The Bakersfield Track Club Two Halves Make A Whole Half Marathon
Report by Steve Carney
After getting up early and driving to a HM race last Saturday and
being derailed by my MIA wallet and road race security (it was
held on an army base), I searched for a replacement fitness tester
race this weekend, and came up with the Bakersfield Track Club's
Two Halves Make a Whole HM. It was a two-hour drive, but I really
wanted to see where I was in my training and to get in a good,
hard effort. The 2 Halves is an interesting concept; it's two HM
races, one in Jan/Feb and one in Nov., and you get half a finishers
medal each race that interlock to form one marathon finishers medal
(with a lot less effort that a full marathon).
The HM race was an out-and-back along a paved bike path in Bakersfield,
mostly flat, with an accompanying 5K race. The HM and 5K started
at the same time, but about 100 yards apart and in different directions
(the 5K east and the HM west). Race morning was nearly perfect: 43
and partly cloudy, with an expected high of 63 and rain forecast
for the afternoon.
Race morning came too early for my liking, and I lingered in bed
well past my 5am alarm. I was NOT looking forward to a 2-hour drive,
but it did have its advantages: I was able to eat well ahead of the
start and hydrated at 20 min. intervals in the car on the drive -
arriving at the race well-hydrated AND in dire need of the port-o-lets.
I had planned on arriving early and jogging three miles to raise
my total to about 17 for the day, but my lingering meant I was left
with only about 10 minutes to get some warm-up in. Pre-race excuses:
since a Thanksgiving race I've been dealing with a case of PF that
won't go away, but does let me run almost every day. I've also recently
strained my quad/groin during interval training, but have been able
to run through that also.
That said: I made one last-minute bathroom stop and was jogging
to the start of the HM when I heard the race director counting down
to the start near the 5K start. They tried to use one air horn to
start two races about 100 yards apart. Very efficient . . . In theory.
In reality, the 5K runners got an air horn start and the HM runners
got a rumor of the start from the back of the pack. As I was still
jogging up to the front, I passed the word of the start as I moved
through the pack. My goal for the race was to get in a race and see
how well my training was going. After plugging recent interval sessions
into race calculators, I figured I could run anywhere from a 7:05
to 7:20 pace. Since I hadn't raced in awhile, I figured I'd try to
race by feel. Try to run at a hard but comfortable pace, hopefully
starting out at about a 7:20 pace, and pick it up from there.
Well, with my late start I pushed through the pack and got up to
a nice-looking group just before the mile, which went by in 6:59
- definitely NOT 7:20, but I felt smooth and comfortable so I tried
not to worry too much. The second mile passed in 7:04, but our little
group of five felt comfortable. I'm usually the guy floating alone
on race day with no one within 100 yards, so I liked running with
four others. After the first two miles we started clicking out 7:10
miles, so I decided to hang here till the turnaround point and see
how things were going. Our group of five strung out by four miles,
and I ended up running with Mike, a boomer and apparently very popular
BTC member. I felt strong, but could tell I was working hard. With
the exception of the turnaround mile (I hate turnarounds - see mile
7) we were pretty consistent. A light, cold rain started to fall
after mile four and continued until the end. It made running a little
colder, but without wind it really wasn't bad.
I could feel Mike start to yo-yo back during mile 7, and sometime
during mile 8 I felt the string break and Mike was gone. I was in
familiar territory now - the next closest runner was more than 400
meters ahead, and I didn't care to look behind . . . so I decided
to continue to push till 10 miles and then re-evaluate how I felt.
Miles 9 and 10 were a little slower, but I still felt strong and
was very much mentally focused on maintaining a hard effort. This
resulted in a steady mile 11, but sometime during mile 12 I felt
an old injury pop up. I had strained my left hamstring in August
during intervals and lost a lot of training time. Now my left hammie
was tightening up, so I decided to back off a little to prevent re-injuring
it. Mile 13 was a lot slower, mostly because of it was run on soft
sand. And I'm sorry, but I do not think I was running that slowly
the last .1 (I'm submitting an official letter of inquiry as you
read this. I'm hoping for a re-measure.).
The results: 1:34:58 for about a 7:15/mile pace (about 7:12/mile
through 11 miles); 26/215 OA, 3/14 45-49 AG. I feel good about the
results. I got in a good, hard effort and was able to maintain a
steady pace for most of the race even though I didn't taper for it.
<- go to the last page | old
news reports (pre 2008) » | current news »