Race Report: 2014 Carlsbad Half Marathon

Posted on Jan 19, 2014 under Race | No Comment


Looks like I’m making it a habit to run this race ever other year. When I ran it in 2010, it was my 2nd half marathon and it is still my fastest half to date at 1:28. I ran it again in 2012 and ran a decent time of 1:34:08. I just realized now that I just barely beat that time today at 1:34:01! Here are the official results: Miles 1-7: 51:43 (7:23 min/mile), Miles 8-13.1: 42:19 (6:50 min/mile), Finish: 1:34:01 (7:08 min/mile), AG: 21/304, Overall: 217/7,256. The strategy was pretty simple (although still hard to accomplish): run with the 1:40 pacer for 7-8 miles and then pick up the pace for the rest of the race. But the last time I ran a half was in June 2013 and then I broke my hand and stopped doing anything for about 2 months before getting back into running. Like always, the training program wasn’t very focused; just run as often as possible (mostly 3-milers 3-4 days a week) and get some long runs in. I never really broke 8:30 pace during any of those runs!

I officially registered for the Carlsbad Half Marathon on 10/27/2013, which was the first day of my training for that race. But three months is more than enough time to train, I just wasn’t as strict in my program, I usually averaged anywhere from 10-20 miles a week and the pace was very, very slow! I was just trying to stay in shape and make sure I get my long runs in on the weekend, which I did (12-miler few weeks ago). What always scares me is that my body isn’t used to running at such a fast pace; what makes me think I can do it for 13.1 miles? I still don’t know the answer to that question and I take that risk every time I step on the starting line. But I did start to play soccer on Mondays with coworkers, so that sort of counts as interval training, right!?

carlsbad half pace chart

I was debating whether to run with the 1:40 pacer or the 1:35. I didn’t even know if I would be able to run sub 8-minute pace, so I decided to go with the slightly more conservative pace of 7:38 min/mile. But once we started the race, I noticed we were going a little bit faster than expected, but that sort of evened out when we slowed down on the uphills. I was surprised at how comfortable I felt going at that pace, there were times where I sort of picked it up only to turn my head and see the pacer slightly behind which caused me to take a step back. It was definitely an encouraging feeling. I did some calculations the night before and in order to hit a goal time of 1:35 after running 1:40 pace for the first 8 miles, I’d needed to run low 7’s for the last 5 miles, which I thought was impossible! But since I felt so comfortable during the first 7 miles, it looked more like a reality.

I decided to make my move at mile 7. I wanted to thank the pacer for doing such a great job, it always makes running a race easier when you don’t really have to worry about your pacing and just follow a guy. There were actually a few runners near the pacer the first few miles but took off ahead on their own. I actually wanted to go with them, but didn’t think that would turn out well for me. Once we hit the mile marker, I started to pick up the pace, too much actually! Mile 8 turned out to be 6:48, way faster than my previous splits (fastest of the day, actually). I’m just glad that didn’t tire me out for the rest of the race. I was able to hold a sub-7 minute pace for the last 6 miles of the race, which is amazing. I was so surprised when I saw the 1:35 pacer up ahead with about 2 miles left to go. I actually surged just to catch him. I thought I was just going to finish the race with him, but I still felt good and just passed him shortly after catching up. It worked out since I was able to run a whole minute faster since I didn’t stay with him!

I have this habit of grunting or exhaling very loudly at random parts of a race. There’s usually is at least one person that looks at me to see what that was. There was about 1.5 miles left in the race and I felt like I was running out of gas so I let out a huge sigh. Even though I had my music playing, I heard a guy tell me to keep it up. It’s always nice to get encouragement from other runners, especially during a race. I decided to run with him for the rest of the race and I ended up staying at the same pace (if not faster). The finish to a race always shows how tired I really am, did I have a kick or did I just jog it in? Looking at my pace chart, you can see that I did sprint to the finish line (but to be transparent, it did finish at a slight downhill..)

carlsbad half splits

Soreness kicked in literally the second I crossed the finish line (as long as it doesn’t happen during the race, I’m fine with that). I had a late lunch and was pretty tired for the rest of the day, but couldn’t fall asleep when I tried to take a nap. I’m hoping I don’t get sick like I have been getting after some of my long runs. I will also be running in my 4th Chinatown Firecracker 10K race next month, probably with my siblings and nephew like last year. It’s a fun run because it’s with family, but it’s also with some other runners who are always trying to beat me, so I guess I’ll have to stay in shape/train for that one too. But it shouldn’t be too hard and I should have more time to bike this time around!


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