The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

MS Run 2011 - Half Marathon - Race Report

This was my "A" race for the year (get it done with early, before the summer get's too busy).

The Goal: 1:38 (which, to me technically means up to 1:38:59.9, despite having previously declared 1:38 flat).

The Plan:
1. Train Hard (Hal Higdon's Advanced Half-Marathon Plan)
2. Lose 10 pounds (through self-moderation).

Training Report Card: B+
I did most of the training runs, particularly the difficult Tuesday speed workouts. I wussed on some of the prescribed interim races: 5K, 10K and 15K and swam on Saturdays and helped with "Learn to Run", instead of the scheduled, "race-pace" runs; but overall I hit the Sunday long run targets, and controlled my speed. I intentionally missed runs if I felt even hints of overuse or strains.

Weight Loss Report Card: D
I took off only 2.3 pounds of the desired 10. And, honestly, that was probably more a fluke than anything else.

The Run Report Card: A-
To hit my goal, I would need to average 4:39 / km pace the whole way. The first K went by pretty good. I didn't feel too fast, in fact, I was somewhat worried I was too slow - but it was closer to 4:30 so that was good (in a way). Whenever, I'm too far under-budget on a race, I worry that I'm burning all my matches too soon, and whether or not that will come back to haunt me later. Kms 2 to 8 were all way under budget, so much so that I thought I might end up with a 10K PB (sub 45). I managed to slow myself down (well the rolling hills past the Power Dam did that for me). Things started to get a little tough around 10K and through the turnaround, I was losing momentum big time, and getting that "why the heck am I doing this" feeling.

Around 15K I was losing the mental battle - and started doing the math in my head --- "6K to go, if I drop to 5' pace, I'll still be sub 1:45 - that's respectable." And then I thought about those Tuesday speed workouts, and said, "I don't want all that crap to have been in vain". So I kept pushing. With about 4K to go, I got picked up by 2 people (the first time I had been passed since the start of the run). I hung on with them for about 500 meters, but then "checked out" mentally again.


I kind of lost track of the time, for the last 2K, and it was only as I approached the finish from 200 meters away, I could see the clock... my precious 1:38:xx time was an actual possibility. I pretty much sprinted as much as I could (probably looking like a bafoon as I passed some of the 38 minute 5K runners). Just as I hit the mat, I noticed the clock rolled over to 1:39:00.

Well, I was pretty happy. For silly reasons, I held on to the hope that maybe my chip registered at 1:38:59.9; but alas, the results have me at 1:39:00.4. For the record - I am very happy with that, and personally proud of the 3 minute PB I had (the weather conditions were very favourable this year too).  ...but I just can't help wondering, "what-if".... What if I'd started 5 feet closer to the start line, what if I'd pushed a little harder around 15K, what if I'd held on to the 2 runners that passed me for a second longer... Oh! Running is Cruel to the Mind!


File this under "Do as I say, not as I do":  the week prior to the run, I ordered a new pair of shoes online. They arrived Friday afternoon. My first run in them was the race. I don't recommend this. (But, in my defence, they were identical to the last 3 pairs of shoes I have used, so I was pretty sure they would be okay).

Les Splits: