Race Recap: Rock N’ Sole Half

I made it no secret that I was planning/hoping to hammer out a 1:24 at the Rock N’ Sole run on Saturday. Having not run a road Half since the Polar Dash, I wasn’t quite sure what I would be capable of, but figured it had to be in that ballpark.

Driving into downtown took a touch longer than I had planned, but everything worked well. I got to park in the lot I used to park at when I worked Summerfest, and then got in and out of the bathroom line extremely quickly. There was even a decent wind, keeping the promised heat at bay for a little while.

I found my way to the starting coral about 10 minutes before the gun went off. Everything felt good as we waited for the gun to go off.

I’ll be the first to admit that, when I looked at my first mile split, I had an inkling I had gone out too ambitious. It’s funny, for me, to say that a 6:18 first mile felt fine, but it really did. Still, I thought I should ease back up and try to get my cumulative pace back down into the mid 6:20s. Well, two 6:14s later and my overall pace was a 6:15, about 10-13 seconds per mile ahead of goal pace. Oops.

Miles four and five took us up the Hoan bridge. All those parking ramp runs I had done were paying off, as the sloping incline was tough but not unbearable. The wind I mentioned earlier was rough, however. At the highest point (other than skyscrapers) in the city, and right along Lake Michigan, the wind was fierce as it buffetted myself and other runners into a slower pace.

Coming off the bridge I noticed my pace begin to slow, affected by the bridge climb in the wind, and a too ambitious start to the race. Still, crossing the 10k in a smidge over 40 wasn’t a bad sign, although a touch off the pace I wanted, but never ran.

Then it happened. Was rounded a corner only to meet a daunting hill near the end of mile 7. The steep ascent finished me off for the race. It was simply an instance where I was already fatiguing and was not mentally prepared for a thunderous incline.

At that point, I knew any hope for a PR was dead and gone.

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A poorly run race by me. At least there was beer waiting at the end.

The rest of the race reminded me a lot of the La Jolla Half I ran a year ago, where I got smashed by a hill and the rising temperatures. And in that in any hot race, going past a body of water is brutal. Just roll me in and leave me there.

I wasn’t entirely pleased with my finishing time, but again that had in large part to do with an overly ambitious first few miles. The Rock N’ Sole did serve as a reminder, though, to not get out too fast in a race. And that I need to start getting my weekday miles back up. Especially on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

Next up will be something new entirely. On July 2, I’ll be tackling the Afton 25k in Minnesota. This will surprisingly be my third trail adventure of 2016. After finishing third at the Frozen Feet and winning the Beer and Bagel, I’m hoping to again find success off the road.

Three weeks will provide me a significant amount of time to churn out some quality miles, and work on correcting some of my pacing problems on longer runs, as that has been off ever since Shamrock. At least I know to not get out in 6:15s at Afton. More like 7:15s.

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