04 May 2014

Labor of Love half marathon

I ran the Labor of Love half marathon yesterday morning.  It was at Lovell Canyon Canyon just west of Las Vegas. It was another quality event put on by Calico Racing and had distances of 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, 50K and 50 miles available for a wide variety of runners.  This was an add-on race for me at the end of season and was run for two reason: a) it was free due to volunteer credit with Calico Racing and b) it was half marathon number three of four in my Calico Half Slam.

The race started at 7:30 and I arrived at 6:45 for packet pick-up.  I parked at the designated parking area and caught to the shuttle to the start line.  Packet pick went smoothly and I stashed my new race shirt in my bag.  After that, I slipped on my Hokas and reached into my bag for my bib belt.  Small problem - no bib belt.  This was a simple fix and I went old school by pinning my bib on. Once I geared up, I dropped my bag off at the drop spot and wandered over to the start line.  A few minutes before 7:30, Joyce, the race director, called the half marathoners over to the start line for some quick instructions and a group photo and then we were off.

Labor of Love 2014 finisher's medal
The course was a paved out and back course.  The first 75-100 meters were downhill and then we began a climb with a few rollers that topped out at 4.7 miles.  The elevation changed wasn't huge but it was steady as we went from 4,681 feet to 5,393 feet over that distance.  Shortly after reaching the top, we began a rapid drop and went down in elevation approximately 350 feet over the next 1.1 miles (most of that drop was in the first third) before having another short climb to the turn around spot. On the way back, the climb from 7.4 to 8.5 miles was really tough and I found myself walking for the first time in a half marathon.  When I got to the top, I grabbed a drink from the aid station and trudged on.  At this point , the sun was in the sky and the temperature was creeping into the 80s.  As I began the long descent to the finish line, a strong headwind began blowing hot dry air into my face.  At this point, this race began to feel like the race that would never end and despite it being downhill, I just wasn't able to generate any decent pace.  I finally crossed the finish line and after getting my chip clipped off and collecting my medal, I headed straight to the refreshment table and grabbed a big slice of watermelon. After eating it, I changed my shoes back to a pair of sandals and caught the shuttle back to my car.

I ended up crossing the finish line in 2:35 which was 20 minutes slower than my previous slowest half and 37 minutes behind my PR set just last month.  I can't 100% pinpoint my weak performance to any one thing but know that I need to re-emphasize hills in my workouts and get back to a weekly long run on a regular basis.  I also need to pay more attention to pre-race nutrition.

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