Monday, August 23, 2010

Race Report: Full Moon Half Marathon

Saturday night was the Full Moon Half Marathon in Sheboygan, WI. I ran very well so I am quite happy. My time was 1:41:09 and I actually took 3rd place in my age group and got a medal. There were 15 in my age group and I usually don't do so well in half marathons or full marathons so the place was a surprise. I also took 25th overall out of 266.

Let me start on a report of the race before my details on my personal race. The race starts at 6:30PM in Plymouth, WI and follows bike paths and roads on the way to Sheboygan. The course was actually better than I thought it would be. It was crowded at the start on a bike path but after 1 mile was smooth sailing. There were rolling hills (not steep at all) for the first 7 miles and then nice country roads or sidewalks the rest of the way.

Since the race began at 6:30, we were running out of daylight. By the time I got to about 11 ½ miles, it was starting to get where I couldn’t see too well. This added to the enjoyment of the race. At Mile 12, the race goes through a tunnel under the Interstate before the final mile to the finish at a local mall parking lot. The end of the tunnel had some water/mud for about 15 feet which caused some concern as I was running fast but they had some boards out which may or may not have helped. It could easily been a tripping/slipping hazard. Since most runners finished in the dark, the roads did cause some concern for runners. Like I said, this added to the excitement/enjoyment of the race, but could easily have caused some avoidable trips and problems.

They had very well maintained water/Gatorade stops about every 2 miles. Very friendly volunteers as well cheering us all on. Plenty of water and powerade at the finish line as well with bananas, cookies, etc.

If you are looking for a great half marathon medal, this is not the place. The medal was an aluminum stamped key chain, but at least they gave something to those who accomplishing a half marathon was a major goal.

Packet Pickup was an issue. They required us to arrive by 4PM to pick up but the buses to take you to the start didn’t leave until 4:45. Lots of standing around doing nothing here. Then once at the start area, we got there so early there was more standing around for over an hour. Not needed when there are less than 300 in the race. It wasn’t all that bad though as there were plenty of portolets to use there and many to talk to. This is only a minor issue they could resolve.
As far as my personal race, it went so much better than I expected. The goal before the race was to run the first 5 or 6 miles at just over 8:00 pace and then see if I could pick it up. I was borrowing Mike’s Garmin to help me keep pace but he didn’t have it set up like mine. Right before the race, I was able to set it up for “average pace” but not to keep mile splits. Oh well, I guess I will live. I did a 1 mile warm up with Greg and then waited for the start. We sang the National Anthem facing an open field, I think someone forgot a flag, but then the race started.

After a half mile, there was no more issues with the narrow bike path and not crowded anymore. I hit mile 1 at 8:03, perfect. Mile 2 was right at 8:03 pace as well and I was surprised how easy it felt so far. I told myself not to go faster and stick to the plan even though a few were passing me. At mile 3, I found myself running with a lady who was running a very even pace with me and we stuck together for a few miles. There were some hills up to mile 5 but not steep at all but I eased into them and kept the 8:00 pace taking only 15 second breaks at the water stops. Ahead of me, I could see a bunch of runner strung out and since I felt good at mile 5, they became my targets.

At mile 6, I was still at 8:00 pace and still feeling very good so I decided now was the time to start to pick it up. I think mile 7 & 8 were a 7:45’s and I was beginning to pass a quite a few runners. I hit mile 10 at 1:18:40 and felt really good and was continuing to pick up the pace and pick off runners.

I had a little scare at about 10 ½ when we were running through the only neighborhood on the course on a sidewalk. A guy was about 25 meters ahead of me when a dog tried to run next to him and slightly jump up on him. Then the dog came toward me. The owner was watching us runners and couldn’t care less what his dog was doing. As a runner, I didn’t know if the dog was friendly, was going to bite, etc. It didn’t but it got my adrenaline going some.

There were only 1 or 2 runner ahead I could see now to pass and it was getting dark making it harder to see the course but I felt so good. I couldn’t see the watch anymore to know my pace so I just pressed. I passed one guy right before the tunnel at mile 12 and saw no one ahead of me but heard footsteps behind me to keep me going. The legs tired some in the final mile but I think I didn’t slow. The footsteps didn’t catch me and I cruised the rest of the way. I did pass one more guy who was walking about ¼ mile from the finish but he could have been doing a cool down.

As I passed the final turn, I looked at the watch and thought it already said 1:42 so I was bummed I wasn’t going to break 1:42 but was pleasantly surprised when I saw the watch after the race say 1:41:09! It was dark so I must have seen the 0 and thought it was a 2.

Paul finished in 1:51 and Greg got his goal of breaking 2 hours by running 1:58:59. 3 for 3 on the goals so that is great. I had another coworker who was there running with his wife and they broke 2 hours which was their goal and her 2 friends (1 running her first half marathon) also broke 2 hours and that was their goal. Not too bad when everyone you know in a race beats their goal!

My final 5K of the race was 22:29, a pace of 7:14. I am very happy about that. I felt I could have kept up a close to that pace for another 3 miles. My confidence is higher now about a good fall marathon time. If I can run a half marathon at 7:44 pace, I should have no problem running a full at 8:30 pace, key word “should”. That is why we run the race though.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Awesome, Bill!!! That's crankin on the last 5K!!!