Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Johnston's Half Marathon Race Review

Saturday I ran the Johnston's Half Marathon in Wichita, Kansas.  Here's a brief description off the race's website: 
Following last year’s popular course, the route starts through the streets of Wichita’s beautiful Riverside Neighborhood. Then it runs along the Arkansas River until it loops by the Keeper of the Plains. Onward you’ll run, past Waterwalk and Exploration Place until you return along the river and to the finish at Central Riverside Park. This is a fast and scenic course!
Let me pause while you Wikipedia all those landmarks...  ...  ...  They are what our Chamber of Commerce likes to think of as tourist attractions.  The Keeper of the Plains is kinda our 44 foot version of the Statue of Liberty while Exploration Place is as close as we get to the Smithsonian, only 15x smaller and more for kids. All kidding aside, I really don't have anything bad to say about what Wichita has to offer, it's just a smaller market.

Although, there is one more thing I would add to the race's description...  "Get ready for some rain."

I don't know what it is about the last 6 months here in the Midwest, but I had gone over ten years without seeing much more than a couple sprinkles during a race.  Now, 5 of my last 7 races including 2 full marathons and a half marathon involved rain.  More on that later.

This is typically the one half marathon I run each year.  It's probably the second most popular race in Wichita. Over 900 finished it this year, and I'm sure those numbers were down due to the fair weather rain wussies out there.  Last year there were over 1,200 registered, and registration has grown from year to year.  One of the reasons I like this race is because I see so many running friends there who I don't normally get to hang out with.  After the race Sunday, I can think of 19 meaningful conversations I had with friends.

Did I mention rain earlier?  I knew it wasn't going to be good when I looked at the hourly weather forecast that morning and it had a picture of Noah's Ark.  Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration, but it said there was a 100% chance of precipitation during the race.  With a bit of luck, there was only light rain off and on as the race got underway.  A couple miles in, the course narrowed to a bike path, which wasn't a bad thing except there quickly came some little valleys here and there that contained mud and water runoff.  If you put forth some effort, you could maneuver to different sides of the path to avoid the water hazards.  Outside of that, the first 10 miles were fairly uneventful weather wise. There were water and Gatorade stations about every 2.5 miles, and I took a drink at each one to make sure I was hydrated.  Temperature was about 60º for the race, and although that is warmer than ideal, the rain kept me cool enough to mask any sweating that I did.

Looks like a picture from "Rave Run" in Runner's World, except without all
 that scenery and stuff.

Somewhere after getting past 10 miles, the rain really started coming down.  Water made its way into my eyes and I did my best to ignore it.  One thing I thought to myself being the awesome optimist that I am was that rain water doesn't sting your eyes like sweat does.  The middle miles of the course is a loop, but several miles before and after that follow the same out-and-back path including the valleys mentioned above that contain even more mud and water by now.  So, with the rain coming down in sheets, I was also running through puddles of mud and water.

Not everything sucked.  By now I was on my way to a negative split for the second half of the race, and with the faster pace, I started to focus on each runner in front of me and running them down one by one.  Not sure how many I left in my wake (get it? wake?), maybe a dozen, but I do know no one passed me the last 4 or so miles.

Pretty awesome picture of the conditions, just wish my eyes were open
 instead of acting like windshield wipers.

I have made very good strides these last couple months since recovering from my hip flexor, but going into the half marathon, I was sure that I wouldn't be able to maintain a 7:20 pace that won me an awesome PR last year.  Still I hoped to run a 7:30 pace, maybe faster if I underestimated myself.  As the race went on, my GPS reported a variety of paces, but I knew I was in the ballpark of where I planned to be.  I told myself in the last couple miles that no matter what my time turned out to be, I should be happy with my performance.

I crossed the finish line with an official time of 1:37:23.  Despite what I just told myself, I was mildly disappointed not to be in the 1:36:xx realm, cause it seemed a long way off of my 1:36:02 PR from last year.  In reality, I surpassed my 7:30 goal pace by averaging 7:26, and I did it in warmer than ideal 60º weather while being hampered by the rain.

2Slow4Boston Johnston's Half Marathon
Chip Time1:37:23
Overall Place58/923
Age Group7/59
Average Pace7:26

Split Time Distance Avg Pace Avg HR Max HR
1 07:35.3 1 7:35 162 174
2 07:24.6 1 7:25 173 180
3 07:33.6 1 7:34 174 182
4 07:28.3 1 7:28 177 185
5 07:18.1 1 7:18 178 182
6 07:19.4 1 7:19 180 187
7 07:29.1 1 7:29 182 186
8 07:28.4 1 7:28 180 186
9 07:29.1 1 7:29 182 186
10 07:23.4 1 7:23 184 188
11 07:13.0 1 7:13 187 190
12 07:20.4 1 7:20 186 189
13 07:06.0 1 7:06 189 193
14 01:18.0 0.2 6:39 194 195
 Summary 1:37:27 13.2 7:23 180 195

After the race I was hanging out, having all those conversations I referred to earlier when the awards started.  I made my way over to continue my socialization skills that us engineers need to work on from time to time.  Little did I realize until they called my name as the 6th place runner my age that they were handing out awards for the top 6 runners in each age group.

40 - 44 age group winners (The big guy was a race official).

My marble age group award.
For whatever reason, the data entry people screwed up a lot of runner's information before the race so the results had a lot of omissions and errors.  One friend had her bib number assigned to another guy, and she had to inform them of the error for her to get her age group award (Now I see her listed in the results with 2 different finish times).  After I got home from the race, I went to look at the online results, and I was now listed as 7th in my age group meaning I didn't deserve the age group award that I got.  I mentioned it to the race director who wasn't concerned.  He told me to just keep the award, but it doesn't feel right.  I felt a little funny about getting an age group award anyway that wasn't for the top 3.  Should I keep the award along with the story to tell?

Official shirt and finisher's medal.

In case you were wondering, this is a cropped picture of my left foot.
 If this grosses you out, feel free to focus on my manicuring skills.
Thanks to running in soggy shoes most of the race, I rubbed the skin
raw between the two toes.  Why it happened in this spot is
 beyond me, but I ran a full marathon in the rain last December
without a problem.

Next on my agenda is some 10k training.


Christi said...

I saw the pics of you and Jen on facebook. The weather did not look fun at all but it is spring time in Kansas!

I think I will add some Wichita races to my bucket list. Just make sure you bring in some better weather! :)

Great job!

NY Wolve said...

Whoa, that is some rain, but a nice pace and race in spite of it. I can manage the rain the eyes, but I hate it when shoes and socks get wet, heavy and squishy with each step. I usually wear a hat and even clear glasses in rain to spare the eyes (even though it can be hard to see.)
One year, I ran a 10K where it looked like it was going to rain, and was misting right at the start. And then the gun went off. The gun must have triggered the rain because it poured the entire race. And then stopped when the race was done. And the bag check had turned into an enormous mud pit. Yuck. SO goo djob!

Boston Bound Brunette said...

Wow it was pouring out there! You are hard core man!! Congratulations and sorry about your foot. It looks painful!

abbi said...

Wow, it was definitely raining out there. Sorry about the foot, hope it's healing quickly!

Indi said...

Great job in the pouring rain!!Hope the foot heals up soon!

Terzah said...

Wow, I'd love for some of that rain to come to CO. We are dry dry dry. And isn't rain better than heat? That's a picture to save forever, in any case.

I understand what you mean about feeling weird about the trophy. My only trophy story is from the very first time I ever placed in an AG. I got third in the 25-29 group in a 5-mile race in Brooklyn sometime in the late 90s, but due to some mistake they gave me the third place trophy for 15-19. I still have it. I figure, I did place, even though it wasn't in that group. Somewhere there's another woman who has my trophy.

Don't sweat the time at all. You had a lot of impediments and ran really well post-injury.

Paul said...

Awesome in the rain! Soggy shoes and all.

I will not put this race on my bucket list unless I bring a bucket ;)

You are fast!

Bill Fine said...

I'm with ARE fast!

Too slow for Boston? I don' think so!

Great job!!!

Unknown said...

I am jealous of your rain race after my hot heat-strokey marathon last weekend! Definitely keep the award and the story, but that is weird that they gave awards to top 6. I've never heard of that. And that toe picture did not gross me out at all. I think all of us runners have pretty messed up feet. It's like looking in a mirror to see someone else's disfunctioning skin or toenails.

Trent (Scott) Lorcher said...

I once finished sixth place in my age group for a 5-k and they sent me a medal. There were only 9 participants. Yes, I kept the medal.

On the Right Track said...

yeah, I'm thinking you need to change the name of your blog...YOU ARE NOT SLOW!!!

I was absolutely loving all of the pics until the last one...UGH, I am not going to repeat what I think it looks like...but you do have nicely manicured nails for a man...nice ;)

Jill said...

Ooooo gosh, so much to comment on here... :)

First, you wanted to go a sub 7:30 and you went a 7:26 and were disappointed. I do this crap all the time. From now on, we just need to be real and say it out loud, "I want a 7:22!!" Well, that's what you'd say. If I said I wanted a 7:22, someone would put me in a mental hospital because my 1/2 PR is a 7:58. Anyway, you get the gist of this paragraph. :)

Moving along...

I am never running a race with you ever again. You have been forever jinked with the weather gods and he is going to dump massive rain all over your races. Oh yeah, sure, PP was perfect weather....that was before you pissed off the weather gods somehow. When you redeem yourself somehow, let me know and maybe I'll run a race with you again. But me and that race would not last very long until major whining took over; we in Colorado just rarely ever get that stuff.

Lastly (because I'm getting too lazy to type more :), Um...I have never been to a race where awards go 6 deep, so 6 or 7, who cares?!?! Keep the award, it makes a great story. Reminds me of the time my race bib had my name as "Yvette". :)

Oh, and let me just add that yeah, looking at that toe just before I go to bed is really awesome. Thanks!

QuynhAnh (Julie) Nguyen said...

Great job, Jon! You are NOT slow! It was a pleasure to meet you. I hope to see you out there again soon!

XLMIC said...

Nice! I actually think that photo of you with your eyes closed is a super cool race photo. You look really strong and very tough...even with the closed eyes.

Char said...

Well done on a great race. The last few miles sounded so strong. And well done on 6th place. I've never seen a marble trophy before.

Meghan said...

Awesome job! I find wearing a hat in the rain helps a lot with keeping it out of the eyes!

Great pix - I feel ya on the medal part - I'd be conflicted on what to do.

Yikes on that blister - get that thing cured!

Lindsay said...

LOL at your humor regarding the race course description! Sounds like I must add those to the top of my destination list. Enjoyed your humor thru out, really :)

Congrats on your race! A solid performance and AG award! Woo hoo! I've gotten the wrong award once (not the place I finished in) so they gave me a turkey too. (it was a thanksgiving race)

Robin said...

Wow that's some rain! Congrats on a great race in those conditions.

Nelly said...

That does look like a picture from Rave Run! lol

And your comment about Noah Ark is hilarious, haha

You had a great race, I'd keep your age group award. Even if they did screw up the results, you were close enough to deserve it!

Bummer about the blister on your foot, soggy feet can usually cause that for me.

Thanks for your comment the other day about my running status - I haven't said much about what I've been doing running wise since there hasn't been much to say. I was in tax season for 2 months, and my right ankle stress fracture still seems to bother me sometimes. I'm seeing my doctor next week, we'll see what he says. Just annoying.

Coy Martinez said...

This blog has so many awesome things that I won't find anywhere else! First, in between your toes! Nice! I mean, sore but nice! I have gross stuff happen to my feet all the time and I wanna share but never do!

Second, I love running in the rain, preferably a downpour! That pic of you in a torrent is great! Talk about a super soaker! I don't remember the last time someone posted a rain pic! I hoped for rain last Sat and only got half a cloud.

I would give the spot back. I'm superstitious though.

Non-Stop Mom said...

I was in that race with you, but I was one of the last ones to finish - I'm nowhere near a "runner" and do a walk/jog combo instead, but at least I'm getting out there. I had a total hip replacement 3 years ago and love to see the looks on people's faces when I tell them that, and then that I'm planning to do a half-marathon - priceless!

That rain was unreal - at least you got out of it faster than I did! ;)

Great job and congrats!!


Ali Mc said...

Ok so - I hate feet! NEVER do that to me again ;) lol

but wow those pics of you do look like RW ones, so pro! and you're fast, especially considering the conditions. GREAT JOB!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ouch, your foot looks very painful...I love running in the rain but a downpour, not so much! Great job on your finish time and placement.

Being Robinson said...

who are you calling fair weather wussies.... HMMMM???! ;) please note the reason i didn't run this race wasn't because of rain, but because of life. that said, congrats on a nice race, man! makes me sad i didn't get to do it this year. see ya soon!