Since my next half is in the morning, less than 12 hours away, I’m going to try and knock out this report really quickly.
There were a bunch of reasons why I chose to do London’s Run instead of another race last Saturday. First, the half marathon was the longest distance being run. Sometimes when doing a half that’s associated with a full, I feel like the half gets overshadowed by the full. Second, the race started one hour later at 8am instead of 7am. Third, the course was a loop (instead of out-and-back) and I liked the idea of running around a farm. And finally, it was for a great cause.
Here are some snippets from the London’s Run website:
“London Solomon was a courageous six year old girl who fought a brave and cheerful fight against an aggressive type of leukemia (AML). Her grace still inspires all of us to take advantage of each new day without fear of doing hard things and cherishing our relationships with each other.
The butterfly was chosen as the logo for London’s Run because it represents the changes one makes as they go through the cancer experience. For London, her cocoon was the treatment and the months spent in isolation. During her treatment we saw her grow and change from a little innocent girl to one with a greater sense of appreciation for life and family, self and fun! When one emerges from cancer treatment they are more refined and beautiful – and ready to take flight. So it was with London.
We salute cancer survivors everywhere who emerge changed in subtle but important ways ready to take flight and make more of the life they knew before cancer. The butterfly reminds the rest of us that we can watch on with wonder and learn from the privilege we have in rubbing shoulders with the special people in our lives who are touched by cancer.
In January 2006, the first London’s Run was made possible by the caring support of Queen Creek residents as a benefit event for London’s family. London’s Run is a great day for accomplished and beginning runners alike to compete on a flat course, paved and unpaved, through the peaceful farming community of Queen Creek. The proceeds will go to children’s charities and Queen Creek families who are walking the same path the Solomons did.”
The event was great, but personally the race didn’t go that well for me. It all began when I left the house 15 minutes later than I planned. Which would have been fine if traffic hadn’t been really backed up trying to get into the farm where the race was held. Once I parked, I was scrambling to get everything done… pick up my packet, stop at the port-a-potty, pin on my race number, and make sure I had everything I needed to carry with me on the course.
I had a moment of panic when my Garmin wouldn’t turn on, but thankfully I remembered how to reset it. Then the low battery message appeared, but there was nothing I could do so I just figured I’d wear it until it died. Luckily the battery actually lasted through the entire race.
I was still trying to put on and adjust my fuel belt and iPod as I walked over to the start line with about a minute to spare. I got distracted because I noticed that one of the foam things on my iPod earbuds had fallen off and I didn’t even hear the announcement for the start of the race. I just saw people moving forward and joined in with the crowd.
We’ve been getting a lot more rain than usual lately in the Phoenix area and the roads were muddy for the first couple miles of the course. There were basically just two single lane paths to follow unless you wanted to stray into the mud. This made it hard to pass anyone during those first couple miles.
Although I didn’t have a firm plan in place, I knew I’d be doing some combination of walking and running. After the first mile I kept running because there didn’t seem to be any way for me to walk without getting in someone’s way. The crowd began to thin out during the third mile, but I decided to keep running.
- Mile 1 – 10:25
- Mile 2 – 10:12
- Mile 3 – 11:12
Looking back this was probably a bad idea. In the past I’ve had problems with my feet getting tingly and numb while running. It hasn’t happened since I started running again in December. But that morning I could feel it starting to come on during the third mile. It actually wasn’t that bad until I stopped for a walk break and then both feet just suddenly went numb. I ended up walking for the next two miles until the sensation went away.
- Mile 4 – 13:59
- Mile 5 – 15:32
Luckily I didn’t have any further problems the rest of the race, but I already knew that with those two slow miles I’d be finishing in over 2:30 and wasn’t feeling any desire to push myself at all. It was definitely more like a long training run than a race. Especially after the crowd thinned out and the course widened, I somehow found myself at an in between spot and for a long time I couldn’t see any other runners out on the course. At least it was a nice day!
Here are a couple other course photos:
There were also signs placed throughout the course reminding us of why we were running.
The rest of my splits:
- Mile 6 – 11:00
- Mile 7 – 11:16
- Mile 8 – 10:24
- Mile 9 – 13:00
- Mile 10 – 10:45
- Mile 11 – 13:29
- Mile 12 – 11:20
- Mile 13 – 13:24
- Last .16 miles – 1:37 (9:53 pace)
As you can see, I was all over the place! If I could redo one thing about the race, I think it would be to stick with a consistent run/walk pattern. Especially since the course was pancake flat it would have been easy to do. As far as I can remember, this was the flattest half marathon course I’ve ever run with absolutely no dips anywhere at all.
Eventually I made it to the end and even got a nice race photo. I’m actually thinking about buying this one.
My official time was 2:39:51, a 12:07 pace. I was 53/59 in my age group, and 488 out of 522 overall. It’s not a horrible time, but I would have liked to come in under 2:30. That’s sort of my general target goal since I usually don’t have a specific time in mind. Unfortunately there were no finisher’s medals, but I did get a participant ribbon. And ultimately, the race was a nice reminder to just be happy that I’m healthy enough to complete a half marathon.