Thursday, December 19, 2013

LVTC Holiday Half Race preview

The 1st annual LVTC Holiday Half Marathon takes place on December 21, 2013. Here’s a little race plan and preview.

The Course

Although the course is an out-and-back originating at Equestrian Park in Henderson, it’s certainly no walk in the park, even if you completely bonk at mile 10 and roll down the hill to the finish line. I mapped it out on so I could get the elevation profile, which was unnecessary since I used to ride my bike there three or four times per week.

Throw in the fact that I work less than five minutes away, running the course was no problem. It starts at Equestrian Park and goes up hill for 2.2 miles. Not a crazy up hill, but steady and relatively steep. It then heads down for 4.35 miles, at which point one must turn around or risk running up the Three Sisters, which could lead to extreme pain.

The course begins at 2083 feet, goes up to 2310 at about 2.2 miles, shoots down to 1717 at the turnaround and then goes back.

The Plan and the Goal

There are some steep hills—up and down. My uphill pace needs to be 8:30. My downhill pace needs to be 7:30 to reach my goal time of 1:45. I actually think I can do it faster.

I did a practice run a couple Saturdays before the race, attempting to mimic the last 6.55 miles. I did a three mile jog downhill and then started a 4.35-mile climb, followed by a 2.2-mile descent, finishing in 52:15. If I could run the last half of the race in 52: 15, I’d shatter the 1:45 mark.

However, I ran part of the course twice, and the hills on the actual course are steeper than the hills on my practice course. I did a 6.5-mile run on the course last Friday, giving a decent effort over what would be miles 10, 11, 12. I ran a pretty steep mile 10 in 8:17. It was a steady, straight steep. Mile 11, on the other hand, was much more difficult. I ran it in 8:53. Mile 12 was fun. I did it in 7:00 flat.

The grade was 3% on the two uphill miles, although the second one seemed a lot steeper. There is a stretch, the first 1.5 miles after the turnaround, that’s steeper.

I’m going to shoot for an 8:45 pace on the 4-mile uphill stretch at the turnaround and a 7:15 4-mile stretch on the same downhill.

The Training

I have done 51 long runs this year (10 miles or more). I’ve done 24 long runs since September 1. I did nine in November and three in the first 10 days of December. The half marathon distance, therefore, is not at all intimidating. For that reason, I’m focused on finishing fast.

I usually go out conservatively and cruise to the finish line, passing hundreds the last half. I negative split my last half marathon and my last marathon. I enjoyed those two races, setting prs in both. I’m not going out conservatively this time. I’m starting fast and finishing fast. If I crash and burn, I crash and burn. I need to really see what I’m capable of doing.

Final Thoughts

I’d like to point out I’ve set prs in the 5k, 5-mile and 10k distances over the past month-and-a-half. I fully intend on shattering my prs in the 10-mile and half marathon distance, despite the crazy hills.

By the way, happy holidays from my clan!

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