PACKER PACKS A PODIUM PUNCH
King of the roads, cyclist-come-runner, and Stablemate, Ryan Packer ran a huge PB to take third in his age group at this year’s Hobble Creek half marathon.
Packer packed a punch with a mind-boggling 6’ PB. Here’s his race recap:
“Overall, I felt good about the race. I have to remember it’s my 2nd running race ever, and my first where I’ve been training and ran the event like a race. As you know, I’ve been pretty uncertain about how fast I should try to run, but I like having a plan. I also know that I do better mentally in time trials when I’m ahead of schedule, so I tend to set plans a little conservatively and then try to beat them.
With that in mind, I had worked out splits that took into account the elevation of the course and slightly positive splits that would net a 1:27:30.
I was concerned about going out too fast and I was worried that if I saw I was behind schedule in that first mile it would mess with my head, so I decided to not look at my watch for the first mile. That was a mistake. Running on feel was deceptive and I totally got sucked into running with people that were faster than me. I felt great. Effort in the first mile seemed ok and sustainable, but when I checked my pace at the end of the first mile, I knew I had gone out too fast. I told myself to really slow down, and I felt like I did, but after running 5:51 in the first mile, 6:14 felt slow, but was still too fast. Made the same mental commitment after miles 2 and 3, and I did pull back each time, but it wasn’t until after those first four miles that I really settled down and found my pace. Hopefully the experience will help me get better at that in the future.
Miles 5 and 6 felt good, but I was about a minute and 40 seconds ahead of my plan. On the one hand, I felt good about it. On the other hand, I was really nervous that I had gone out way too fast and would pay for it. I kept trying to dial it down just a little and told myself it was ok to give back some of the time I had banked. I’m not really sure what happened on mile 7. The first hill is in that mile. I was trying to not charge the hills as much as I did in my preview run. Maybe that contributed. I also fuelled during that mile. I wonder if the distraction of getting fuel out of the pocket and nursing the gel for several minutes slowed me down a bit. I also slowed to almost a stop to grab and drink a little water. Miles 8, 9, and 10 felt good. Started taking the second gel in the middle of mile 10.
Mile 11 has the only real hill on the course. I think that and stopping for water at the very beginning of the mile threw me off a bit. I also had in my head that mile 12 is by far the hardest mile of this course and I was still worried that I had gone out too fast. Might have held back a bit.
I’m mostly fine with miles 12 and 13, but a little disappointed. I don’t know if I could have pushed myself harder, but at that point I knew I was going to be below 1:26 as long as I didn’t blow up, and I also knew there was no way I was going to get below 1:25. I felt like I was pushing really hard, but I wonder if I could have dug a little deeper and shaved off 10-20 seconds in those last two miles.
Split 14: I gained a ton of time over my plan by running the course tangent to tangent. When I finished I was pretty happy to be 3 minutes faster than my preview run and more than 6 minutes faster than my other half marathon. I was pretty tired for a few minutes, but by the time Alissa finished about 10 minutes later, I felt good. No real aches or pains. Energy was good. I started feeling like I didn’t leave it all on the course, while simultaneously thinking I really tried to go faster in mile 12. I still don’t really know, but I don’t think I could have gone a lot faster.
Bronzing himself on a private beach in Crete, The Stablemsater told The Stable News: “It’s incredible to see how quickly Ryan’s taking to running. In only his second ever race, he’s just run 1:26 for a half marathon—he’s only been training a few months too. He has a lot to learn but he’s brining over quality training knowledge from cycling—we just need to fine-tune things for running: there a number of important differences but he’s getting it quickly. Fantastic run, great PB, and excellent to grab a podium. Would you mind passing my apple martini? I’m such an epicurean.”