The Chances

How a 250+ Pound Couch Potato Got Healthy

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Bidwell Classic Half Marathon - 13.1 Miles

This morning was the Bidwell Classic Half Marathon in Chico, CA, and until yesterday, I wasn't worried about it at all.

I wasn't thinking too much about it at the time, but my workout called for 3 sets of 25 leg presses followed up with 3 sets of 25 lunges. As I got to the 10th rep in the first set of leg presses, my quads started to burn. I quickly realized that I was going to be mighty sore when the workout was finished.

I wasn't wrong. Last night, my quads were hurting like they haven't hurt in a long time. That hadn't changed this morning, so I wasn't really expecting much. In fact, I told someone at work on Friday, I'd be really happy if I matched my time at the Kaiser Half, which was 2:11.

At the race, it was comical watching and listening to the people. It was 47 degrees, yet people were dressed in quilted jackets, lots of cold weather stuff. As I was using a porta potty, I even overheard a woman say, "It's FREEZING! My fingers feel icy!" It was obvious she's native Californian.

Just outside the porta potties, I met up with Tony Bevis, who was going to run a 5k with his daughter. I hung out with them for a while, until the crowd running the 5k got so big that I had to back off.

Once the 5k had gotten started, I made my way to the pack at the half marathon start. There were two waves, one starting at 9 that was intended for people expecting to finish in 2 hours or less, and the other for everyone else. While I didn't expect to finish exactly under 2 hours, I knew I'd be close, so I positioned myself towards the back of the first wave.

As the race started, I felt fabulous, and started to forget about the pain in my quads. It was interesting running on this route, as I used to ride my bike on the route every day between classes back when I was at Chico State. It's also one of those locations that doesn't change too much, so I felt like I was racing in my hometown.

The route ended up being a double loop. At the top of the loop, it routed across East Avenue, the road that splits Lower and Upper Bidwell. It led past the Lower Bidwell swim area, on the sidewalk next to Vallembrosa, then back into the park. As I passed through a grassy area during the first loop, I passed by the kids as they ran their race, and had the chance to cheer them on. I loved the looks on their faces!

At Mile 7, I started to slow. My quads started burning again, and I felt my pace slowing. I ate a Powerbar Gel with the hopes it would help. I'm still not sure if it did or not.

On the way towards the end of the second loop, I walked a few times, but limited it as much as I could. When I was in sight of the finish line, I sprinted as much as I could, crossing the line at 2:04:04.

Did I mention my previous half marathon best was 2:04:43? I PR'ed by 39 seconds!

See the activity on RunSaturday
Type:Run - Race
Distance:13.19 mi

Mile 1: 8:56
Mile 2: 9:01
Mile 3: 9:06
Mile 4: 9:03
Mile 5: 9:09
Mile 6: 9:16
Mile 7: 9:11
Mile 8: 9:45
Mile 9: 9:53
Mile 10: 9:36
Mile 11: 9:26
Mile 12: 9:58
Mile 13: 9:59
.1 Mile: 1:39 (8:24/mi)

13.1 miles, 2:04:04, 9:24/mi average, 1473 calories burned

As I made my way over to the food, I was surprised to find out they were serving up Chipotle-style burritos, along with the normal race fare of bananas, oranges, and bagels! This turned out to be a great feast.

After the race, I met Ryan & Lora Stonebraker from Dailymile, which was very cool. I also found out my high school math teacher finished 2nd in his age group, at around 1:39. I remember in school, he'd come to class wearing his running clothes so he could run immediately after class. I'm glad he's still going!

Having PR'ed, it does make me wonder. How did I do it? What exactly am I doing right? Obviously, I'm following the training plan, but my paces haven't been near waht they should be. My tempo runs haven't even been close to tempo runs, and instead of averaging 7:40/mi during sprints, I'm way over 8 minutes per mile. Is it possible that volume of miles is all that matters?

At any rate, I entered my performance into the McMillan calculator, and found out that my marathon finishing time should be 4:24. While I'm not naive enough to think this will be the case, I am pretty darn happy with my performance today, and think it will show at the Avenue of the Giants Marathon on May 2.

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