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Race Result

Racer: Scott Baldwin
Race: Quantico Half Marathon
Date: Saturday, September 24, 2005
Location: Quantico, VA
Race Type: Run - Half Marathon
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 1:22:30
Overall Place: 7 / 1068
Age Group Place: 1 / 116
Comment: Prefect day for a run

Race Report:

I like this race. It was only my second half marathon and the first one was on this course last year. Probably one of the best things about this race is the embroidered long sleeve t-shirt and Timex wrist watch everyone gets in their goodie bag.

The course is on the Quantico Marine Corp base. It consists of two small loops (~2 miles each) and then a big loop (the rest of the way). The first little loop is pretty much flat and the second has a nice down hill followed by a short step up hill. The big loop is flat between mile 5-7, a gradual climb during mile 8, a steep up hill in mile 9, nice downhill in 10 and the last 5k is slightly down to flat all the way to the finish. Knowing the last 4 miles is down, one can give a little bit extra up the hills and still be able to recover and have a strong finish.

Going into the race, I was not really up to pushing too hard and I didn't think I was in as good a condition as I was last year when I ran 1:23:29. In last years race I didn't know the course, I went out a bit fast, and I managed to hold on at the end to finish ok. This year I decided I would hang back a bit and depending how I felt, I would push hard up the hills and then give everything in the last 5k.

This plan worked pretty well, expect compared to last years race, my mile splits were faster this year. I was a little nervous about this since I didn't think I am as fit for the longer stuff this year.

The miles went by.. At around mile seven a small pack of us began to form with me and one other guy(Ben, who I met at the same point in the race last year) at the front. Ben and I chatted a little bit discussing how the last year of racing had gone for us. I tried to get everyone pumped in the group about how great a day it was for a run. I didn't get much response expect that maybe I should save my energy for the hills.... As we passed the 7 mile mark a timer there gave us our splits and told us that #11 through 16 were in this group. Man....did she really need to say that. She got me thinking that it would be really nice to be in the top 10 for a change.

As the hills started Ben and I accelerated and pretty much dropped the rest of the group without much problem. So it was he and I, numbers 11 and 12 and I couldn't see anyone ahead of us to go after. As we hit the big hill, Ben seemed to struggle a bit but stayed with me. I decided I felt good enough to turn it up a notch knowing the next mile would be a nice recovery. I suggested we make it hurt a bit more and went. I dropped him thinking that he would probably recover at the top and catch me going down the other side. I think I passed the #10 & #9 guys near the top of the hill walking.

The last 4 miles were fun. I managed to stay away from everyone I dropped going up the hills and saw two guys that I might be able to catch by the end about ¼ mile ahead around mile 11. I decided to go at mile 11 to catch #8 and did by throwing in a 5:43 mile. Mile 12 I relaxed a bit. In the 13th mile I decided to go after #7 and did it with another 5:45. Once I caught and passed him with about 3/4 mile to go, I was in pretty though shape. I thought after I made the pass that maybe I should have waited a bit longer and that he was going to come back at me before the finish. I did the very thing I tell my kids not to do….”don’t look back, the best thing to do is go as hard as you can and hope that your hard as you can is faster than theirs.” I looked back, not once but about 5 times.

I did manage to finish without anyone passing me. I ended up 7th overall and first in my age-group. I averaged a 6:18 mile with a range of 5:43 to 6:46 (big hill).

I am very happy about this race. There are very few times when I feel like I’m in complete control. Usually some part of my body (usually my head) is telling to slow down. This time I was able to relax when I wanted to and I was able to go when I wanted to. I was very comfortable cruising at the pace I did for the first half of the race and didn’t think I was out of control and any time where my heart rate was too high or my breathing was too hard.

I attribute my higher than normal placing to a few things, 1) it’s on a military base, so they only allow US citizens to sign up. This keeps those fast Kenyans and Ethiopians out of the mix, 2) the guys that finished 1st and 3rd overall are in my age group, but because they got the overall placing it bumped me up in the age group placing. I’ll take it…

So what’s the plan for next year, go into it less fit than this year and hope to knock off a few more minutes. Looking at the overall results, top 5 would have required 2.5 minute faster race. Begin able to go under 6/mile would be nice which would have been good for #4 this year.

Breakfast – slim fast, banana, 20-oz of energy drink (I couldn’t gagged down the energy bar this time)
Pre-race – energy gel with 6-oz H20 30 minutes and 15 minutes prior to race start
Race – half shot of gel at miles 2,4,6,8. ~4 oz. H20 at miles 2,4,6,8, 10, and 12. My Heart rate monitor said I burned ~1500 calories during the race.
Post race – 20-oz bottle of recovery drink, and ~60-oz of H20. For some reason I can’t stomach the standard post-race menu of crunchy bananas and bagels. I had a 20-oz Mt. dew for the ride home.

Heart Rate:
My average HR was 166 bpm for the entire race. I maxed out at 181. My heart rate gradually increase over the entire length of the race. This was due to me trying to go out a bit easier this year and under some control and then gradually build as the race went on. My heart average for mile 1 was ~154 while mile 13 it was ~176. I think it increased linearly over the entire race with a small spike during the long up hills.