North Shore Half Marathon Race Report

10th place, 1:11:38

It's like the song says: we've all got our bad days.*  A combination of a few factors led to a rough day at the office at this morning's North Shore Half up in Highland Park.  I was pretty excited about this race because of the level of competition (drawn by a stellar prize purse) and the level of fitness indicated by last week's 10 mile PR at Soldier Field.  However, as I cruised an easy warmup jog with a few friends, I could tell my legs were a bit sluggish.  I had pushed the envelope a bit this week in terms of the amount of hard running I did with a race coming up.  I did a tough hill repeat session on the treadmill on Wednesday evening, followed by a 90 minute run on singletrack at a pretty solid pace on Thursday morning.  I ran easy on Friday and Saturday, but I still felt it in the legs this morning.  It also started raining about 15 minutes before the start of the race as the temperature dropped and the wind picked up.  I got a bit stiff and felt like my muscles never really warmed up during the race.   

The lead pack in the race took off pretty quickly, and it ultimately took a 1:06 just to crack the top five. I was off the back after just a few minutes, yet running well ahead of any others who were chasing, so I ended up running about 12.8 miles of the race solo.  This made for a long, lonely race.  The effort I was running last week to hit 5:05/mile only resulted in about 5:25s or 5:30s today.  I was just run down and slower today for a variety of reasons.  This was frustrating, but I'm actually pretty happy with how I ran given how I felt.  It would have been easy to pack it in and run a minute or two slower, but I gutted it out and ran tough the whole time.  Even if I don't have a solid time to show for it, the effort was good; like doing a hard workout when you're not fully recovered from your last session.  

My splits for the race were as follows: 
1 - 5:20
2 - 5:21 (10:41)
3 - 5:23 (16:05)
4 - 5:23 (21:29)
5 - 5:31 (27:01)
6 - 5:29 (32:31)
7 - 5:25 (37:56)
8 - 5:33 (43:29)
9 - 5:31 (49:01)
10 - 5:30 (54:32)
11 - 5:33 (1:00:05)
12 - 5:26 (1:05:32)
13 - 5:25 (1:10:58)
Last 0.1 - 0:40 (1:11:38)

A ten mile race and a half marathon are not drastically different, and it's pretty obvious from today's splits just how different this week was than last.  My breathing and effort were very under control running the opening half of the SF10 in 25:41; today a greater, more strained effort took me through in 27:01.  All this is really just to say: I had a bad day, and I'm not too hung on it because (a) I ran tough, and that is always a good thing, and (b) today's time isn't indicative of my fitness.  I learned my lesson and won't do any workouts this week (just some functional strength work and drills/strides), as I back off and recovery for next week's ultra: the Cayuga Trails 50 Mile.  Should be fun!

*Bonus points if you know this is a Death to Smoochy reference.