May 13

PR Hunting

Two weeks ago, Jennie and I did the Rivertown Races Half Marathon & 5k. Half Marathon for me. 5k for Jennie and Nate. This was a fantastic race! Especially considering the fact that most of GR was underwater and the race had to be relocated at the last minute. Despite the relocation, they put on a near flawless race for their inaugural year. My goal for the race was to improve my PR from a couple weeks earlier (1:31:06) and officially best my unofficial PR (1:29:XX) that I ran during the first half of last year’s Woodland Marathon.

I met up with a couple guys from the RunGR group before the race. They are both much faster than I but figured that I could try and pace off of them a least early on. As soon as the gun went off, I took off and quickly found my groove. I knew that I would have to shoot for a 6:50 pace to hit my goal. After getting comfortable in my pace, I hit the first mile in 6:27. Yikes. A little too fast. I tried to hold up a bit for mile 2 and pulled back to a 6:36. Better, but still fast. However, I was comfortable, so I decided to just go with it. I kept my teammates in sight in front of me and used them to judge my speed. Around mile 4, I had a guy catch me and I chatted with him for about a mile before I dropped back. It is nice how much having someone to run with makes the time fly by.

In no time, we hit the turnaround point of the out and back course. It was a small race so I knew I was only 12 or 13 guys back from leaders at the turn. I was still feeling great and at that point and I knew that I pretty much had my goal in the bag unless something catastrophic happened.

The back half of the course had quite a bit of uphills which explains why my early miles were so fast – they were downhill and I didn’t realize it. The worst of the hills were from miles 9 & 10 where my pace dropped to just over 7:00 min/mile pace. I got passed by a couple people during this stretch but as soon as the course flattened back out, I picked the pace back up. I was super impressed with how much cheering the fellow runners did. I felt like I had a constant stream of cheering and I passed runners still headed out to the turn around. I did my best to smile, clap, and return the cheers.

In no time, I was on the last mile. Up until this point, the miles seemed to just be clicking by with relative ease. The final mile, however, seemed to take forever. At each corner, I could see two people (one of whom I knew) behind me and I was determined to hold them off. As I passed by the one runner’s husband and daughter, I could hear them cheer her name so I knew she was right on my heals. It gave me the motivation I needed to keep the pace up.


In the end, I managed to hold them both off and finished in 1:27:57 – good enough for 15/145 OA and 6th in my age group. A whopping 3+ minute PR! I can’t wait until I turn 30 this summer though. This makes for the 3rd race of the year where I would have podiumed in the 30-34 age group. haha. Oh well!


We followed up the Rivertown Races with the River Bank Run this past weekend. This is 9th year in a row that I have done the 25k – gotta keep the streak alive. Out of all those years, there is only one year where I haven’t gotten a PR, and I was hunting another one. I have had the goal of going sub-1:50 in my head since late last year so that is what I was shooting for. Actually, after doing the math, I was modified my goal to 1:48:30 which would be a 7:00 min/mile pace.

We got to the race super early because the 5k started at 7:20 and Jennie was running it. I had hoped to watch her race before I started at 8:20, but because of a new staggered start, it took Jennie over 15 minutes to even cross the start line. I was able to see her get started, but by that time, I had to start to get ready myself.


I lined up with the 7:00 pace group at the start. My intention was to stick with them until the halfway point and then work on picking up the pace if I felt good. That isn’t quite how it turned out though. Right out of the gate, I set my own pace and clicked off the first two miles at 6:50-ish. A few miles later and I had already built up a full minute buffer between myself and the 7:00 pace group.

In the past, I have sort of struggled with my pace a bit at this race because there are so many people. I do better in smaller groups and often having all the other runners around makes it harder for me to focus on my own race. Not this year though. I completely zoned out, found a groove, and ran my own race.

The hills of Butterworth slowed me down a bit as usual but I was taking them in stride and not discouraged. However, at mile 13 the wheels really started to fall off and I had to hold on for dear life. This is totally my fault as my training for this race was a bit sub-par. My 2 long runs leading up to the race were two half marathons; I never ran the full 15.5 miles ahead of time. Nor did I do the recommended hill workouts. I paid for it during the final 2.5 miles.


Thankfully I held the final miles at a 7:00 min/mile pace so that I could hit my goal. I crossed the finish line in 1:47:58 shattering my previous PR by 6+ minutes! I couldn’t be more happy with the results.


After the race we cleaned up and met up with the RunGR group for some Mexican recovery food before promptly passing out on the couch for a long nap.

Thanks for reading!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ironmanbythirty.com/2013/05/13/pr-hunting


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  1. Matt Smith

    You are KILLING your races. (Get it? PR Hunting?) 🙂 Way to be, buddy! I admire your mental toughness to push through the hurt and meet your goals. Way to go to Jennie and Nate too! That’s just cool! Plus, getting your picture in the paper is awesome.

    Thanks for a Neumann update. I needed a fix!
    Matt Smith recently posted..Missing In Action (Emphasis on Action)

  2. Derek

    wow you are on fire
    1:27 is rockin. …the half I used to quali for NYC Marathon was serious downhill grade the entire race and I could only manage 1:29….cant imagine shaving another two minutes on a non downhill course….way to go!!

    you should line up an emergency 26.2 to fire off a BQ or wait for the extra 5 minutes next age group? I would meet you at Grandmas which would be perfect course for you.
    Nice running Jennie!


  3. Renee

    Awesome job on your accomplishments and on the IMWI, I know that’s supposed to be the toughest IM in the country. I’m preparing for my first HIM now and want to do an IM as well. I was wondering if you’d be able to send me your training program from the week by week training guide by Fitzgerald. I’ve created 4 already and know how time consuming it can be to do them. If you could forward it along that would be so helpful! I think you wrote you did the level 5 with some of your own marathon training mixed in? Good luck and great job on all of your success, Renee renholter@aol.com

  4. Brent

    You should be wanting to get in the 30-34s. Hell, I even place in this age group sometimes. It’s really very sad up here. Congrats on the PR!
    Brent recently posted..The Tour de Crim

  5. Morgan

    6 min PR?!?!? Damn son! Your really rocked it! Also, I love that Jennie and Nate made the press. So awesome. I can’t believe next years race will be your decade anniversary of doing so! Nuts!
    Morgan recently posted..3 Things Thursday

  6. Scott

    Wait??? So running races do not have the same rules as triathlons with your age? I have never done a triathlon with my true age listed, that stupid rule always has me listed older, even though I was ever that age all race season.

    Cant wait till I am 39 and lumped into the 40-44 AG all year, already depressed thinking about it

    Congrats on the 3 min PR
    Scott recently posted..T-Shirt Etiquette Guidelines

  7. Chris

    Great races!!! I’m jealous. 😉

  8. Viper

    Hot dang, congrats to both of you! Cheers!
    Viper recently posted..Damn Cold Snap

  9. Beth

    Great job on your PR’s!! It’s funny that you cannot wait to move up in your age group – my goal is to out-live my competition so I can start placing in the top 3! 🙂
    Beth recently posted..Melanoma Monday

  10. lindsay

    woot woot! nice work kevin. congrats on the 3-min PR and sub 1:30! i think i’d still rather claim the 25-29 age group even if i wasn’t placing 😉

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