This past Sunday, I ran the 2012 Morgan Hill Marathon + Half … the half marathon distance, of course (I’m saving my first marathon experience for something more tropical.) The race was actually three races in one event: a marathon, half marathon, and a 5K; and was the third and final race in the 2012 CA Marathon Series.
The weather was perfect: clear and cool at the start (for the first 2 miles, my hands were COLD!), with the temps gradually rising as the morning went on (I dumped two cups of water at the mile 8 and 10 aid stations on my head to cool off.) I’m sure it warmed up more later in the day for the marathon runners, but I was gone by 1030.
The half marathon course was a loop through several sections of Morgan Hill: town, rural, and residential. As the name indicates, the course was not flat; though it wasn’t like running in the mountains. The min and max elevations were ~327′ and 681′ respectively, with most of the uphill climbs in the first 7 miles. Really, the climbs on the half course were gradual – with the exception of two at the 4.6 and 6.6 marks. After the second climb, runners were “treated” to the downhill portion, which was about a 300′ decent over .6 miles. After that, it was mostly flat with one final “hill” thrown in for good measure. I’m sure the scenery was nice, but I pretty much zone out when I run – though I did take notice of Chesbro Reservoir and some of the nicer parts of the rural portion.
Course volunteers were EXCELLENT! They gave clear directions (which was critical since the marathon runners left and rejoined the half runners twice) and the aid station support was fantastic (it’s always nice to have someone yelling where the water and sports drinks are and even the flavors of GU so runners get what they need/want.) I usually don’t take water at aids, but did this time to co0l off (dumping water on my head) – both “hand-offs” I had were perfect!
The finish line had a great supply of water, sports drink, and food (including breakfast burritos, though I just can’t see myself enjoying one after a half); as well as a few vendors. It was a great venue and there were a lot of friends and families hanging out – basically making a day of it. I didn’t stay for the awards, but it looked like it was set up pretty nice with plenty of chairs for people to sit in and hang out.
The Morgan Hill Half was a great race. As I mentioned above, it is actually part of a three-race series. The cool part was that for completing at least two of the three races, runners got a series medal (I actually ran all three):
- Garmin time: 1:48:06 at an 8:11/mile pace
- Official time: 1:48:10 at an 8:15/mile pace
(which was my official time for the San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll half!)
So, my race plan was all about working toward Honolulu and prepping myself for that race’s goal/plan with regard to pacing strategy. With that in mind, the race goal on my training plan was 1:55:30. I revised the plan to 1:50:00 on Saturday night based on reviewing the course, the terrain, and, quite frankly, my desire to get closer to a new PR (which meant throwing out the base race plan) – 1:50 seemed like a good compromise.
As you can see, I ended up with a decent time that beat my goals. Since my normal training routes include gradual hills similar to those on the Morgan Hill half route, the hills were not as difficult as I’d expected. I’m not saying they were a breeze; but, training and pacing paid off, and I was able to run the hills at a steady pace without stopping. Though I did “pause” a few times after mile 10 – pause meaning stop, immediately walk for about 10 seconds, then resume running. I’ve found that a quick “reset” like this helps me out when I start feeling tired or need to just slow my pace (I can’t seem to simply slow down while “at pace.”)
Not one to take too many photos during races, here are a few from the race:
Pre-race & race-day fuel: Same as usual – 48-hour carb loading period (at +550 calories/day and at a carb level greater than 80% each day) and 6 GUs and 20oz of GU Brew on race day.
Bottom line: Great day. Had fun. Ended with very good race results. Pacing strategy is getting better. I am feeling confident for Honolulu!
Post-race meal: After the race, I went to Famous Dave’s for lunch with the Fam. The photo below is the “after” shot from my 6-bone St. Louis-style rib plate with Wilbur Beans, broccoli, and a corn muffin! Of course, I chased it all with a grande, mocha Frappuccino (no whip) later that day…!
Training Journal – 11/1/12:
- Current plan: Honolulu Marathon Training Plan
- Today’s session: 5 mile easy run @ 9:09
- Comments: I did 5.5 at 8:09 – in a light rain…BOOYAH!