Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Race Plan for the 2011 Governor's Cup Road Race

On Saturday November 5th I will be running in the 2011 Governor's Cup Road Race Half Marathon in Columbia, SC.  It is sponsored by Lexington Medical Center, which is a large hospital in the ares.  According to the race's website (http://www.lexmed.com/calendar/special-events/governors-cup.aspx), the race was started in 1972 and some of the proceeds go toward obesity prevention.  It starts at 8am, and the course closes at 11 am.  The course "...has a mix of hills and flat stretches (but mostly up and down hills).  It is a challenging course because of where the hills are located along the route as well as the degree of elevation of the hills, particularly the famous Blossom Street hill just before the finish line." Oh, boy!

The expo takes place the day before the race.  Packet pickup is located at the expo, along with Joan Benoit Samuelson.  The winner of the the marathon gold medal in the 1984 Olympics (I will be seeking a picture).  Participants in the half marathon receive a long sleeve tech shirt, race cap and finishers will get a medal.  Alright, enough of the technical nonesense, on to the good stuff.

The Goal:
Since this is my first half, I know that my goal should be just to finish, however I need more or a goal just to finish.  I need something a little shorter so I can push myself a little harder, and have some time saved if needed just to finish.  My "A" goal is to finish the race in 2:45 which is a 12:35 per mile pace.  My "B" goal is to finish before the course closes, which is a 13:44 pace for 3 hours. On my 8 miler that I recently did I average a pace of 12:07, and I was not winded or tired afterwards.  So I have confidence that I will at least get my B goal.

Leading up to the Race:
My training has been less than spectacular these last weeks.  I've been averageing about 10 miles a week and my last long run was 8 miles about a month ago.  Needless to say, I was worried.  I attempted a 10 miler on Halloween Morning.  I started with a 2 minute run to a 1 minute walk plan.  I was doing great.  Good form, no big pain.  I had it.  Unfortunately at mile 8 I ran into some "issues."  I had to walk a very uncomfortable 1.5 miles to the nearest restroom.  I could have gone the full 10 if it wasn't for the speed bump.  Besides that, the run was aweseome and I feel comfortable that I'm going to finish the race.

Day Before the Race:
I will pick up my packet at the expo.  Therefore there will be one less thing for me to worry about on race day. I will eat a fairly large lunch of pasta and veggies and probably a small portion of pasta for dinner.  I do not want a large meal weighing on me.  Gatorade and water will be flowing, and maybe a soda to get some sugar in me.  No beer will cross my lips on that Friday.

Race Day:
I probably won't eat breakfast due to paranoia of GI issues for the race.  If I must, and since I am leaving early, I might eat a banana or bagel before heading out the door.

Since the race starts at 8am, I'll probably leave the house at about 6am, and get there around 6:30.  I know it is early, but approximately 1000 runners will be there and I want to find a good parking space and not deal with the traffic.  There is no designated parking for the race so it is find it where you can.  I'll probably park closer to the finish line, which is not too far from the start.  I'll bring water, 3 clif shots, my spibelt, iPod, Garmin and Gymboss interval timer.  The water will be left in the truck for the race, but everything else will go with me.  One clif shot will be taken 15 minutes prior to start and the rest will be in the spibelt and ready when needed.

When the race starts I will be doing a 2/1 run/walk ratio.  If I am feeling good at the half way mark I will bump it up to a 3/1, but if not feeling great, I will keep it at 2/1.  At the 10 mile mark I will make a change regardless.  Either bump up my run time, or shorten my walk time.  It all depends on how I feel and how much time I have left till course closure.

There six water stations on the course, stocked with water and Gatorade.  They are not marked on the course map, but I'm going to assume that they are every 2 miles or so.  I will drink water at the first station, Gatorade at the 4, water at 6 and so on.  Gels will be taken every hour after race starts with water.  This might also alter my gel plan.

That's about all I have as far as race day planning.  It doesn't sound like much but I think it will work me, and since this is my first, I really don't know what to plan for.  Plus, I have 4 more days till the race, and things may change.  I'm looking forward to this race because it is my first.  But mostly I am excited because I will learn how to race a half marathon and adjust for future races.

I will post later with a race report.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any suggestions please comment below and help a fat man out.

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