of the hill madness and started getting to the flats on the coast.  I started to finally get warmed up so I could test out the legs and engine.  Short note on the 1:35 pacers – these guys were probably the worst pacers I had seen.  At this point, I was running a sub-1:30 effort and the 1:35 guys were way in front of me, so those folks who had trained and planned for a 1:35 and ran with the pacers got ground into oblivion and left by the wayside – that’s a fucking shame.  We hit the turnaround and I was feeling good, but my legs were starting to get tired.

Mile 7-10: We had hit the turnaround by this point and I started to pick it up.  Legs were getting fatigued but my engine was firing on all cylinders.  My HR was high but I knew I could sustain it until the end, so I continued to push.

Mile 11-13:  The wheels started to come off around mile 11.  We hit a hill and my HR spiked and I couldn’t get it back down, so I was holding 180+ for the last 2 miles.  My legs were pretty trashed by this point – right calf was eating it and my left hamstring was smoked.   I just focused on the metronome and breathing, but pace had fallen off.  I started surging the last 2-3 minutes and sprinted into the finish line.

Final Time – 1:32:02

Race file is here

Strava is here

Official race result is here

Conclusions – Overall, I was surprised I could still run this quick considering I haven’t done many runs since IMAZ.  Therefore, I’m quite pleased with this effort as a quasi-baseline pace as I exit the off-season and continue to get into the “real” training.  I need to continue to work on my physio list and strengthen my kinetic chain as I’m all jacked up and weak – my limiter here wasn’t engine, but chassis…my legs are imbalanced and they were crushed after the race.  I also need to get back down to race weight – I raced around 172 pounds and I could feel all my fat jiggling the entire time.