The Chances

How a 250+ Pound Couch Potato Got Healthy

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sacramento Shamrock'n Half Marathon 2009

Today was the Shamrock'n Half Marathon, my first one. I've been running that distance for a while now, but not nearly as hard as I did today. I'm more sore than I've been since when I first started running! I suppose that's a good thing, that means I worked hard.

Living in Olivehurst, I'm 45 minutes from where the race is. They requested everyone be there by 6:30am, which meant I had to leave at 5:30. That also meant I needed to be up at 4:30am to eat breakfast, get ready, and leave on time. Whee!

Before leaving town, I stopped off for my signature Diet Mt. Dew. Yes, I knew the ramifications of that, but I figured that with 2 1/2 hours before the race, I'd have plenty of time for restroom visits.

Once at Raley Field, I took plenty of time to walk around. I took a few pictures, although with my cell phone they don't look the greatest. They do give a bit of an idea of what it was like though.

I lucked out in that the wind wasn't too bad. Yesterday the wind was 10-15mph, but today was more like 5. Before the start of the race, it wasn't raining, but it was a bit misty.

Prior to the race, I ended up using the bathroom. FOUR TIMES. It sure beat using the bathroom during the race though, I didn't have to use it at all then.

At race time there were 3 different groups: faster than 9:10/mi, 9:10/mi or slower, and relay. I chose the 9:10 group because I didn't think I'd be able to manage much faster. I was going to try though. I snapped a quick shot when the first group started.

After that, I headed towards the starting line. I sent a couple tweets from there, and the guy next to me started talking to me about it. As we were talking, a woman came up to me and asked if I had a blog. Come to find out, she'd searched for "Shamrock'n Sacramento" and found my complaints about the race route! I thought that was pretty cool.

The gun sounded, and we headed off... walking. Most people were sort of slow-jogging their way, but it was a slow start to be sure. Even after we passed the starting line, it was slow, which you can see in the mile splits.

Through most of the race I was quite pleased with my performance. In fact, I thought for sure I'd be able to break 2 hours. Problem is, those last 3 miles just got the best of me. It's obvious now that I probably should have run the earlier miles a bit faster to conserve some energy.

I also experimented a bit with hydration. I didn't drink from my water bottle as much as I usually do, I chose instead to drink at the water stops. That seemed to work out well, although if it were a much warmer day that probably would have been different. I'm thinking this strategy might work out for the full marathon in May, so I can put a sports drink in my water bottle. That way I can drink water from the stations, and sports drink from my own bottle as I go along.

The weather ended up perfect. The crowd was great! Real supportive, and a few people were moving back and forth around the route.

Things sort of fell apart around mile 10. I made the fatal mistake of walking through a water stop. It seems that when I run long, once I start walking, I end up walking more the rest of the run than I plan on. Once I walked through the one water stop, it was a struggle for me the rest of the way.

Mile 1: 9:38.59
Mile 2: 9:01.28
Mile 3: 9:03.64
Mile 4: 8:50.17
Mile 5: 9:03.47
Mile 6: 9:04.95
Mile 7: 9:04.68
Mile 8: 9:21.52
Mile 9: 9:10.70
Mile 10: 10:18.02
Mile 11: 9:29.16
Mile 12: 10:55:05
Mile 13: 10:57.68
.11 Miles: :50.64 (7:58/mi)

Final time was 2:04:49.8. Although my goal was under 2 hours, I really can't complain too much. What's 4 minutes, right? :) The trusty Reebok HRM said 1786 calories burned.

The route was one of the most zig-zaggy, roundabout route I've ever run with lots of u-turns. I suppose the organizers wanted to show Sacramento and its landmarks, because that's the direction it went. From Raley Field, across the Tower Bridge to start, down Capitol Mall, along the river, under the Tower Bridge to Old Sacramento, along the Riverwalk, finally finishing inside Raley Field.

As a form of torture, they made everyone climb the bleachers to the first level for the post-race meal. Meal being relevant, of course, it was just fig newtons, fruit, and lots and lots of almonds.

Click the image for a larger version.

In the end, it was a great race. My first half marathon is in the can! The best part about it? No pain! I felt it a little after the race, but really it wasn't too bad. So tonight I sit here with my legs sore as all getout. Tomorrow morning's going to be a rough one. No gym day for me.


Pat said...

congrats on your first HM. 204 is a great time. the best I've been able to do is a 219.

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

Great job with your first half. It really does take some experimentation to get the right hydration figured out. It sounds like you did a pretty go job in your first one. Recover well.