Tuesday, December 13, 2011

OUC Half Marathon Recap

I ran my first ever Half Marathon just over one year ago at the Space Coast Half Marathon on November 27, 2010. I have come a long way since then;  I ran my first full Marathon in January and completed my first Half Ironman triathlon in May.  This fall running season, Rachel and I decided to pick the OUC Half Marathon as my “A” race for the fall running season. 

OUC logo
We picked this race because the course is flat and runs around downtown Orlando, but mainly because of the Beer Garden after the race.  After completing a great Daytona Beach Half Marathon, my goal coming in was to break at least 1:40 and try to push it some to stay under a 7:30 pace.  My training the last month has been really focused on this race and I felt great coming in to it. 

We got to downtown Orlando plenty early but the location where to park was leaving me to chance finding a free spot  in front of some peoples houses or pay to park in a parking garage downtown.  The directions led us to a city run parking garage that was charging to park but instead we drove around and found a lot very close to the finish line instead.  It was a good call because during my warm up, there were a ton of cars trying to find some of the free spots.  I did my typical 1 mile warm up with some strides and a good stretch before the race.  While I was stretching, Rachel went to use the bathroom and the plan was to meet by the registration tables before the race.  Because of the large crowds, I was not able to see her until after the race.  I ran into Kelly, Amber and Danielle before the race to say a quick hi and good luck before I headed to the corral for the start.  One good advantage for running fast is the area around the 7:00 pace were not crowed compared to the rest of the corral. 

OUC Half 32
Before I know it, the race started.  The first half mile I was flying at a 6:30 pace.  I kept telling my self I need to slow down but my legs felt great.  Mile 1 flew by at 6:42 and again I kept telling my self I need to slow down if I don’t want to burn out.  I did slow down but only to a 7:00 pace for the next couple miles.

Downtown Orlando Skyline

From around mile two through seven, I felt like I was running by myself.  I love to run side by side with people to push each other to run faster, but I only had a handful of people pass me during those miles.  Looking at my watch, I realized I set new 5 mile and 10k PRs during this race.  Halfway through the race, I was still cruising along at a 7:10 pace and my legs were feeling great.  The weather at the start of the race was perfect conditions but the temperatures and sun started to beat down on me.

OUC Half Finish stretch

The second half of the race I just kept telling myself to keep up the fast pace and was trying to figure out my expected finish time.  Everything was going great until I hit the wall at mile 11.  I could see the buildings next to the finish line but the course made us run away from the finish line.  I kept looking at my watch and continued to push it so my pace would not rise above a 7:30 pace which was crazy since that was my original goal pace.  Mile 12 was my slowest mile at 7:26 and after the 12 mile mark, I could see the finish line across Lake Eola.  By this time my legs felt like they had nothing left and weighed a ton.  On the last straightaway, I was trying to sprint to the finish line to prevent someone from passing me, but he out kicked me.

OU Half Finish Line

I looked down at my watch and was ecstatic about my time.  I killed my initial goal of the race with an official race time of 1:33:49; a crazy 7:09 minute per mile pace.  The pain in my legs were suppressed by the runners high I was experiencing by running a great race. 

OUC Half Finish

I headed back to the car to take in some refreshments and to wait for Rachel to finish. 

OUC Half Rachel

Luckily I was not the only one having a great race.  Rachel had a great race beating her PR and goal for the race. 

OUC Half Kelly

We took in some more refreshments as we waited for Amber, Kelly and Danielle.  Without knowing it, Rachel and Kelly ended up wearing the exact same running shirt.

OUC Half Amber

This race ended up showing I was underestimating my running ability.  I would never have though I could run at that pace.  It put some thoughts in my head that I may have a chance to BQ if I keep improving.  I just have to drop 6 seconds per mile and run twice the distance.
Have you ever underestimated your ability?