Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tucson Half Marathon

Holualoa Tucson Marathon & Half
Oro Valley, Arizona
Mileage - 13.1
Time - 1:13:45
AEG - 100ft
Pace - 5:36/mile
Place - 2nd Overall

I couldn't have asked for a better race to close out 2013, the Tucson half marathon was hands down the most exciting event all year!  A tight race start to finish with a dramatic ending left me feeling on top of my game after coming back from behind to capture that second place spot!

Lets go back to the beginning.  Both races (marathon and half) are point to point requiring bus shuttle to the start, which meant waking up very early.  3:50am to be exact.  The forecast would definitely work in our favor once the race was underway, until that time an overcast sky with temps just above freezing and occasional flurries made things a bit uncomfortable in the morning hours.  My pre-race routine went well (2-mile warm up, water, gel, bathroom) and just before 7:00am I lined up amongst a solid field of runners.

Time to put my strategy into play; run the first mile conservative around a 5:45 pace. Check.  Tuck in behind a pack to block the 10-15mph winds. Check.  Next I would coast downhill at 5:30 pace until the hills showed up between miles 7 and 10.  Everything went according to plan.  The one thing I didn't count on was how long the six of us would stay together.  Driving the course on Saturday gave me an advantage knowing when the hills and turns arrived.  I continued to make moves to separate myself from the pack, still I could not shake anyone.  The miles ticked off way faster than I would have expected in a race this long, and suddenly myself and two other guys were neck and neck with only one mile to go.  Again, I couldn't create space.  Then, with less than a quarter mile, they pulled away from me.  I wasn't done.  My legs felt good enough to sprint and a final surge put me back in front coming into the finish gates.  What a rush!

A big thanks to race director Pam Reed for putting on another great race in Tucson. 

Awesome course view of the Catalina front range North of Tucson

Here area my race splits, the slower miles reflect hills.

1 -  5:42
2 -  5:35
3 -  5:32
4 -  5:31
5 -  5:28
6 -  5:29
7 -  5:43
8 -  5:35
9 -  5:36
10 -5:50
11 -5:45
12 -5:39
13 -5:34
13 -4:49

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