ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (marathon)
[personal profile] ilanarama
After 13.1 miles of it, I can now report that "running against the wind" really sucks. I was feeling good, well-trained, at a good weight, and healthy; in other words, I was ready for a PR, but the weather had other ideas. Strong south winds that funneled up the Colorado River canyon made the race a lot harder than it was last year. Still, I ran 1:40:25, which exactly ties my Other Half time from October (2 weeks after a marathon and a hillier course), and as the wind indiscriminately affected everyone, I ended up with 3rd in my age group, same as I did last year with a 3+ minute faster time.

canyonlands start 2011 It was breezy as we walked to the bus pick-up, windy when we got out of the buses at the start, and downright gusty as we finished our warm-up jog and headed for the starting line. My visor and tiara blew off, and I realized it would have been smarter to leave them in the drop bag, but by then the "sweat truck" had already left with our clothes and I was stuck. I ended up carrying my visor the entire distance for fear it would blow off (pretty uncomfortable, and my neck and shoulders still ache two days later), and I handed my tiara to an aid station volunteer "in exchange for that cup of water" about halfway through.

The first several miles were pretty good. I was in a sea of people and I think they blocked the wind. I felt like I was working, but my HR was reasonable, averaging 81% of HRR, right where I wanted it. But as the pack began to thin out and the wind built even more, it started getting tougher. I tried to draft where I could, but people who run half marathons at this pace tend to be small and thin and not very good windblocks!

I felt like I was working really hard, but my HR was actually on the low end of HM HR almost the whole time, so I suppose I was slacking. I probably should have gotten my HR up into the 166-169 zone around mile 8. But it was awful, with the wind gusting hard against my body. I kept thinking about how wonderful it would be to just stop running. I'd see people pass me and be mystified at how they managed it. (Then I'd pass people and I suppose they were equally mystified.)

I tried to run the tangents, but as you can see by the splits I wasn't always successful. The first number is the time between each time I pressed the lap button on my Garmin, at every mile mark. The second is the distance the Garmin thought I ran, and the third is the pace for that distance.

    split        dist   pace    elev    avg HR     max HR
 1 07:18.1	1.01	07:13.3	 -81	154 (76%)  [bogus]
 2 07:19.8	1	07:19.5	 -12	160 (81%)  165 (85%)
 3 07:20.5	0.99	07:24.7	  -6	160 (81%)  163 (83%)
 4 07:48.3	1.03	07:36.6	  26	160 (81%)  163 (83%)
 5 07:40.7	1	07:40.0	 -47	161 (82%)  167 (87%)
 6 07:39.3	1	07:41.0	  -4	161 (82%)  165 (85%)
 7 07:48.3	1	07:50.1	  29	160 (81%)  164 (84%)
 8 07:43.2	1.01	07:40.9	 -12	161 (82%)  165 (85%)
 9 07:30.6	1.02	07:23.7	  14	163 (84%)  167 (87%)
10 07:55.9	1.01	07:52.4	 -20	162 (82%)  167 (87%)
11 07:49.5	1.02	07:38.2	  70	162 (82%)  165 (85%)
12 07:56.8	1.01	07:51.2	  -8	165 (85%)  169 (88%)
13.1 08:39.0	1.12	07:44.7	 -59	165 (86%)  169 (88%)

Can I blame my failure to PR on the weather? Partly. Certainly I think I would have run faster without the vicious headwind; a quick comparison of times between last year and this year, for runners who raced both years, shows that most women were between 3 and 6 minutes slower this year. (Oddly the differential for men is smaller, 1-3 minutes. Some of us were speculating it might be because men have more muscle to push harder through the headwind.) But would I have beaten my 1:37:01? Maybe, maybe not. As I said, I think my HR numbers show I didn't push as hard as I could have - perhaps with perfect conditions I would have flagged as well.

I got third in my age group, and the same woman who got second did it again - with a time 6 minutes slower than her time last year. (The first place runner hadn't run it before.) I was the 211th person over the finish line out of 3361, and last year I was 212th out of 3278, hardly any difference; I was 29th woman out of 2021 this year, and 37th out of 1942 last year. So perhaps I ran a little better compared to my peers this year.

It was still a great weekend. Dee, an imaginary friend from RWOL, flew in from the midwest to run this race, and ended up taking first place Masters female even though she was disappointed in her time. I had margaritas at Miguel's the night before the race, and beers at the Moab Brewery after, with a bunch of other RWOL friends, including my usual race roomie Karah and our friend Kevin. (Karah's report has lots of great photos - I stole the one above from her - and is here on her blog.) The next day Dee and I visited Arches National Park despite the continued miserable windy weather, and it was fun hiking to the pretty arches even though the sky was cold and gray and the air hazy.

Despite the lack of PR, I still feel fairly confident about my upcoming marathon on May 1st. And I'll be running another half marathon, the local Steamworks Half, in June, giving me another chance at a PR.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-21 11:46 pm (UTC)
melusina: (Running onefootinfrontoftheother)
From: [personal profile] melusina
Gah - that sounds rough! I'm super impressed with your time and your persistence. . .

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-22 07:29 am (UTC)
luzula: a Luzula pilosa, or hairy wood-rush (Default)
From: [personal profile] luzula
Wow, that's a cool landscape! But I can just imagine the wind funneling down that canyon. Congratulations on sticking to it.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-22 09:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Considering the conditions, your times look great. I wish I were as consistent. I'm sure the minor flag at the end is due to the wind.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-23 06:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

My next race is the USAF Marathon in September if I get back in time.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-22 10:27 am (UTC)
mirag: (wisteria)
From: [personal profile] mirag
Maybe you have learned from this experience and next time you have to run against the wind you'll get a better result!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-22 01:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, Bob Seger can totally bite me. What the hell was that stuff moving through the canyon? Great job pushing through it. And thanks for the photo credit, too! :D

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-22 08:24 pm (UTC)
purna: (Louise Brooks)
From: [personal profile] purna
Awesome time and you cannot argue with hardware! I hate wind; it totally saps my will to live. As for the guys' times showing less slowing, were there more fast guys running similar paces, do you think? Maybe they were able to draft better because of sheer numbers.

Gorgeous. Even with the wicked wind, I SO want to do that race now. I love Moab. I need to plan a cool destination race after Boston.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-23 12:39 am (UTC)
purna: (Louise Brooks)
From: [personal profile] purna
Mmmm, interesting. The October race is particularly tempting. Any idea when registration for The Other Half fills up? I must think about this more. Thanks for the invite!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-24 09:09 pm (UTC)
purna: (Writing)
From: [personal profile] purna
Oh, that's great to know!

From Greenlee

Date: 2011-03-22 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
That just sounds like such tough conditions. It definitely should be validating that all the times this year are slower. You rocked it out there! Congrats on the award.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-25 03:59 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
That's some serious headwind to blow off a tiara! You did very well in that condition. 35 MPH wind is supposed to be about the same exertion as heartbreak hill's grade...You put out PLENTY of effort, and did WELL to pull off that time!
What a beautiful course!! I might prefer less wind, but the views must have been spectacular.
Great work on the AG placing!!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-30 08:52 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hah! I love how you casually mention the tiara like any other piece of racing equipment :)

- Anarcha/Darkwave/Cris


ilanarama: me, The Other Half, Moab UT 2009 (Default)

August 2017

131415 16171819
20212223 242526

My running PRs:

5K: 21:03 (downhill) 21:43 (loop)
10K: 43:06 (downhill)
10M: 1:12:59
13.1M: 1:35:55
26.2M: 3:23:31

You can reach me by email at heyheyilana @


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