Saturday, August 6, 2011

Another One Bites The Dust

3:45 am was the time to wake up to drive to Tacoma for one of my favorite half marathons in the area: The Tacoma Narrows. Curiously, last year the Tacoma Narrows was my race #50. Today, a year later it would be #103 for a logic deduction of having run 53 races in the last 52 weeks. Nice.

The drive was uneventful, with the usual good number of Staters on the side of the road after having pulled over those that tried to be too smart. Parked by the finish line at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center, and went to the line for the shuttles. The buses would take us across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to drop us at the Tacoma airport where the point-to-point race would start. The ride went fast after having a delightful conversation with Andy, a very agreeable Maniac.

Got my packet, saw Tony, Sharon and her husband, pix were taken, porta-potties and bushes were visited and we were all ready to go. But before the start, all Maniacs were called for a photo shoot, which happened to be an amusing moment. Three of our Maniacs were wearing straitjackets for the picture. It was the epitome of our madness.

My strategy for the race was going to be again a heart rate strategy. It’s working so great, that no need to fix what is not broken. The goal was uncertain. I felt rested for running at a good pace, but I really had not figured out what I was expecting from the race, so I decided to let the heart lead the way.

My heart rate was adjusted from the start at 80% (148) and I was able to keep it there for the first 3 miles. Interestingly, even though I was running at a low effort, the pace for these 3 miles was 9:30. Have I gotten to that place where you run faster with less effort? I was more than surprised and pleased. This led me to believe that if the trend continued I would PR (current PR: 2:09:13 – 2 weeks ago); but because this course has an important hill before mile 4 and it would take a while to bring my rate back to normal, I decided not to be too attached to this thought. The hill came and the heart rate was elevated to 166 (90%) with an of course, slower pace. It took me a while to regulate it back to where I needed to have it for mile 5 (155). At mile 6 I had caught up with my pace and knew that I was going to feel stronger at the end of the race. I was now at ~90%, and kept it there for a couple of miles. The pace was getting faster and at this point I sent the brain the order for a PR of 2:08.

At mile 8 I saw the 2:10 pacer, and authorized myself to pass her. I needed to do that, as the psychological effect of having her in front of me would distract me as I would be above the PR. Instead of waiting calmly to pass her, which I knew would happen in less than one mile, I decided to do it right away. When I passed her I told her: You are right on the money. She was perfectly pacing the people that were running with her for a 2:10.

Passing her so fast came with a price. My HR went to 94% when should've been around 90%. My pace slowed down in the sub-sequent miles. At mile 10 I was in that point of the course where I met Angie to pace her when she ran her first marathon back in May. I pictured myself pacing her with the same strength. The last two miles were fabulous, as this Half ends downhill. I put my HR at 175 (96%) and got 9:13 min/mile for mile 12, and 8:48 min/mile for mile 13. The last tenth of a mile were all out at 100% and I clocked a 2:07:21 a PR of almost 2 minutes.

After the race I joined Sole Sisters Maryanne and Ginger, and Miguel and Tony. Maryanne and Ginger ran a fantastic race. Maryanne with a 1:43 for first in her age group and Ginger ran a 1:33 for 1st in her age group, 2nd female masters, and 7th overall. Miguel ran a 1:12 for 2nd overall, and 1st in his age group. As seen, the race was a total success for everybody.

I doubt I would run again by pace as the heart rate is working so good for me. With this, another half marathon PR has been crushed. Another One Bites The Dust. 

With Sharon
With Ginger
Sole Sisters Ginger, Maryanne, and Lizzie
Miguel Galeana, 2nd Male Overall
Ginger, 7th Female Overall, 2nd Female Masters, 1st in her age group
The bling: a glass!!!

1 comment:

craig said...

That is phenomenal! So happy for your achievements.