Two Halves Make a Whole

Today was the 2nd half of Bakersfield’s Two Halves Makes a Whole Half Marathon.  Or would that be the second half marathon of the two halves makes a whole marathon….. Something like that….

As I stated in my previous post, my A goal was to qualify for New York by running a 1:30 half marathon. I figured if I had a perfect day, just maybe I could do it. A couple weeks ago I did the 10 miler at a 6:49 pace. If I were able to continue that pace for 3 more miles, I’d have it. Of course when I did the 10 miler, I realized that I did not have 3 more miles in me, so it was going to be iffy. My B goal would be to PR! PRs are always great. In February on the first half of this ‘Two Halves’ thing, I PR with a 1:31:37 half marathon (6:59 pace.)  The other piece of background/history pertinent here is that last November, when I ran this half of the race, I did it as my 20 mile fast finish. I ran 7 easy before the race as a warm up. Then I did the first half at marathon goal pace, and then raced the last half. My time was 1:35:19.

Last year, the race started at Yakouts Park, just West of the 99 freeway. For some reason, today the race started at Beach park, just East of the Freeway. Rather than add to the race distance at the East end, they started us heading in a Westerly direction. We ran under the freeway, through Yakouts park on the dirt, sometimes sandy trail, and then looped East on the bike path. This made the first mile kind of slow as we navigated the dirt/sand portion of the path. In order to run 1:30 I needed to average 6:52. The first mile took me 7:02, I was 10s behind already. As I turned onto the bike path I noticed a slight headwind and a slight incline. I concentrated on form but my next mile was 7:03. Hmmm, 20 seconds behind at the beginning. I really concentrated on mile 3, trying to get to that 6:52 pace. I came closer with a 6:57 – 25 seconds behind. Things has spread out and I worked my way past a guy and was almost to pass a girl, when my shoe came untied. Mile 4 was 7:13 including 10s to stop and tie it. In mile 5, I repassed the same guy and worked my way back to the girl. The hill or wind seemed tougher – 7:13. I am thinking to myself that the 1:30 is probably gone, unless I can make it all up after the turnaround. Of course, with the first mile heading West, the turnaround is not the half way point it will be closer to 8 miles, leaving me only 5 to attempt to catch up to pace. I just try to stay close. Mile 6, I caught and passed the girl and had my best mile yet – 6:53. Mile 7 – 7:05 – my total time at 49:25 puts me at least 25 seconds behind PR time… As I reach the turn around, I noticed that there was quite a gap between the runners ahead of me, and myself. The closest guy, I recognize as the tall guy who beat me last November, but whom I beat in February. At mile 8, after the turnaround I did not notice the split (7:29), but I did notice the total time was now almost a whole minute behind 7:00 pace. Feeling a bit rejuvinated by the now slight downhill, I decide to start racing like it is a 5K – even if there are 5.1 miles to go. If I fade, I fade. I see my mile 9 split at 6:09, and I think WOW, this path is steeper than I thought – another couple miles like that and New York here I come! I am slowly gaining on the tall guy – mile 10 – 7:00.  I figure that my phantom hill has flattened out. (After the race, Chuck helped me realize that there was a misplaced marker – hence the slow mile 8 and fast mile 9. The total time here at 10 miles was 1:10:04. I realized that I would have to run a 20s 5K PR for the last 5K of the race to get that NY qualifier.  But in my head, still thinking I had really run a hill or wind aided 6:09, I hold out hope. I had passed a couple of guys, but the tall guy is still out there ahead of me. Maybe as close as 50m. I know he is in my age group and I really want to catch him. I catch this other guy and we go back and forth – mile 11 6:59. OK, now I finally figure that I am not going to do 1:30, but that PR is still in play! The tall guy is still 50m ahead, he has sped up! Mile 12, The one guy and I are still jockeying for position as we pass another guy, but the tall guy might actually be pulling a little bit away – 6:52. I dig with the little bit I have left, which is not much. The guy pulls 10m ahead, the tall guy is still just 50m up there, but I am not gaining. All 3 of us pass another guy. I see my watch pass 1:30, then 1:31 as I enter the park. I give it all I have left to try to get to that finish line before another 37 seconds elapse. Mile 13 + .1 = 7:30 but all I see in 1:31:13!!

Woo Hoo!! Another PR! (later I realize that my watch is flashing between lap 13 and 27 seconds!  So my actual time is 1:31:27.  Still a PR!!  So, no NY qualifier, but I did break my PR. Looking at the course data from Garmin, It would seem that there is about a 100 foot climb heading out towards the turnaround. There were also about 4 or 5 road underpasses – each way, which went down and then back up. So, I am thinking that the February course is a faster course. I only recall 1 or 2 underpasses and I bet there is much less elevation difference in it.

Tall guy – Bart – and I both managed to place in our age division. He was 2nd and I was 3rd. He was quick to point out, however, that between us, I won the “marathon.”  My combined time would be 3:03:05 and his would be considerably higher as he did not do nearly as well back in February.  It will be interesting to look at the combined times when the become available. Watch here for an update!

OTHER RUNNERS:  Chuck, went down to race with me. He did not all out race it, however. He was more toward marathon pace for most of the way. He also added about a minute to his time with a wrong turn. He finished around 1:36. My student, Evan Ross surprised me by showing up this morning already registered for the half. He has not trained to race a half, but he finished in just under 1:40. John Kerry and John Swallow were out there finishing 1st and 2nd in their 65-69 age division.  In the accompanying 5K, which ran mixed in with the half for about 2 1/2 miles, Michael Mayes took 3rd overall and 3rd in his division! He said his time was 20:20.  When I last saw him, just after he turned around, he and another boy were fighting for the lead! Sarah Mayes won her division, but she did not know her time.

Today’s Miles 14
This Week 25
November 96
2010 2049 (includes 22 pool)

6 thoughts on “Two Halves Make a Whole

  1. Congratulations on your new PR! That was not an easy course today! You really had to dig down deep for that PR. When I saw you coming back after the turnaround you were only about 3 minutes ahead of me. At that point I was on a pace to run 1:36 so I new that a sub-1:30 was not going to happen and most likely no PR. By now I should know better then to count you out. Just like at Boston when I was tracking you on my computer and thought at 30K that you would not PR. You proved me wrong again today. You are one tough runner! Great job Dale!

    Now I understand why you run this race twice each year. The race was well organized, with an enjoyable course, not over priced, and you can register before the race. I will be back to run it again!

  2. Dale, Congrats on the PR… my fastest at B-Field was only 1:33:36 (Feb 09) out of three races. And you did the harder course! I remember Bart Vanderwal (good Dutch name)… very sad about the 1st mile in the dirt.

  3. Dale, Just wanted to say congrats again on the half marathon at sub 7 min pace. Way to finish for that PR. Now one week later go for that 5K PR!!! and 3 weeks later go for that 10K PR. YOU CAN DO IT ALL IN NOV-DEC 2010 !!!

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