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5ksandcabernets: Lake Benbrook Half Marathon PR

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Lake Benbrook Half Marathon PR

All you have to do is look at the elevation in this chart to know how crazy I was to even think I could get a PR during the Lake Benbrook Half Marathon Saturday.

Thing is, I didn't know how bad these hills were until the race began.

My goal was to average 7:20 a mile and that's exactly what I did, crossing the finish line in 1:36:01. But the fact that the time was exactly what I hoped to run was more about my Garmin 301 measuring the course long instead of me running 7:20 mile after mile after mile.

First, the splits: (My max heart rate is 201)

Mile===Time======Avg heart rate
1..............7:24.................155
2..............7:10.................170
3..............7:02.................171
4..............7:14..................172
5..............7:13..................171
6..............7:22..................173
7...............7:10..................173
8...............7:11..................176
9...............7:11..................176
10.............7:02.................177
11..............7:05.................178
12.............7:28..................179
13.............7:05..................179
13.37.........2:29..................185

I finished 30th overall out of 246 runners; 8th in my age group. (Damn, the 40- to 44-year-old guys are fast).

Now, some thoughts....
Did you see the elevation chart? There were a bunch of little rolling hills, then, at about mile 5.5, this big hill comes out of nowhere. Its the kind of hill where if you don't know how to drive a standard, I wouldnt recomend you driving up that hill. The course was an out and back, so we had to go up said hill twice.

This was a small race. 246 finishers. No finishers medal. Heck, there were not even any mile marker signs. And at each aide station, there was an old guy standing next to a card table pointing to cups. "Gatorade here, water over there." We had to grab our own refreshments.

This was the first time I'd ever run at Lake Benbrook, and let me say this: It was the dirtiest looking, dingiest looking lake I'd ever run at. Water was brown. Trees looked like not one leaf had ever grown on them. And then, there was this GoodTime Van parked in the bushes with a guy playing this crazy music. They could have filmed, "Friday the 13th" at this place and it would have been believable.

The good thing about an out and back is that I could see how many people were ahead of me, and people still on the front half of the course were telling me how many people were in front of me. "You are in 33rd place, Kevin," one guy told me. Then I was in 32nd place. Then 31st.

As you can see, Mile 12 was the slowest. I actually started feeling bad around Mile 10 but soldiered on. Come Mile 12, I just wanted to throw myself on the ground and contort and have a temper tantrum. I was just so sick of running by this point. I was tired of all these hills. At this point, I passed a 50-something guy named Jeff. I only passed him because he stopped for Gatorade. (I didnt take any GUs and only had water once, at the halfway point). But soon Jeff was passing me. We traded being out in front of each other for a few tenths of a mile before I finally put my foot on the gas and got to the finish line. My Garmin says I covered the last mile _ from 12.28 to 13.28 _ in 6:55.

As I said earlier, the Garmin said I ran 13.38 miles in 1:36:01, which is actually a 7:11 mile. Because I've run several races wearing this GPS device, I knew it was going to measure the course long. So as i rattled off 7:10s and 7:15s, I knew that I'd be running longer than a 13.1 mile race, and that I needed to be extra quick at the end to make my goal. Good thing I sprinted at the end or I would have been slower than what I wanted to be.

My previous half marathon pr came this past Nov. 2, when I ran a 1:38:59 at White Rock Lake, a pace of 7;33 per mile. That course didnt have nearly as many hills (though there were some crazy ones). My Garmin measured the course at 13.29 miles. According to my Garmin on Saturday, when I hit 13.29 miles, the clock read 1:35:35. Thats a 3 minute, 24 second improvement (unofficially).

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10 Comments:

Blogger Run For Life said...

Congrats on the PR! It sounds like you did well at pacing especially with those killer hills. Too bad the place wasn't very scenic.

January 31, 2009 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger Victoria said...

Nice running!

Hills are good. Make you stronger.

February 1, 2009 at 12:20 AM  
Blogger Derek said...

Great running on a difficult course. Benbrook is were I do 80% of my long runs and it is not the most beautiful place to run, but it is quiet. I guess most runners hate the hills more than I do.

Again congrats on a new PR, I would say on a flatter course 1:30 would be a new goal!

February 1, 2009 at 3:04 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Nice going! Congrats on the PR that you deserve, especially on the tough course.

February 1, 2009 at 4:57 AM  
Blogger lindsay said...

congrats again on the pr, especially on those hills! i love smaller races when you can know how close to the front of the pack you are. they can't all be glamorous but friday the 13th-esque is quite different. whether the course or your garmin was off, you still pr'd! :)

February 1, 2009 at 8:01 AM  
Blogger Runner Susan said...

That is crazy fast! Great job. When is your next half?

February 1, 2009 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger butcept said...

Hi Kevin! Great job on the half!! And boy, this one was old school. I loved your rant about throwing yourself on the ground contorting & throwing a temper tantrum. I feel that way at most of my races :-). I can't remember if I wrote it in one of my blog posts, but my last half, I wanted one of those asshole drivers who cannot STAND waiting for runners to pass to HIT ME so that I didn't have to run any more. I wasn't going to quit but it was okay for someone to do something to stop me from going.

Raleigh is FULL OF HILLS. My coach usually writes "run flat" and I'm always thinking: where the hell does she think I'm going to do that?

I used to curse them OUT LOUD. Now, I just do them since I can't do a thing about them...

KUDOS DUDE. You rock!

February 1, 2009 at 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Self Defense Products said...

Nice Post.....

February 2, 2009 at 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Jess said...

Awesome job and great PR!

February 2, 2009 at 4:24 PM  
Anonymous Sonja Cassella said...

Well Kevin this is inspirational, is all I can say. I don't know the running terms -- PR -- or how the monitors work, but I think it's just great that you have the time, inclnation and ability to run.

February 2, 2009 at 7:08 PM  

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