ilanarama: me in Escalante (yatta!)
[personal profile] ilanarama
Short version: I ran the Steamworks Half Marathon this morning and made most of the goals I listed in my last post - not only did I come in under 1:40, I ran a 1:38:10, my second-best time ever, on a hillier course at higher elevation than my PR from 2+ years ago, so I'm happy. I did not win my age group, but I came in second - this small race (300 runners) has 10-year AGs, and the woman who beat me by a little more than one minute just turned 40; I'm 48. So there. And I got this cool trophy:


The one on the left is the finisher's glass everyone gets when they cross the finish line, and the one on the right is my trophy. So now I can drink twice as much! Speaking of, I also got a $10 gift card to one of the local coffee shops. Not that I'm planning on drinking coffee out of these. (Hint: Steamworks, the title sponsor of this race, is a brewpub.)

It was a warm, sunny, and thankfully not too windy day, although when the buses took us to the start at Baker's Bridge (where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid jumped into the river, in the movie) it was still chilly. I did the porta-potty thing and then hung out chatting with friends until we were moved up to the start. As this is a gun-time only race, I staked out a place just behind the start line, and then we were off.

The first several miles are downhill and in the shade, and I had to force myself to slow down when I saw I was going way too fast. A dozen or so people passed me right off, and I am sure they wondered why a slow old lady like me had started on the line...until I passed them all back four or five miles down the course. Still, the first mile was my fastest at 7:21. (I think I cut the course a little here, though. We were supposed to stick to the left edge of the road but we were too clumped up to be able to do this until about the half-mile point.) After that I settled into a groove of around 7:30-7:38 pace depending on whether it was a downhill or an uphill, and HR slowly climbing to around 160-165, which is 81-85% of my working HR and therefore exactly where I wanted it for a half marathon. I hit 85% at mile 8 and it stayed steady until the last mile, when it climbed to a max of 90% as I pushed the pace to the finish.

It was kind of amazing to me that I felt totally relaxed, my breathing even and not too fast, and yet I was running essentially the pace I'd been running my tempos in training, which always felt like SO MUCH EFFORT. Part of it was the early downhill, but even on the uphills I felt okay. I tended to pass people on uphills, which is always a psychological boost for me!

I passed a couple of women somewhere in the middle, and then a tall, slender woman in green bunhugger shorts passed me, but it was okay because she was clearly not in my age group. Maybe a mile later she was chatting with a man running beside her and I caught up to them and said teasingly, "If you are talking instead of racing, you're gonna get paaaaassed!" and ran by them. A couple of minutes later she caught up with me and we talked a little - she had been a college runner but this was her first real distance race, and we speculated about how many women might be ahead of us - and then she left me in the dust. (Afterward we sat together while drinking our beer and talked some more. We both came in second in AG, although she was about 3 minutes faster and 22 years younger than me.)

Mostly I was running by myself, but I could always see people ahead of me to try to spur myself on. One guy had a remarkably loud pair of patterned shorts and I just had to catch him so I could see what the pattern was. (Red chile peppers on a yellow background.) At mile 10 I noticed my HR had dropped a little (and so had my speed) and I forced myself to focus and work harder, which resulted in two relatively fast miles, 7:32 and 7:35 pace, before the Big Hill in mile 12. This is not really a steep hill, but it's long and unshaded, and I saw my average pace for the mile drop to 8:30 before things flattened out and I could regain a little speed; but this was my slowest mile, at 8:08. Then it was just a matter of hanging on to the finish.

I felt fairly controlled and comfortable the whole way, although my right leg twinged a few times. I wore my Saucony Kinvaras, which are my lightest shoes (and actually, this is the first time I've raced in them - and the longest distance I've run in them) and my pink CEP compression socks. I definitely felt as though my legs rather than lungs are my limitations, but nothing hurt until after the race (at which point everything just generally ached, but I fixed it temporarily with beer).

I wasn't expecting a PR, so I'm not disappointed I didn't get one. This is still my second fastest half time by two minutes, and more than six minutes faster than the last time I ran this course three years ago. I think with more training and/or a flatter, lower-elevation course I can get down to the 1:35 range.

Ilana with Kevin O'Brien after the Steamworks Half 2012

Here I am with Kevin, a friend who lives in Paonia and came down for the race. He has run this race three times now, and ran a 1:28, good for first place in his age group!
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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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