Today I’m posting about my race experience in the Tel Aviv Half Marathon, just my running, and soon I’ll do a general race review.
I had a pretty easy night the night before the race, except for a little someone keeping me up for an hour in the middle of the night.
Still, I managed to wake up refreshed and energetic.
I wasn’t planning on getting up extremely early, just an hour before I had to leave the house, but ended up getting up about 2 hours in advance. I think this was positive, and will take it into consideration for next race, it was good to be up and done with eating and drinking earlier.
I left the house around 6:15, I had to laugh at myself, not looking like I’m about to run a race, at all:
What I actually wore to the race:
Mizuno Wave Rider 16, Red
Marathon Pro Compression Socks
Athleta Presto Shorts
The race’s website had listed a few parking lots around the race area, and I went straight to one of the closest ones and it was already packed. I didn’t look for parking for long and figured it would be a waste of time anyway, better go (and fast) to next one. So I went and found parking easily.
I walked/ran to the race site, about 2KM/1.2M, got there about 7:30. My start time was 8:00 so that’s pretty good. Since I had already warmed up on my way there, I just took my time getting through to my corral, walking around a bit, and using the restrooms at the gas station right by the start line.
By then it was about 7:50, I stood in place, ate a GU (salted caramel, finally I tried it and it was delicious), and by exactly 8:00 we were off.
Warming up before the start:
I had stood around the middle lines of the pack of people at the start, I know a lot of the people in my corral would run faster than me. I also don’t want to be that annoying runner stuck in the middle that everyone has to pass.
I started running easy, although I had a lot of people in front of me, and some people passing me as well. I knew what paces I wanted to run, and I wasn’t about to go out too fast, not the first few KMs for sure. I like to shut off in races, not compete with anyone, go by my watch.
Half Marathoners first group start. I’m there somewhere towards the back.
By the 5th KM I was pushing a bit too much. Nothing major, but I was gaining a few seconds to my goal pace every KM. I didn’t feel it in my legs but I saw it in my watch, and wondered if it would affect me in the end.
I ate a 2nd gel at the 9th KM, and knew the second half of the race was “push” time. Not as fast as I can go, but as fast as I should go for a half marathon distance. I think I had a good plan in terms of paces.
By now the roads weren’t as crowded with runners, and I also started to pass people. I saw that with every KM that went by, I was running more comfortably, with less people around. I knew I still had about 7KM to go, at a hard pace to keep, but I was in a good place mentally, feeling good, great weather, not a lot of people around me.. all I had to do was keep it up.
And then, like I posted after the race, the big setback of the race happened, we merged with the 10K’ers. Thousands of them. Seriously, this was tough. I was weaving like crazy, I had to slow down, and I didn’t know I was still in the right course because there were markers but who knows, maybe I missed one? With all those people, I lost sight of the few half marathoners that I’d seen around me earlier.
I never came back from that. I kept it up as much as I could but it took a toll on me. I slowed down and I wasn’t feeling great anymore. The last 2KMs were the worst, look at those splits below, crazy slow down.
I can’t say exactly what was that made me slow down, definitely merging with so many people late in the race played a big part, but there were a couple other mistakes I made that might have played a part, I ran faster than I intended from the 3rd KM until the 9th, and I also didn’t drink. I don’t drink during long runs of the half marathon distance, but then a long run is not at the same effort as an actual race. My side was hurting the last 2KMs and I think that’s a sign of dehydration. Lesson learned, I will drink water in my next half marathon.
I crossed the finish line basically beat. I even forgot to turn off my watch right away. We had to keep walking for about 200 mtrs to the ‘after race’ area, and I couldn’t. I sat on the side of the road to breathe and calm down, my side was hurting and I felt dizzy.
I sat for a few minutes and then continued walking, since I was desperate for water. I had 3 half litter (16 fl. oz.) bottles, one right after the other.
The after area was nice, it was in the park and there were stands of merchandise (I didn’t even look, the usual race expo stands), water, yogurt. I didn’t see any food besides the yogurt, weird and big time bad. Please, give me food. I just ran a half marathon for god’s sake.
There were lots of people coming by as the half marathoners and the 10K’ers were finishing pretty much together. I was lucky enough to find a few of my friends, so we stayed talking and walking around for about an hour before going home.
I really like the atmosphere at races, being surrounded by people who love to run, who like to exercise and be healthy, I just love it. I know I could randomly start talking to any of those people and we’d have something in common to talk about. How cool is that.
Official Time: 01:38:57
Overall Place: 586 out of 7569
Women’s Place: 25 out of 1665
Category (35-39) place: 7 out of 287
Overall, the whole race went by fast, and well. This was only my 2nd half marathon, and it was nothing like my first, this time it seemed so much easier.
For good or bad, there were a lot more people here, more energy, awesome route (I love Tel Aviv), and I also have a few more long runs under my belt, so it played well.
It wasn’t perfect, but a good race for me, despite the end, and even the bad I’ll take as a good learning experience.