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Did I choke during the Oklahoma City Memorial

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5ksandcabernets: Did I choke during the Oklahoma City Memorial


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Did I choke during the Oklahoma City Memorial

During my normal run this morning with the gang from Luke's Locker, one of my friends, a real real real fast woman, says to me that maybe the pressure of racing got to me during the Oklahoma City Memorial half marathon.

She'd obviously run with me during training runs and saw me put down sub 7s with ease and thought I'd easily break my PR of 1:36 and get awfully close to a 1:30.

I'll admit, I was a bit nervous during the first half of the race. I'll also admit that I thought beating my PR would be easy.

So, after my friend said what she said, I wondered: "Did I choke?"

My goal going into the race was to do the first half in right around 46 minutes. On Saturday, I hit the halfway point (6.55 miles) in 46:26, a pace of 6:58 min/mile. And I did this despite the fact that I had to stop and walk/tie my shoe for about 30 seconds because my left shin muscle cramped up on me.

Now, I did have some "race nerves" during the first half of the race. My heart rate average for the first half (87 percent of max) was about the same as it has been at other half marathons, though I'll admit, this pace didn't 'feel' as easy as it did during my training runs.

I was holding this 7 m/m pace through the first 8.1 miles of the race. At this point, in fact, my time was exactly 58:07, which is exactly a 7:00 mile pace. Up to this point, I'd done everything I set out to do before the race. Stay right around 7, then push it the last 5 miles.

But, as I said in my race report, I couldn't push it. But it had nothing to do with nerves. From Mile 8.1 to mile 10.3, the course was slightly elevated and into a 25-mph wind. The hill/wind combo took everything out of me. I couldn't even run a sub 8-minute mile during this part of the race. I fought and fought and gave it everything I had and my calves finally said "Buh-bye.:

Nerves? I don't think so. Nothing out of the ordinary, anyway. And besides, doesn't everybody get race nerves? Doesn't everybody's heart rate spike at the playing of the National Anthem?

I think it was the heat (70-pus degrees at the start) and high humidity (over 75 percent) that did me in, and the fact that I didn't adjust my pace to the weather conditions. But maybe my friend was right? Maybe I choked.

What do you guys think?


Blogger lindsay said...

i don't think you choked. you said yourself - you tried pushing but your legs just wouldn't do it. i'd say the weather didn't help - you probably aren't acclimated to the warmth and humidity yet and that may have drained you sooner than expected. i don't think you could've held back much more in the beginning to 'conserve' and then push it for a 1:30. (nothing against your abilities, just seems like a big increase in pace.)

you are definitely right about the typical pre-race jitters. i wondered if i'd ever not-have them but then i realized as long as i want to improve on my times, i'm always gonna be nervous no matter what the race is.

i say it was the weather. you definitely gave it a strong attempt!

April 28, 2009 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger Derek said...

You didn't choke, sometimes you have the legs to set a PR, and sometimes you don't. There are good days, and the there are average days, and every once in a while you have a Great day. You still ran a good race and should be proud of your effort. The weather and course may not have played into your favor, but I'm pretty sure you didn't choke. Just sign up for some more races and have fun, the sub-1:30 will come!

April 28, 2009 at 2:03 PM  
Blogger untpawgal02 said...

You definitely didn't choke! Your body was just telling you to ease back a little bit... that's probably all it was!

April 28, 2009 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Well, your regular running partners know you better than I do (I've been reading your blog for all of two days!), but I wouldn't say you choked. If anything, maybe your plan wasn't the best - having planned to push it at the end when the course was more difficult at the end.

As I said before though, the conditions didn't sound very favorable for a PR. So, I'd just look back on it, take it as a learning experience, relax through your recovery, then get on to training fore your next race.

April 28, 2009 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger Run For Life said...

I agree with the others about this. From your recent posts it sounds like you were actually more relaxed going into this race and of course they're be pre-race anxiety but 25mph winds, humidity and an uphill last half can DEFINITELY take a toll.

April 28, 2009 at 10:41 PM  
Blogger Run For Life said...

I meant there will be not "they're." :P

April 28, 2009 at 10:44 PM  
Blogger Just_because_today said...

It wasn't a good day, that's all. Wind and heat didn't help either but you have raced long enough to know that sometimes as the gun goes off, so does our dream. Other times we kick butt in spite of conditions. That's what makes running so great, it is not predictable.

April 29, 2009 at 7:36 AM  
Blogger Reese said...

As someone who has run that course many times in training under those same conditions, you didn't choke. The other thing that is deceiving about that course is that when it is overcast, despite the heat and humidity, it fools you into thinking that it's not so hot. Sort of like El Scorcho, since it's night time, you think it's not so hot and humid. And that will get you.

April 29, 2009 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger Victoria said...

Hmmm... I don't know about choked, but it seems like your best races have been when you weren't trying to PR necessarily but you just went out and raced.

What if you just went out and raced and maybe even (gasp) left the Garmin at home? Maybe you should find some race that shouldn't be a fast course (with lots of hills or something) and then just run it with no expectations.

You are putting down times in workouts that definitely suggest you can run faster-- humidity or no humidity, but sometimes we have to turn the brain off and let the body take over. (That probably sounded far more titillating than it was supposed to.)

April 29, 2009 at 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Lance said...

No way you choked. I ran the full, which covered the same uphill/into the wind segment for miles 21-24. Killer. My friend and I both thought it was worse than the into the wind miles around the lake during White Rock this year, and those were plenty tough. I agree with all of your comments about the overall race experience (including the really cool moment of silence that gave me chills), but if I read another website about a "fast, flat course" that is neither fast nor flat, I'm going to lose it.... Why do race organizers feel the need to lie that way?

April 29, 2009 at 11:14 AM  

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