Peoria Heights Half Marathon

I did this as a runner last year (2:01). This year, I power walked it (note to racewalkers: my support leg wasn’t close to having a straight knee, at least on my right side) In terms of legality: I would have been fine walking in front of a Centurion judge (perhaps I would have been a bit more cautious on the downhills) but racewalk judges would have given me a ticker tape parade of red cards on my right knee.

Just the facts:


Weather: a bit breezy…but…well, it is unrealistic to expect any better weather than we had today. It was beautiful.
The course: there were a couple of good climbs on Grandview drives and you saw these twice.

My splits:

22:21 (2 mile)
11:19 (33:41)
22:55 (56:36 at 5)
11:51 (whew! 1:08:27 at 6)
10:39 (starting to feel better..and a tailwind)
11:14 (1:30:21 at mile 8)
10:30 (1:51:40 at 10) Yes the last two were downhill. ๐Ÿ™‚
11:01 (back uphill; 2:13:07 at 12)
12:18 for 1.1 (2:25:26 finish)

The story: I decided to NOT trash my legs by running this; I really want to run a decent mile and 5K this season. And I wanted to get a baseline for my planned September walking marathon.
I’ll say it: my starting pace was too fast for a full marathon; I would be all but guaranteed to blow up if I tried to go out at this pace. Forget my finishing pace; I need to do some 12-12:30 paced training.

But, I think that I have a good starting point to BEGIN marathon walk training.

I went in with the idea of starting at the back and staying humble; I really forced myself to get good and warmed up prior to pushing it. I did a 1 mile warm up walk prior but I was still not quite ready.
We went around a mini 1.2 mile loop and I was well at the back of the pack; I could see Theresa (purple top, black tights) and Jennifer (pink top, grey tights) in the distance. I was sort of staying even with a gray haired GILF in black tights; I am not sure as to what happened to her. I didn’t see her holding a relay baton. But her device went off saying “0.89 miles; 11:10 pace” which told me that I was doing what I was supposed to do.

We did the loop and then turned to Grandview to head out. Here you had some downhill and I focused on “keeping it a walk” (one point of contact at all times). I was gaining on Jennifer but not on Theresa at this point and I finally caught Jennifer at close to mile 2. I sort of did not want to pass her…but it was a race. ๐Ÿ™‚

I enjoyed seeing the faster runners on their way back. That is one of the things that I like about this pretty but challenging multiple out-and-back course: I get to see the greyhounds that I might not ordinarily see. It feels good to cheer for others. I was to see Terry, Pat (both the ag lab scientist and the engineer who was to finish 4’th), Steve (my doctor), Chris (a gazelle in human skin), Crystal, and others.

We came to the end of the loop and started back UP those hills we came down. I could see Theresa slow a bit and we leapfrogged a bit. Her ever patient husband was on the course, taking photos. I also leap frogged a bit with Andrew during this stretch (Andrew had finished the Mc-not-again 30 miler last fall)

Finally, we get to the top of the hill and turn right to go down Prospect. We were just before 10K. I knew that the rough part was over so I stepped up the pace a bit; I focused on pushing off with my back foot, rolling on my toe a bit. That helped and I was to more or less hold that faster pace.

People were dying a bit here and I tried to catch as many as I could. I saw some more of the leaders; Pat (the scientist) taunted me a bit about “sprinting the last 5K” (she was to run 1:52). I saw Shevun too; we had talked about open water swimming prior to the race.

Miles 7 and 8 came quickly; some young people yelled “nothing good comes easy”. Then it was a left turn onto Grandview again for the second out and back. I was about 1:30 and thinking “15 years ago, I’d be within 5-10 minutes of finishing the run”. But this isn’t 15 years ago, and I was walking so I knew I had just under an hour left.

Down the hill we went and I caught myself starting to “lift”; I calmed it down. By then I was doing the “find the runner in front of me, catch her (sometimes a him), pass her, aim for the next, repeat.” A few tried to hold me off, but if I was catching them at this point, they were already whipped and just hanging on. I’ve been there, many times.

It only started to get bad between miles 10 and 11 (back up the hill) but I was still holding a decent pace and when I saw mile 12, I told myself: “ok, even a sorry sack of s**t can hang on for 12-13 minutes…GET GOING”.

I was relived to see the Heights Tower come into view because that meant we had about .5 miles left.

Water: I took water about 3-4 times and skipped a couple of stations. That was sufficient, for a race of this duration in these conditions.

After: during the race, I heard “Professor Nanyes” a few times. A student was there, and she wanted to take a photo with me after the race. I obliged…telling her I wasn’t responsible for any damage I caused to the camera lens.

Just after that, I saw Theresa coming in with Jennifer about 15 seconds behind her. I yelled something about “my favorite running babes” but both were exhausted.

But..bless her, Theresa went out for 7 more miles as she wanted to get 20 miles in. She is training for the Illinois Marathon in 2 weeks; Jennifer is doing the half (with the 5K the day before, I think). I predict that both will be successful.

April 12, 2014 - Posted by | Friends, walking |


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