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Tom Walker Memorial Half Marathon 2011 - Race Report

  • Tuesday, November 15 2011 @ 04:53 AM UTC
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Running and Fitness

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Saturday I ran the 2011 Tom Walker Memorial Half Marathon. The race course travels along the scenic Gainesville-Hawthorne trail, a nice out-and-back course on a paved bike path.

It was a cold crisp morning (around 40 degrees at the start), but the temperature was destined to go up 10-15 degrees during the race. After diligently checking the hourly weather forecast, I think I handled the temperatures perfectly, wearing a jacket at the start and shedding it after the first mile or so. Here I am cruising along beside Meredith Defranco fairly early in the race:

Photo copyright Martin McCrory Photography.

I had some stomach trouble a couple of days before the race so I think my energy stores were low. I did my best to keep up on the gatorade. I really need to learn how to drink out of a paper cup and not slop it all over myself or half-drown myself. I lost more than a couple seconds dealing with beverages at the aid stations.

I am very happy with my race since my performance was a huge PR at this distance. I improved my time by over 20 minutes from the previous year. I managed to run pretty consistent splits, I didn't go out too fast and stayed within my aerobic capacity for most of the race.

My performance was good enough to earn 2nd in my age group and 5th overall.

The finish line photo captured my official time of 1:29:51 (average pace 6:51 per mile):

Photo by Leonard Grill.

The top three in each age group received an awesome Florida Track Club pint glass. Dear race directors, take a clue from these guys, please stop giving trophies and start giving pint glasses, or coffee mugs, or anything that has some utility.

I wore my Inov-8 Bare-X 150 shoes which I think are great zero-drop road racing shoes. I run without the insoles since the feeling of squishy cushion under my feet makes it hard to maintain my running technique. I do most of my training barefoot or in true minimalist shoes such as the Soft Star Moc3, so the Bare-X 150 actually has a pretty thick layer of cushion by comparison. Since I'm trying to run fast, I want a shoe like this that provides protection from friction and allows me to run a little more recklessly. I don't want to think about my feet when my lungs are burning. If I were writing a review of the Bare-X 150, I would score it very well.

Here are the shoes with the race t-shirt:

One of the most encouraging things for me is that I was able to race at this level while averaging fairly low mileage per week (mostly under 30) over the last six months, as one can see from the pretty http://dailymile.com graphs:

For the next few months I plan to focus more on shorter races and speed. It's time to defeat my high school self from 20-ish years ago.

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