Wednesday, March 2, 2011

First race of 2011, within seconds.......

20 Feb 11- Seoul Korea-

Well to start off the 2011 season I set out to run a half marathon up in Seoul. One of the best days weather wise to have race for this part of the year, so the day started out great with awesome weather. The morning was a little chilly and down in the 40's but by the end of the race I think we may have reached low 50's with a light wind. Training has been going good up to this point, thanks to having a great coach and structure in my training. I will blog more about how the whole being coached online is sometime in the near future.

I went into the race with a plan that coach had laid out and if executed properly I could PR by a few seconds. I looked at this as being a little optimistic for this early in the season and wanted to just put in a solid workout, which meant executing the plan. I went out nice and "slow" for the first 5K and sped up throughout the remained of the race. I ran with a Korean lady who normally wins the female overall title at a majority of the half marathon races. I stuck with her till the half way point, just by coincidence. This is when I started feeling good and was able to drop down to where I needed to be. I missed my mark at the 15K split by about 25 seconds, and knew the next 5K was where I was going to make some money on people. I had paced right and felt good going into the last 5K. Then came the wall, no not the normal wall that hits during a marathon but the wall of people.

Korea is known for having many races on one course, remember back to when I got lost ;) Well they had a 10K, 1/2 Marathon, 32K and Full Marathon all on the same running path along the Han River. The 32K/Full went out the opposite direction but ended up coming back in our direction on the same out and back section we had ran on. So we had 32K/Full runners head at us and then the best part was the 10K runners who were say 55:00 to 1:05 pace 10K'ers running with us. All on what you could possibly squeeze 4 people in each lane and maybe one skinny guy down the middle. Well in Korea I wouldn't consider myself skinny, so trying to squeeze down the middle lane was where the fun began. For the last 5K I had to fight traffic in both directions and avoid hitting people coming at me and avoiding to run over people moving with me, but at a slower pace.

Lets just say the last 5K I did not run the pace I needed to to execute the plan, could I of if there wasn't a human traffic jam for the last 5K? Who knows, but what I do know is that if I would of seen someone from my race within striking distance I would have ran them down. So to the next point, the course was so crowded I had no clue where anyone was. I knew I was sitting in the top 10 but couldn't see anyone identifiable in front of me from my race. There was way too many 10Kers to identify if there was a half person ahead. Long story short, I missed 5th place by 6 seconds and 4th by 26 seconds. Could I of ran down 4th? Who knows, but I am pretty sure I would of caught that guy that was 6 seconds up. What did I miss out on? A pretty cool trophy and a $200 fuji digital camera :( What to do differently next time, run hard the whole way so you can't complain about missing top 5 by 6 seconds.

Time- 1:20:34
Pace- 6:09min/mil

Everything is about the experience and what you gain from it, so missing that by 6 seconds was a great learning experience that I will remember for awhile. Below are some pictures of the race courtesy of Michael Onofray, who was kind enough to take pictures and cheer us on instead of tearing up the race course. Congrats to my new friend Jason Brosseau on his first race in Korea and his first win in Korea! He runs for the AF Marathon and Cross Country Team and is out here for a few weeks working. It is amazing how small the AF is as we both have a lot of the same friends and know a lot of the same people.

Pre Race pics
Trying to look over and see if a guy that was running "fast" was a 10Ker or half marathoner. He was only a 10Ker.
Coming down the finishing chute. Olypmic Stadium track!

Drinking some Hammer Recoverite and working on my tan. Some French dude later told me to put my shirt on because it wasn't poper. Where in the world are people not tanning in February, I thought 50 degrees and sunny was ideal temps for it ;) Needless to say I respected my elder and put my shirt back on. He did however beat me in the race and is probably in his 50's. When I congratulated after the race he acted like he didn't understand me, but he sure spoke clear English when telling me to put my shirt on.

Post race talk with Norah the Great! She told off the French dude when I was grabbing my shirt to put back on. Wish I would of stuck around to listen to him get chewed out by her. Thanks Norah for having my back!

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