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RockNRoll Chicago half

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Julie
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Post  Penelope Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:22 pm

I had typed out a decently long race report, pushed submit, and lost it.  So this one will be briefer:
    I ran the RockNRoll Chicago half marathon today.  My last half marathon was last June (2012) in 2:10:38.  This year, I've been under a lot more stress from work and have been running more consistently as a way to reduce stress.  Work / stress got very bad in April and I lost 8 lbs in about 1.5 weeks, and a total of 12 lbs that month.  I'd been wanting to lose weight, although not under those circumstances, and I've been very deliberate about keeping it off.  The weight loss did wonders for my overall pace / speed--it was a very sudden improvement.  When I lived in Atlanta, I barely ran, developed horrible eating habits, and gained 22 lbs.  Since then, I've been much slower than I was before, but this spring, I'm getting closer to where I used to be.
     My goal for this race was to run sub-2 hours, and to keep my pace at 8:50 average.  It was a course through the city and I think my GPS signal was affected by the buildings; it lost signal twice in tunnels.  Starting at the 2nd mile marker, my GPS said 0.2 over each mile.  That was a source of stress; at the 5 mile marker, my GPS said 5.2, and my overall time at that point was 46:xx.  So I was on target for pace according to my GPS, because at 5.0 on my watch, I was just at 45 minutes, but not according to the race's mile markers.  Eventually I made up for it, but for the first half was worried I wouldn't finish before 2 hours.  I tried to run tangents but the course had a lot of turns in it, which I think made it worse.  I kept getting stuck behind people at each 90 degree turn; for some reason a lot of people seem to slow down at turns.  It wasn't too crowded, though.  I no longer have my splits, but did not negatively split this one, which is unusual for me lately--I usually start every run a little slower and gradually speed up and end with a fast finish, but today I had trouble doing that.  It was 72F at 6 a.m. and I think the heat got to me.  I felt okay, but not great, and by halfway, felt like I was working harder than I should have been.  By 10 miles, I was getting tired and taking it one song at a time.  In contrast, 2 months ago I ran the soldier field 10 mile and felt great at 10 miles and wished I could have gone 3.1 more.  But it was much cooler that day. 
    According to my GPS, I ran 13.28 miles in 1:56:43, 8:47 average / mile, and I reached 13.1 miles at 1:55:25.  According to the race results, I ran 13.1 in 1:56:44, 8:55/mile average.  I'm pleased with meeting the time goal.  As far as the pace goal, the GPS says I met that goal and the race results do not, and not really sure what to believe.  I use that same Garmin for all my runs so if it is inaccurate, it hopefully has been consistently so, so I'm more inclined to go with it.  I took a little over 13 minutes off my time from my last half, and ran more than 70 sec/mile faster on average.  But, I didn't have the best run today, and I know I can do better.  So I'm happy, but there's definitely room for improvement. 
     I thought the race was a bit pricey but pretty well-organized overall, especially with starting the corrals in waves to reduce congestion.  I would do this one again.  Next up for me is the Chicago Half in September.  Thanks for reading!
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Post  fostever Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:37 pm

Good job hitting your goal, especially in the middle of the summer! The GPS always goes wacky downtown, but usually catches up and figures it out in the long run. The reason you have a bit more on the watch is you don't run the course exactly as the course is measured even running tangents, plus Garmins are not exact and never were. Never-the-less you hit that sub- 2:00 that you were looking for, way to go, Kathy!
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:49 pm

Great job and congrats - I'd consider your goal hit since the crowds and the fact that you cannot run the tangents makes up for the discrepancies.  I hear you about today's weather as I ran a half this morning as well and had a brief melt down in the 10th mile.  I, too, can contrast the experience with a 10 miler that I ran less than 2 wks after Boston where I felt like I could run the same pace (a bit faster than today) for several more miles.  It was about 55F that day with really no humidity on similar terrain.  Keep up the great work, Penelope!  Love the pen name!
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Post  Mark B Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:25 pm

Great job on the race! I wouldn't worry too much about the crowds throwing off your turns like that; you did a great job in spite of that, and hit your main time goal, despite warm conditions. Congrats!
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Post  Michael Enright Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:35 am

Nice race and well done. With a better and perhaps less crowded course in more favorable weather conditions, you would have really rocked it!
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Post  Julie Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:59 am

congratulations! Sorry the wt loss had to be under such circumstances but good for you for keeping it off and hopefully maintaining healthy habits. Great race and I look forward to hearing about your next half, maybe it will be a bit cooler then.
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Post  Chris Coleman Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:28 pm

That's a really good PB. By the official timing, you got way below your time goal; using the Garmin pace, doesn't give you the pace goal, which was a very ambitious one. I'd go with the official time; then you'll never have any niggling doubts and you'll give yourself a (slightly) better chance of further improvement next time. Well done.
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Post  KBFitz Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:24 am

Hey Kathy - long time no see.

Sorry you lost your long race report. That's happened to me a few times and it ain't no fun. But you did really well ... finishing within a minute of your time at the Philadelphia Marathon in 2007 (the last time we ran a race together). You did particularly well (relative to Phila) as conditions were warmer in Chicago and it was an RnR event, which are bloated in two ways. They're crowded and over-priced. But the RnR crew does a few things well. It measures courses accurately and times them well. Your GPS watch will almost always measure long in urban settings. So it will tell you that you've gone a little further at a little faster pace than actual. We train by it and log mileage with this in mind. But official race results are the standard when assessing actual performance.

Nicely done! It's good to have you back on the boards.
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Post  Dave-O Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:05 pm

First and foremost, well done on nailing your goal. I'm sure it feels great to see your times dropping!

GPS jumps all over the place. I don't even turn mine on every night until I'm on the lakefront. The buildings and tunnels completely block the signal. I'm sure you added a little with tangents, but the GPS was the real culprit.
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Post  Penelope Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:34 pm

Thanks so much for reading / replying!
I think it makes sense to use the official race timing and not my garmin since it was clearly off.  And that way I can compare across races and not compare inaccurate garmin readings on various days.
I am psyched for my next half marathon--I know I can do better!!!  My PR from my earlier days is about 1:52.  "About" because the course was a half mile short so I had to extrapolate based on average pace and add that on. 
I really want to go sub 1:50 but I think that may be a more realistic 2014 goal.  It is so enjoyable to see some improvements though, and I can't wait to see what else I can do!
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Post  Chris M Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:47 pm

Great progress and congrats on keeping the weight off.  Why not sub 1:50? Test that pace (8:23) with some "tempo" miles in workouts.  Start with 2 mile chunks done at 8:23.  3 x 2 miles with some slow slow recovery jogging in between is a good one to start getting used to the rigors of Half Marathon Pace.  2 x 3 miles is a better (and harder) one to then move on to.   You'll want to be able to do a 5K at under 7:30 pace and a 10K at under 8:00 pace before you tackle sub 1:50 in the half but I'll bet you'll surprise yourself if you blast away at a 5K or 10K now and might find you are already able to hit those paces.
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Post  Penelope Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:57 pm

Chris M wrote:Great progress and congrats on keeping the weight off.  Why not sub 1:50? Test that pace (8:23) with some "tempo" miles in workouts.  Start with 2 mile chunks done at 8:23.  3 x 2 miles with some slow slow recovery jogging in between is a good one to start getting used to the rigors of Half Marathon Pace.  2 x 3 miles is a better (and harder) one to then move on to.   You'll want to be able to do a 5K at under 7:30 pace and a 10K at under 8:00 pace before you tackle sub 1:50 in the half but I'll bet you'll surprise yourself if you blast away at a 5K or 10K now and might find you are already able to hit those paces.

 I think it's doable in the next 12 months, but not sure if I can do that in September.  I've only done 1 10K ever, in 49:25 in 2004, which is right around 8:00/mile pace, but that was pre-hip surgery.  While it may be doable if I lose a little more weight and keep improving, if I were to attempt that in 2013, I'd want to find a December half marathon Smile
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