Friday, May 22, 2009

Red Deer Half Marathon

Red Deer Half Marathon
It was an early start to the day, was around 5:00am to give me a enough time to make it down to Red Deer and have a little time to warm up for the Half Marathon. Since I’ve never driven down to Red Deer, I didn’t know which exit to take and ended up driving a little further than I should have. I had heard good things about this race and it lived up to expectations. Lots of support, friendly volunteers and then lots of food after the race.

Newton shoes
Today I wore my Newton Distancia race shoes for the first time in a race, which can sometimes be a little worrying as you don’t know what to expect, have I tied the shoes tight enough? Should I have put more training miles in the shoes before using them in the race? But I have to say these shoes performed greatly. Running in the shoes felt very easy, so much so that I had to keep checking my watch to make sure I was keeping on pace and running hard. This is probably the biggest difference that I’ve noticed between these shoes and traditional running shoes you just don’t feel beat up after running in them, I’ve done long runs of two hours in these shoes and not felt beat up or done afterwards compared to runs of ninety minutes to two hours in traditional shoes and have felt wiped afterwards. The other difference that I’ve noticed is that you don’t feel the road as much as you would in a race flat, this is most likely due to the actuators on the soles of the shoes which again is why it feels like you’re going easier than you actually are, which leads to not being as beat up as you normally would. I only wish I had the fitness to have done them justice.

The Race
The Half marathon is a race that I guess I haven’t figured out completely yet due to the fact that I still haven’t quite gotten the pacing down. I started out near the front of the pack because it’s one of the safest places to be, you don’t end up trying to run around people or getting impeded by anyone but at the same time if you’re going to start at the front you have to be able to run as fast as everyone around you, otherwise you just look foolish (This reminds me a great joke told by Tommy Tiernan about his friend Declan who started the London Marathon). We went through the first kilometre mark in around 3:30 which was a little fast for me so I backed off a little as I was hoping to run in or around 3:45 – 3:50 pace for the entire race.

From a spectator view point it must’ve looked good as there was 3 or 4 of us from the FastTrax team in the front pack with Brian Torrance leading the way in the Half Marathon and Jack Cook leading the Marathon with myself somewhere inbetween, running in about fifth or sixth spot for most of the race. I went through the first 7km in a shade over 26 minutes. I was feeling good and was thinking that I could hold this pace for the entire race which would end up giving me a PB for the distance. But I think it was around the 10K point when Matt Normington flew past me, and left me for dust. Matt is a 2:20ish Marathon guy so he passing me would’ve looked like a sports car passing a diesel truck on the highway.

As the course went on it got a little bit more twisty and hillier so I guess I slowed down a little as I then went through 14K in 53:30, it was at this point that I got some company as I was joined by one other guy and both of us ran together for almost the rest of the race. We caught one of the early leaders around the 18/19K mark. The split from 14K to the finish was roughly around the same as it took the same time as the middle 7K, however just as we hit the 20K mark we hit the hill.... I was done, I couldn’t pick it up at all and started to drop back a little, luckily at the top of the hill it was all down to the finish and I could hear another racer come up behind me. I tried holding him off but I ended up getting passed with probably 2 or 3 yards to go which sucked. But what sucked more for me is the fact that I haven’t been able to get under 1:20 for this distance, today’s race was the closest that I’d come for a number of seasons.

The race was a mixture of Happy with how the shoes performed, Happy with getting a faster time than the last Half Marathon that I ran in Phoenix. But I was not happy with losing 2 places in the last K or so and definitely not happy about the finishing time. Hopefully as I build up to the Dublin City Marathon in October my training will help me get under this time.

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