Categories
Life events

I ran a half-marathon!

On Sunday I ran the Dexter-Ann Arbor half marathon (DX-A2)! In my goal time of under two hours (1:56:44) and feeling good.

It all came together: enough training, perfect weather, and good strategy in terms of pace, nutrition, etc. I even got a bib number that was an omen of good fortune: 777. Going into the race, my longest run ever had been 10 miles just a couple weeks earlier. This Sunday was the longest run of my life.

Here I am, barreling toward the finish line.

The Race

It was hard to pick a pace target to aim for. An online calculator suggested that based on some old Turkey Trot 5K times, I could run 13.1 miles in 1:12:00, and I’m more fit now than I was in those races. On the other hand, most of my training mileage was at speeds of 10-10:30 per mile, so it seemed like a stretch to think I could maintain 8:35/mile for two hours. In the end, I shot for the classic target of sub-2 hours, and I’d felt good running big chunks of my long runs at that pace.

I didn’t want to go out too fast and jeopardize my chances of finishing, but it turns out I could have sped up. The race felt surprisingly easy, which felt bizarre then and still feels strange to type. I chatted with one of the 9:00/mi pacers during miles 6-12, agreeing around mile 10 that based on how I felt I should speed up in the last mile. My pace over my last 1.1 miles was more like 8:15/mi, uphill.

I like making new friends and it was fun to pass the time talking with my pacer, Mr. 1820.

I knew this race was a big deal for me, but I was surprised by how many friends and family encouraged me, and how much that meant to me. My wife and kids cheered me at the finish line (“daddy you ran so far, good job!”); my extended family asked questions and gave me props as I trained; my friends at the office and online congratulated me; and tons of strangers along the course shouted encouragement. Especially when I can look at runners who run faster and longer and think, maybe this wasn’t a big deal, it’s validating that friends and family show love.

Categories
Biking Data analysis

Strava traffic on William St. Bikeway

The William St. Bikeway officially opened last weekend, though it is not yet finished and is in fact entirely closed in segments as construction is finished.  Here I am with my boy at the grand opening:

Sam and son biking on the new bikeway
A street that safely accommodates my four-year-old

I realized I should grab a “before” shot of the Strava cycling heatmap so I can eventually compare it to “after.” [the hardest part of data analysis is collecting the right data].  I took this November 1st, 2019, though a week ago would have been better:

heatmap showing cycling traffic on the Strava app

In it we see that William is less popular for East/West travel than either Liberty or Washington. This might have been due to its more peripheral location at the south edge of downtown, confusing lane changes, and higher traffic speeds.  The latter two are mitigated by the protected bike lane.

Will we see traffic spike? The biggest increase in ridership will likely be in the non-Strava-using crowd, i.e., regular people.  And that will be my explanation if this heatmap looks the same a year from now.  I’m not sure if those cycling for sport will find the protected lane more appealing.  The data service Strava Metro would allow for better analysis of this question, including  looking at those rides tagged as “commutes”, but I don’t have access to that data.

Incidentally, I’m curious about the “advisory bike lane” unprotected segment between First and Fourth.  With winter approaching, I don’t expect that segment to be painted anytime soon.  An informational poster on William St. describes how it will work and it doesn’t sound like anything I have seen around Ann Arbor.