Snake River Half-Marathon- My First Half

This last weekend I ran my first open half-marathon. I have actually ran two and jog/walked two in the Half-Ironman races over the last couple of years, but this is not a triathlon. There is no walking at the aid stations because you have already been working out for 3+ hours. It is an all out run for 13.1 miles and I have to say not my idea for fun on a Saturday morning.

The original plan was to load up the bikes (we were planning on riding afterwards) and leave Spokane shortly 7:00am. After arriving at Tim’s a bit early to change yet another flat tire (I think I need to take a class) we loaded up in Kirk’s Ridgeline and headed off to meet Mia for the trip down to Wawawai Landing, just west of Pullman along the Snake River.

Arriving about an hour early, I signed up for the race and ran back to the car to try and stay warm. It was not the ideal run conditions with the temperatures hovering around 35 degrees. After doing a quick fashion show in the back of the car, trying to figure out how many layers to wear, I was finally ready to go.

With about 10 minutes until the race began, I headed out for a quick warm-up to make sure my legs were still there after the 2 hours in the car. I began running down-river and noticed it was rather warm and the weather seemed great for my first half-marathon. And then I turned around… It was then I became all too familiar with the strong headwind that greeted my face on the way back towards the starting line. It was at this point, I was glad I put on the extra layers, because it was cold.

The race plan was to negative split. Pretty much run faster coming back then going out. Whether this was 30 seconds or 10 minutes I did not know but I wanted to make sure that my effort coming back was definitely increased. Since with race was dead flat, I had a feeling the pace would be a bit quicker then most of my runs.

With the headwind in your face on the way out, I choose to run with a few packs and make sure I kept a little in the tank for the run back to the finish line. The first half of the race was tough. You had the cold winds and since I hadn’t actually run over 9 miles or 1:15 yet this year, I didn’t exactly know how to pace myself. I found my self running from pack to pack as the runners began to settle into their races.

For as much experience I have running half-marathons I think the race went very well. I ran 7:05/mile pace on the way out with a time of 46:27. This was a bit faster than the 7:30’s pace I had planned for but I felt like I was holding back, and since there was a headwind, and knew I would be able to increase my effort on the way home. My only concern was how long I was going to be able to keep that up. Anything after mile 9 was new territory, so I hit the turn-around and just went for it.

I picked up my pace to 6:30’s and was consistent from mile 7-12 with each mile between 6:32 and 6:40. After passing mile marker 10, all I thought about was that this was a 5k and you have ran these many times. It was only 20 minutes and you can push yourself until the end. My last mile was around 6:23 and even though I felt tired, I was able to push through. I ended up with my negative split, running 42:44 on the way back with a race average of 6:48/mile for the race. I have my time as just a bit faster than the clock, since it took about 6 seconds for me to get to the start line.

In hindsight I may have been able to push just a little bit harder on the way out but since my volume and time has not pushed me much over 9 miles, I really had no idea what to expect. I think this was a great test to see where I am. I might even be happier that it is over.

I would like to thank Kirk for driving down and congrats to all the Tri-Fusionites who raced: Tim, Matt, Kirk, Josh (second overall), Eric, Mia and Terri. Great job to all!


jessithompson said...

YOU ARE A STUD. PERIOD. Way to A+ it, you are a rockstar! Did you hear the whistling wind in your ear? That's obviously what pushed you to perform so well!

Matt said...

Amazing race Steve, that smoking fast! I watched you speed up after the turn around and drop the people around ya, NICE! Keep up the hard work, its definately paying off!

Tiffany said...

What an awesome race! I'm thrilled for you that had such fantastic results! You are so freaking fast! Way to push yourself at the end. That had to have been hard, but you toughed it out in true A+ style! Congrats on the negative split! You rock, Keve!

Laura and company said...

I'm just catching up on blogs and somehow I've missed your March posts (and everyone else's for that matter). I had no idea about your transformation, since I didn't really know you when you were 200+ lbs. Dang...nice job. Your Snake River time was phenomenal and you look great, to boot. Way to go! Ironman will be a walk in the park for you. Well, maybe a little tougher than that, but I'm sure you'll pull off a great debut performance.