Race Mistakes: RnR San Diego Half Recap

This past Sunday I finished the RnR San Diego Half with a time of 1:40:56. I am satisfied with the effort in running this race as it was a tough course.  Humidity also played a factor in affecting my performance.  And I made a number of mistakes!

As with every race, I set a Good, Better, Best goals to maintain focus and never lose perspective of the reasons why I’m running particularly when my body starts to break down:
BEST – Run a 7:37/mi pace to finish in 1:40
BETTER – Beat my half PR of 1:40:22
GOOD – Run as hard as my body can handle and finish strong

Before I address the several mistakes I made at this race, I want to preface with
GRATITUDE as I was definitely grateful for the journey and an overall great race experience.

I am grateful for a successful injury-free 10 week training cycle.  10 weeks ago I decided to try a 3-run/week program to include one HIIT cycling workout   I wanted to test what my body can do with minimal amount of training (peak volume 30mi).  Yes I still experienced some aches and pains but nothing serious to preclude my training.

I am grateful to the San Diego Track Club for an excellent running program.  The Tuesday night track group workouts pushed me to paces I never thought I would ever run.  I loved the support and motivation we received from Coach Greer and appreciate the work of many volunteers who provided hydration at every Saturday’s long run.

I am grateful to my best running friend whom I’ve had the chance to run with each week these past several months and finally running a race with her again after two years (She had a baby a year ago!..And we actually didn’t run together in the race as she is much faster than me and achieved a PR!!)  She is and has always been my biggest supporter.

I am grateful for an overcast race morning.  San Diego was hit with a heat wave this past weekend.  It was already in the 60s with a high humidity at 6:15am, but we were so fortunate the sun didn’t make an appearance until late morning.

I am grateful to be a participant in a race with Olympians!  I had a quick glimpse of Shalane during the National Anthem who finished with a half marathon PR.

Meb was there as well with his own Meb Corral in between 2 and 3 where I lined up but I ended up starting with Corral 2. He passed me after the 2nd mile and I had a chance to ‘keep up’ with him for a few seconds!

I am grateful for a race filled with many spectators, awesome entertainment, well-supported water stations and great finish line location at the Waterfront Park.

And on to my MISTAKES!

1).  Set an incorrect goal pace of 7:37/mi.  According to the pace calculator, this is the pace I needed to run to finish a half marathon in 1:40:00.  Of course, it had to be exactly 13.1 miles.  I didn’t account for the variability due to the many curves and turns as I’ve mentioned on a previous post.  Even though I ran the tangents the best I could, I ran ~225 meters more with a total distance of 13.24.  According to Garmin, my avg pace was 7:37/mi – my goal pace!

2)  Depended on Garmin for mile splits and didn’t have the timer to view on the screen.  I was too dependent on Garmin which gave me a false sense I was hitting the right paces.  I should have pressed the lap button at every mile split so I knew my pace exactly or at least had the time elapsed displayed so I could calculate in my head what pace I needed to be at.

3)  Ran the race without taking a gel.  So Saturday night while I was prepping for race day, I couldn’t find the box of gels I thought I had.  I searched everywhere in my kitchen and it was nowhere to be found.  I didn’t take any gels during training as all of my long runs were under 2 hours – really didn’t feel the need for it.  Yet in a race, I feel it’s something that I need to give me a boost halfway through the race.  I decided to try what they had on course – Glukos.  I’ve never had it before so I was caught by surprise when I expected a thick gel but instead it was more in liquid form.  Only had a little bit of it since I didn’t like the consistency.

4)  Stopped at EVERY water station.  In my past races, I usually slow down to a walk, then quickly grab a drink while moving forward.  However, on race day I actually STOPPED to drink.  Part of it may have been because I wanted my heart rate to slow down a bit as it reached a high rate early in the race and I also wanted to make sure I was properly hydrated since I felt warm right from the beginning.  My biggest mistake though was stopping at the last water station after mile 12 with only less than a mile to go!  I never stop at the final water station in any race I’ve ran knowing I could drink as much water I want after I cross the finish line.  I wasn’t clearly thinking by this time.  After the complete stop, I lost my momentum and mile 13 was my slowest mile at 8:00/mi.  Mile 12 was at 7:21/mi and the final yards to the finish line was a 6:44/mi.  I might have had a chance at beating my PR if I didn’t stop.

5)  I hate to admit it but I started out too FAST 🙁  Mile 1 was a 7:32/mi  but the second mile was on pace at 7:38/mi.  My paces were very inconsistent due to rolling hills.  I thought I knew the course well enough but I guess I didn’t expect as many hills – I failed to run those parts of the course during training.  I looked at the elevation profile and assumed it was a nice easy downhill after mile 8. However, it was deceiving as every downhill was met with an incline. I obviously ignored the peaks when I looked at this profile. If I conserved my energy early in the race, maybe I would have done much better on the inclines instead of feeling burned out after each short climb.

Elevation profile RNR San Diego Half

I was so GRATEFUL to cross the finish line and happy with what I achieved. There are a multitude of lessons to learn on race day particularly when a specific goal isn’t reached.  Those are the ones that make us stronger and better runners.

P.S.  Also this was the first time in a long time I got the biggest blister from running a race.  Perhaps, I wore the wrong pair of socks?…

Blister as big as a quarter!

Do you think the mistakes I made cost me the 56 seconds I needed for my goal time?

I am linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap-Up.  Thanks for hosting! WeeklyWrap