Capital City 1/2 Marathon '18 By Tristan It's been a while since I raced... last September. Winter, like usual, was mostly all just easy runs, with occasional long-ish runs. But early in 2018 I started devising a plan to rock this half marathon that was April 28th. For the first time ever I was debating following a real training plan. Well ok, I did debate such a thing once before, but quickly dismissed as I'd never be able to follow it with my hectic schedule. Still the same schedule is an issue, but over the years I've managed my time a little better and also have become a much better runner. Another big factor, this time attempting to train I am single. While it's not the relationship status I want, it does certainly free up a lot of time and allow me to postpone various housework and not get yelled at. So I decided to go for Hal Higdon's advanced plan. It might have been a bit much, but I felt I should be able to tackle it - at least with knowing that I'd likely have to miss several workouts due to my shift schedule. I'd do my best but the occasional 72hr weeks I do just don't lend themselves to getting a daily workout in. Last year was a special race for me, at this race it was the very first time I broke 1:30 for a half marathon. And I didn't even realize it but it was my 10th one. This year I'd try to beat that, and it'll be my 12th half, and the 6th time I've run in the Cap City Half. Training went well, though doing all the speed workouts was a struggle, I'm used to just going out and running moderate pace with just a faster workout in every couple weeks. I did my best, having to tweak and swap days around in the plan to better fit my shiftwork. I ended up missing about a third of the plan's workouts, mostly in the first half. Towards the end of the 12 week plan I was just about hitting the training dead on. But disaster struck the very last week. On Monday of race week I got called in to work. Monday was to be my last speedwork day, 6x 400m @5k pace. Ever since DST I had started to run after my dayshifts, but only the easy runs. But I felt I was up to it and did the best warmup I had ever done and proceeded with the 400m repeats. On the 5th one I suddenly felt a big twinge of pain shoot up my left calf. I stopped and stretched out, and did a slow jog back. I continued with easy runs the rest of the week, massaging and stretching the calf as best as I could. I could still feel it a bit tight but no pain, so hoping it was just a minor thing that would pass, and I continued with my plan to race. Fingers crossed. Around 13,000 runners & walkers in the event which include the 1/2, 1/4, and 5k. I parked and went to my building (I work nearby the start, downtown) and did a nice long warmup running around the cafeteria and then some stretching. Then I met up with Yvonne (also from BRS here) and we headed to the start. Well it turns out she forgot her race bib so she was in quite a frenzy, and we had to part ways at the corral but luckily she did find some help and was able to get bib reprinted and back to the corrals just as C was taking off (I had already left in A). And we're off! I started maybe a couple - few hundred back from the front. I like to still pass a few people so middle or further back of A corral works for me. Things were looking good the first couple miles, but it didn't take much longer and I felt the calf twinge again. I kept going, and the pain didn't seem to bother too much. Probably a dumb move, I know. It may have faded a bit, but started getting much worse at about the halfway point, between that and some cramping in the side of my lungs I started slowing. I did my best to hang in there, but my goals of a 6:35 pace were pretty shot. Approaching the finish line. And across the line in 1:28:18! Average pace was 6:45 min/mi, not too far behind the 6:35 target I was shooting for, and good enough for a personal best at this race! Was doing so well those first few miles... Goodies! A local brewery made a limited release especially for the Cap City half marathon, how cool is that! Yvonne and I hanging out after the race enjoying complimentary Patron Margaritas! So I did end up getting a PR (atleast for a loop course, I had 1 half marathon last year faster but it was slightly negative elevation gain on a point-to-point course). I beat last years time by about a minute. But the last two Cap Cities I dropped about 5 minutes each year. So it's hard to say with the injury if the intense training was much more effective than my less rigorous method. I guess I'll just have to try again next time! The calf was really sore afterward, couldn't even do a cool down jog. Since then it's recovering nicely, and I am definitely taking the recovery easy and going to give it the best shot at recovering fully. And I'll just have to make it a rule not to do any hard runs after a dayshift, I'll just have to completely wipe that thought from my mind. My legs are just too stiff after sitting for 12-14 hrs. The race was a blast and weather was decent for running. A fine course for us barefooters, and nice huge grassy area for the after party. One other interesting tidbit from the race, it's the first half marathon I didn't drink any water. I wasn't even thirsty for half or more of it, maybe the last third I was but I just felt like my stomach wouldn't agree so I pushed on without. Had I been more thirsty I probably would have, but on a day in the 40's it wasn't a big deal. Still I wonder if it would have aided performance or not. I've heard the elite runners drink the least and are the most dehydrated, but I have no idea if they don't drink at all or what. I've got a long way to go to elite status, scratch that as I'll never be elite working rotating shiftwork, but at least each year I'm still getting faster! Depending on how the calf goes I have a couple other big races this year... 18 miler in August and full marathon in October I am signed up for. Either or both I may back down to the half if I'm not up to it.