Monday, January 25, 2010

2010 Manhattan Half Race Report - An Unexpected PR

Since I set my marathon PR in sprint 09, I have taken it really easy running-wise. I did the 09 NYC marathon but with bare minimum training (no > 40mi wks, one > 20mi run). Suffice it to say, I lost my motivation to run. So I allowed myself to take off so I can spend more evenings with my wife and do the P90X strength and conditioning program, a 90-day exercise and diet commitment which ended just after Christmas.

An eight month emphasis on enjoying life outside of running really helped to whet my appetite to get back into it. I redirected my focus back to run training when the decade turned. This started with Tabata intervals on the bike and eventually up the Manhattan Bridge 2-3x/wk to get my cardio back. Also did 5x mile intervals to get a feeling for the pacing six days before the race. And that was about it running-wise to help me prepare for the race. Below are my mileage totals since the 09 NYC marathon.
November: 61.95 incl. 09 NYC marathon

December: 39.20

You can see why I wasn't expecting too much heading into the 2010 Manhattan Half because of the minimal running. I was curious, however, to test the P90X conditioning I endured. So I decided to push myself to get as close to the 7:00min/mi pace. My pace chart for the race went as follows:

Split Time Distance Avg Speed Avg HR
1 0:06:58 1.01 6:56 162
2 0:06:55 1.01 6:52 172
3 0:06:48 1.01 6:46 171
4 0:07:05 1.01 7:00 172
5 0:07:02 1 7:02 173
6 0:06:52 1 6:53 170
7 0:07:00 1 7:01 170
8 0:07:03 1.01 6:58 172
9 0:06:47 1.01 6:45 171
10 0:07:14 1.02 7:05 173
11 0:07:08 0.99 7:14 175
12 0:06:57 1 6:55 174
13 0:07:03 1 7:03 178
14 0:00:47 0.13 6:18 180
Summary 1:31:46 13.18 6:57 172

I was surprised that I was doing sub 7's the first 3 miles, and going gradually faster at that. I finished the first loop with the mile marker reading 42:00. That was good because I knew I had some leeway having started in the back of the blue corral. I felt pretty decent so I thought I could push slightly harder in the second loop. So I did. But my effort wasn't translating to faster mile splits. Bummer. I'd have to push even harder. I drew into the thousands of P90X push-ups I did by using my upper body to power me up Cat Hill, Harlem Hill and the west side rolling hills. I think it worked. The mile 12 marker read 1:24:13. Lost about 13s, but it's now GO time. My goal for every race is to do a sub 6:15 final mile. This one didn't even come close - 7:03.

My official time was 1:31:41 (6:59 min/mi), a PR by about half a minute on a much tougher course. I was definitely ecstatic about my first sub-7 pace half for the first race of the year after months of taking it easy!

Breaking down the race effort, I think that P90X did a lot to help me stay conditioned. The three weeks of Tabata intervals helped me to get my cardio back QUICK, which is why I absolutely love Tabata workouts. The mile intervals helped me to feel the pacing. If there's anything that can be improved upon, it's the last 2-3 miles. In the past, I had a better ability to pick it up. Yesterday, it annoyed me to get passed by so many. Ugh. But I know that will be fixed as I up my mileage.

I'm hoping this is a good omen for my 2010 season. I'm definitely much more excited about running again hope to set more PR's.