Sunday, December 20, 2015

Space Coast Half Marathon Race Recap

I’m so far behind on anything regarding my blog, but I refer back to my race recaps often. So even though there are two other races I haven’t recapped yet, I’m going to do this one while it’s still somewhat fresh in my mind and then I’ll go back and do the others! 

Last weekend was the Space Coast Half Marathon in Cocoa, Florida.  I ran this race in 2013 and really enjoy it (recap can be found here) and was pretty bummed to miss it last year (didn’t have enough time to train after having ABS). I pretty much stuck to my training plan for this race really well, until our vacation. I did get in some good runs while on vacation, but none were that long. Since coming home, I only got in two longish runs of 6 and 8 miles, and gained about 10 lbs (on vacation) so I wasn’t in as best of shape as I was hoping to be for this race. Granted, I knew I was in much better shape than I was for my last half in February,Disney Princess Half where I PR’d at 2:35:24 and set my goal at 2:17-2:22. Training through the summer really helped since the heat helps build endurance!

Before the race, I was trying to determine what kind of intervals I was going to run. I had been experimenting with a bunch of different ones (3/1, 4/1, 3/:30, etc) throughout my training. One of my MRTT friends suggested I look at the pacing groups and I saw that there was going to be a 2:15pace group running 1:30/:30, which is essentially the same thing as my “typical” 3/1s. So I made the decision that I would start with the pace group and run my 3/1’s and keep them in my eyesight, but to stay ahead of the 2:20 pace group.

G was also running this race, although hadn’t ran in 2 months because he got sick, so wasn’t in great shape to be running at all. We got a hotel on Cocoa Beach the night before and went to bed really early and drove over to the start around 5am. Which was way better than driving the 1.5hrs the same morning! In 2013, we had local sleeping arrangements as well, and we liked how easy it was in the morning, so we decided to do that again. We met up with some friends and my local MRTT group for some pre-race pictures. By that point I had already drank 2 bottles of water and really had to pee, but the port-o-potty lines were so long (the marathon was scheduled to start 30 minutes after the half so there were still a ton of runners – and spectators – hanging around). There was no way I was going to make the start of the race if I went to the bathroom, so i held it. G and I split up to start since I was trying to PR and he wasn’t. I found a few of my MRTT friends to start with in the 2:15group and we were on our way to start. 

Since we were all running differently, we pretty much separated within the first few minutes. Since I always start way too fast (yea, I need to work on that) I passed the 2:15 pace group and got ahead to 2:10 pace group in first mile. Because I never made it to the bathroom, as mentioned above, I had to stop and pee when I saw the first set of port-o-pottys. I did the same thing last year, and complained about the same thing in that recap too. If I didn’t have to go so bad, I would have waited until the next set of port-o-pottys as those ended up with no line and the 1st set had a line. I swear I don’t know what was taking these folks so long, but it was at LEAST a solid 2 minutes of waiting. When I got back out there, I realized I was behind the 2:20 pace group and really pushed it to get back between 2:10-2:15 pace group, which I did by mile 3 or 4. From there on, I just kept running my 3/1's (although sometimes shortening my walks if the 2:15 group was getting too close lol). I started to really get close to the 2:15 paces groups (there were two, one doing intervals and one running straight, that kept playing leap frog with each other). By mile 10 I said, ok I'll drop and run with the 2:15 pacers (1:30/:30) as it was getting annoying (and tiring) to keep cutting my walks short because they were gaining on me. I was obviously not running – or walking – as fast as I had in the beginning so they kept playing leap frog with me, which would have been fine, but both pace groups were rather large and congested so if I didn’t stay ahead of them, they got in my way. However, very quickly, by mile 11 I realized I definitely needed my full minute walk. Their 30 seconds power walks just weren’t doing it for me and so I fell a little behind them and went back to 3/1's for the remainder of the race, albeit a bit slower. I ended just about a minute behind the pacers and beat my goals and established a new Personal Record of 2:15:59! Considering I never made it past 10 miles in my training, and hardly ran the 2 weeks between getting back from vacation and the race, and still beat my goal, I was (and still am) very ecstatic with my finish time!  The best part was, my MRTT friends were volunteering and the finish line, and they got to put my medal around my sweaty neck! 

The course was the same as it was in the past and despite being a little warmer than I was hoping for, the weather felt beautiful. I think it was in the 60’s when we started. I never once used my sunglasses, and my tank and capris were perfect for the temperatures! I love how involved the residents of Cocoa are along the course. There were a ton of fuel stops and lots of volunteers passing things out and cheering us on. Running up the intercostal is always a really nice way to watch the sun rise! I definitely plan to do this race again next year and hopefully set another PR.

My Stats:
Official Chip Time: 02:15:59 (overall pace of 10:23)
Place: 722 of 3308 finishers
Place: 363 of the 2314 Women Finishers
Place: 33 of 250 in my Women’s Age Division (30-34)
5k Split: 33:11
10k Split: 1:04:00
15k Split: not listed, must have missed the timing mat

My RunKeeper stats (which accounts for the zigzagging, run off to the bathroom, etc.):
13.44 miles in 2:16:02 (overall pace of 10:07)
Mile Splits:
Mile 1: 9:59
Mile 2: 11:46 (bathroom break)
Mile 3: 9:55
Mile 4: 9:25 (fastest mile, which ironically was my fastest mile when I ran this race in 2013)
Mile 5: 9:46
Mile 6: 9:49
Mile 7: 9:42
Mile 8: 10:05
Mile 9: 10:01
Mile 10: 10:08
Mile 11: 9:48
Mile 12: 10:26
Mile 13: 10:57
.44 mile: 9:41

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