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Race Report: Hyannis Half Marathon

February 22, 2009

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

or “Plan the race, race the plan.”

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Let the 2009 racing season begin internet people! This morning was the first race of the season and my first stand alone half marathon ever. The weather report was sketchy all week and had me checking a half dozen Web sites several times per day. Reports went back and forth from predicting rain or snow (I was rooting for snow because there are few things worse than mid 30’s and raining). This morning the forecast finally turned to rain, but not until the afternoon. With a 10am start time, it would give me just enough time to cross the line safely before the downpours started. WOOT. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Sam and I drove down to Cape Cod bright and early. I sucked down a GU about 45 minutes before race time and all lights went green. Game On.

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Me walking to the starting line. I look pretty angry, but I guess that is what my “Game Face” looks like.

Shivering Hyannis Starting Line

I’m all bundled up and still shivering, but people are still rocking shorts? Seriously?!?

Hyannis adjusting tights

The all important last minute, err.., adjustments.

Since I had already departed from my faithful “play it by ear” race strategy with a mile-by-mile outline of my goal mile splits, I decided to keep with the trend and tape the mile splits to my arm. I covered it in clear tape just in case it started to rain. Since my running fitness has come a LONG way since the last time that I raced, I didn’t have a clear idea yet of what I’m capable of, and I laid out pretty conservative goals, I only planned on using each split as a general estimate and went on perceived exertion more than actual pace.

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The Game Plan

As planned, I took the first 6 miles nice and easy, but every time I looked down at my watch I was about 45 seconds faster per mile than I had planned. Instead of 9:30’s, I was hitting around 8:45’s. I second guessed my pace for a while and thought about slowing down to low 9’s but I decided that listening to my body made a lot more sense than sticking to (relatively) arbitrary numbers that I had laid out days ahead of time. I stuck with it and comfortably hit mile after mile in the high 8 min/mile pace range without working myself too hard.

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I’m not in this pic, but I really like the blur of the runners. It looks pretty cool.

Despite being a little cold at the start, I warmed right up once I settled in to a good pace. The course was really nice too. It was SUPER flat and made a few twists and turns through little residential neighborhoods, with only one section along a busy street that was a little sketchy. There were rumors that there were some easy rollers throughout the course, which ended up being all lies, but it was a nice course nonetheless.  At a few points we passed by the shore so we got a nice view of the ocean and got a really nice sea breeze to keep us moving on. It is strange how the smell of stinky sea weed and fish can some how make me associate with happy thoughts. I can’t wait until summer comes and I can go hang out on the beach on Cape Cod when it isn’t 30 degrees outside. Again, I digress…

Right after mile 6, I caught up with one of my Wheelworks teammates and chatted it up a bit. At that point I was just starting to pick up the pace and increase my turnover. We traded game plans and while she wasn’t planning to go all out until the last 3.1 miles, she eventually came with me and we traded places with each other throughout the rest of the race. We had never raced together, but it was great to have that carrot dangling in front of me to keep my pace up if I started to slow down.

Right at about mile 10, I passed Team Hoyt and gave a little cheer as I chugged along. If you haven’t read or seen any videos about Dick and Rick Hoyt, check out this one. They have an amazing story and it was a huge inspiration to see them on the same course as me (and 4,000 other runners) letting it all out

The last two miles were pretty brutal. It was rough just to keep my form together, but my pace still held up pretty strong and I was able to knock down runner after runner with no problem at all. Granted, a good chuck of them were probably finishing the first loop of the full marathon, but the plan was definitely working and I was able to really knock out a solid pace while everyone else was struggling just to hang on.

Hyannis half marathon finish 2009

“I crown thee: Half Marathoner”

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I’m in there somewhere I think I’m completely covered by that guy in the blue shirt.

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Looking like a hot mess just after the finish line, but totally psyched to have rocked the race plan.

According to my watch I clocked in at 1:50:30 (8:26 min/mile avg), safely under my goal for the race. I’d post my mile splits, but I don’t remember them. My avg HR was 159 and maxed at 180.

Overall the commute/warmup/race plan worked pretty well. Looking back, my paces needed some tweaking, but it is always nice to surprise yourself by going faster than expected instead of slower.  2009 is going to be an awesome year. I smell PRs in the air. Stay tuned internet people.

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15 comments

  1. Way to rock it!! Great race!


  2. Awesome job, you kicked some serious A!!

    Love the video of the Hoyts too – they are so inspiring.


  3. Awesome race!!! Such a great feeling when you’re not really/kinda/sorta sure what to expect, and you blow it out of the water! It’s gonna be a great season for you! maybe your pre-race scowl scared your sneakers and they said, heck, we better run fast!


  4. Nice!! Congrats. I’ve only done one 1/2 alone and that was the New Bedford Half Marathon. Good Luck on your season.


  5. Awesome job and way to have a plan! Piece of Cake!


  6. Congrats on a great race! That was a great event…I might have to come back next year and do the half.


  7. Way to run, and beat your own projected time! Congrats on toughing out the last 5K of the race and the chilly, windy day.

    I’m glad you saw some WWMS teammates and the Hoyts. Always good to see that you’re not the only crazy one who’s been training through the winter!

    Cheers, -Sunny


  8. That is awesome.

    PR’s don’t come easy. You should be proud of the work that you’ve put in.

    Great Job!


  9. Great job on your first half-marathon! I love reading your race reports. And what an excellent surprise to run it so much faster than you thought you would 🙂


  10. Great way to start off the new year! Congrats!


  11. JAMIE! What a fantastic way to start of the season! you did great! congrats on a PR! this is gonna be a great year for you!


  12. I am SO excited you pulled off such a great race! Your time/pace was fantastic and love your strategy. Now you have your baseline to keep improving on. Love the pics and very cool that you got to see Team Hoyt!! p.s. you better have taken Sam out for a nice dinner to thank her for being out there in the cold to support you 🙂 Hope to meet her at Rev3!!


  13. I enjoyed reading this… Hyannis this past weekend was my first half marathon as well and I ran 1:50:36- almost the same time! Who knows, we probably ran near each other during some of the race. Good work. I’m pretty pumped too as my goal was to go under 2hrs. What are your running goals/plans from here?

    -ash


  14. Congrats! This was great to read, and I’m so glad you had an awesome race! I wish I had been there. You’ve motivated me to make sure I’m there next year!


  15. Congrats on the great 1/2! What an accomplishment! And that is pretty awesome that Team Hoyt was there!! Holy cow they are inspirational.

    Happy running 🙂 Chloe



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