Zombie 1/2 Marathon Preview

This Saturday, I’ll be running in my second 1/2 Marathon – the Zombie 1/2 Marathon here in Anchorage.

From what I can tell, this appears to be a pretty low-key event. There aren’t any chip timers, and it’s unclear from the web site whether there will even be any aid stations, though I should be able to get that cleared up when I pick up my bib this afternoon. The 1/2 Marathon was limited to 500 entrants (there’s also a full marathon and the “Undead Ultra” 50k), but for whatever reason, only the first 350 finishers get a medal. So depending on how I do, I may not even get anything to show for my effort. Of course, the medal isn’t the reason I do this, but it is a nice little memento to have. And I can only imagine how cool a zombie medal would look! 🙂

I finished my first 1/2 Marathon in 2:05:52. I would certainly like to improve on that this time around, even finishing in under 2 hours if I can manage it, but there are several variables at play that could make this an interesting run.

First and foremost is the weather. The race starts at 10am, so I expect the temperature around that time to be in the 30-40°F range, which is more or less what I’ve been running in the last couple of weeks, so the cold shouldn’t be a big factor. So far, we don’t have any snow (knock on wood), but it could easily happen any day now. If there’s fresh snow and/or ice on the ground, that’s definitely going to slow me down. According to my trusty ol’ iPhone, they are calling for a rain/snow mix today, and rain tomorrow – yuck!

The other big variable is the course itself. For one thing, it’s definitley a bit hillier than my first 1/2 Marathon. Nothing too huge, but still a factor.

I’m very familiar with the first 4 miles or so of the course, as that’s where I’ve been doing many of my long runs lately, and it was also part of the course for my last race. This section is almost entirely flat, so no worries there.

The next 4-ish miles I’m also pretty familiar with, as I’ve ran/walked/biked that section of the Coastal Trail a decent number of times. The first 2 miles of this section are fairly flat, but in the last 2 miles, you start to come into some decent-size hills.

But it’s the last 5-ish miles of the course that have me worried, as I’ve never been on that part of the trail, and really have no idea what to expect. I mapped that part of the course out in Google Earth, and the hills don’t look too bad, but it’s also kind of hard to get a good sense of size at that scale, so that could end up going either way.

One other thing I’m very excited about is that I recently purchased a Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS watch with heart rate monitor. I’ve been able to play around with it some on my shorter runs this week, but this race will be my first “real” experience with it. I’ve learned from the past that I have almost NO idea when it comes to pacing myself, so having a tool like this should be very useful for me. Plus, I’m a geek and like to see all the numbers and graphs that this thing pumps out. 🙂

What are you doing this weekend to be healthy?

10 thoughts on “Zombie 1/2 Marathon Preview

  1. Good luck on the race!! I guess something like this that potentially doesn’t offer tangible proof that you were there is a test..lets you flex your deeper reasons for this whole journey.

    Rain is forecasted all weekend in my area, so riding is out…but I got a cool new contraption at the healthy life expo called the Nat Gym that promises to give me some sexy lookin’ guns! So, THAT’s what I’ll be focusing on this weekend!

  2. Hey Brandon, good luck this weekend. I would recommend not wearing your HRM for this race. Or at least turning off all of the beeps that it makes and not having the Garmin display it during the race. The last thing you need is to look down at your watch and have it reading 220! OMG that’s high. Look at the numbers afterwards, sure, but race by how you feel, not by the number on the watch.

    And definitely pace yourself. When I race, the only two fields I have are elapsed time and AVERAGE Pace. 2 big numbers to look at, nothing else to worry about. Maybe I’d add distance in there but really the distance doesn’t matter because you have to get to the end either way, right? And your garmin’s distance WILL be different than the course distance—usually longer unfortunately.

    Whatever you decide, have an awesome race!

  3. Thanks Mac! And thanks for the tips on the Garmin. I had already planned on not having my heart rate display during the race, but still wear it so I can look at the numbers later.

  4. Thetreadmilldiaries

    Good luck with your race tomorrow. How do I get a Zombie marathon near us? Would love to mix Halloween and running together.

    This weekend I’ll be doing some bike training for a Duathlon on Halloween Day. My running’s under control but I haven’t paid as much attention to cycling. Looking to get in 10 miles tomorrow.

  5. Hope you have a fun time at the half-marathon!

  6. I can! Ya, we can synchronize our swatches after all. That looks challenging, truly, I’m sorry about that weather but have some good socks, maybe rub down those feet with something before the race and you’re set!

    I second Mac’s heart rate idea. It’s not as important if you feel really good. I never thought about that and maybe one day I’ll email you my graph, it is NOT recommended but I felt great cardiovascular wise the whole time.

    You’re a smart guy, you’ll figure it out.

    I will be thinking about ya tomorrow and keeping my fingers crossed for a healthy, injury free race and a stiff tail wind.

    And I want to post that recap too! hint hint

  7. Thanks Rita, the race went great! I’m glad I took yours and Mac’s advice and didn’t watch my heart rate during the race, because it was definitely higher than I would have expected. My average was 175, and max was 187. But I’m really glad I had the Garmin to help keep my pace, I think it played a big role in my finish time.

    And yes, I’d love to have you post the recap at Fitblogger too 🙂

  8. Glad the race went well Brandon!

    That weather looks just as disgusting as the weather here in Montreal…

  9. Ugh, I’m so behind on blog reading…hope your 1/2 went well!!!

  10. Nice zombie pics on your next post by the way. Couldn’t comment cause it was closed for some reason.

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