On April 4, 2009 I ran in the Olathe, Kansas half-marathon (see: http://www.olathemarathon.com). My goal was to run at around an 8:30 per mile pace. I accomplished that by running an average of 8:26 per mile. You can view and replay my run at Garmin Connect (http://connect.garmin.com/activity/2941384)
This race was originally scheduled for March 28, 2009, but because of a freak snow storm the race organizers decided to postpone the half-marathon until the next Saturday. They had to cancel the marathon as they did not have the volunteer support for the full marathon course the next week. I felt bad for the marathon runners, but was glad they postponed--not canceled--the half-marathon. (Note - see their website for the various options the organizers gave marathon participants.)
I really enjoyed the race. Volunteer support was excellent. All the aid stations were run very well. I would definitely run this race again and recommend the Olathe half-marathon to other runners.
I've previously run several marathons and half-marathons. But my last race was back in November 2008. I had built a solid base of running this winter of between 30-35 miles per week. After building the base, I concentrated on extending my long run and did not do any speed work. I ran over 10 miles approximately 10 times in preparation for this race. My long runs included two runs of 14 miles, two of 15 miles, and one of 16 miles. So I felt confident that I was ready for the distance. However, since I'd not done any speed work, I didn't feel too confident in my ability to run a fast pace.
Since I'd not run a race since November 2008, I decided that in this first race of 2009, I would just concentrate on running consistently, but not shoot for a PR. So my goal was to run approximately an 8:30 average pace (my PR pace is 8:18) and finish around 1 hour 51 minutes.
Race morning was in the low 40s, but very windy (gusts 20-25 MPH). I had a chocolate donut, a trail mix bar, and coffee for breakfast. I drove over to the Garmin headquarters in Olathe. Garmin sponsored the race and the start/finish line were there.
The wind was from the east, so from my understanding of the course I figured most of the first half of the race we would have the wind at our backs, but on the second half we'd mostly be running into the wind. So I adjusted my race plan to run faster the first half of the race to give myself a cushion during the second half.
The race started at 7:00 am with a loud cannon boom. The first few miles we ran west to the Great Mall of the Great Plains and then around some roads to the SW of the city. As I'd anticipated, the wind was at our backs for most of these first-half miles and I ran my fastest splits (see below). Everything went well and I didn't have any problems.
Around mile 4 or so we headed into some neighborhoods and then into downtown Olathe. I took a Gu during mile 6. After getting to downtown, we turned back to the east and we're now running into the wind. Additionally, there were a few more hills in this second half.
Somewhere in mile 6 I noticed that the bottom of my left foot was hurting. It was painful each step, but not too bad. I figured that unless it got signicantly worse, I'd just keep going. It never did get worse, but I felt some pain for most of the race from then on.
Around mile 10, I started getting a little tired from the wind and my pace slowed somewhat. I kept looking for the mile 11 marker, as I wanted to pick my pace back up for the last two miles. I never did see that marker. After realizing I must I've missed the mile 11 marker, I checked my Garmin and saw I only had 1.5 miles to go. I was able to pick my pace up, but was still feeling a little tired. Mile 12 was my slowest mile, primarily due to lack of concentration. I was able to get back close to my race pace for mile 13.
In the last half-mile , we circled around the Garmin headquarters and then made a right turn back into the wind for the last .2 miles. The wind was fierce, so I just couldn't muster a strong sprint to the finish.
Splits Per My Garmin 405
After the Race
Finishers got a nice small medal. There was plenty of food and even free beer from Kansas City's Boulevard Brewing company.
I need to work on improving my speed and continue to build my long runs up for a possible marathon in late Spring/early Summer. I would recommend the Olathe half-marathon to other runners. The organizers and volunteers did a great job especially considering that the race had to be postponed.
My next race is the Lawrence half-marathon on April 19, 2009 (see: http://kansasmarathon.com)
I'm limping and still feel the pain on the bottom of my heel on my left foot. Hopefully that will go away soon and I'll be back to running in a day or two.