Monday, April 19, 2010

Race Report: The George Wodicka Hook Mountain Half Marathon

A few days before the race I spoke with Coach Jeff to discuss how to approach yesterday's race. We knew that the middle miles would be the toughest. That's where the rolling hills of Rockland County State Park and the (in)famous "hook" down to Nyack Beach were situated. Coach said to conserve energy early so I can tackle the climb back up the "hook." Depending on how I felt after the hill, I should let it fly for a fast finish.

I was excited for yesterday's race. My last race was the Manhattan Half Marathon back in January and I wanted to see how far I've progressed. My training has been going well, but with 4 weeks until the Pocono Mountain Marathon I wanted to see if I could put it all together. I needed practice pacing, fueling, and hydration all in a race environment. Most importantly, because of the hilly course, I could practice racing downhill and uphill, both of which I would encounter in the Poconos.

The first 4 or miles were mostly flat. I started out at what felt like a pace I could hold, only to hear the marshall at mile 1 call out 7:30. Could I really hold a 7:30 over 13.1 miles? I was about to find out....I did pretty well through mile 7, my miles 2 -7 splits were: 7:37, 7:41, 8:10, 7:57, 7:46. Not bad right? Just before mile 8 at the entrance to Nyack Beach there was a steep little hill. My mile 8 split was 8:36. I held back a little during mile 9 know that the "hook" was looming between miles 9 and 10. My mile 9 split was 8:05. Then came the part of the race that this race is (in)famous for, the climb up Hook Mountain. I ended up having to do a run/walk up the hill. It was one tough climb to the top, but I was determined not to let it break me. There were plenty of spectators shouting words of encouragement, almost willing the runners to the top. The mile 10 split, was just past the crest of of the hill, 9:37. This is where I would see what I had left. I let my legs recover and off I went. The rolling hills I encountered in miles 4 and 5 were back. Mile 11 split was 8:11. With 2 miles to go and the hills out of the way, I decided to see what I had left. I did mile 12 in 7:39 and mile 13 in 7:37. I saw the clock on the finishing chute just flip to 1:45 as I made the final turn. I knew I had a new half marathon PR. Here's a shot of me crossing the line, with a new half marathon PR of 1:45:21.

Needless to say, I am beyond pleased with how yesterday's race went. I averaged an 8:00 pace and that's with a 9:37 mile. I think I am right where I need to be, 4 weeks before race day.

Details, including the elevation chart of yesterday's can can be found below.

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