This was supposed to be the redemption race. After missing last year’s turnaround in this race, I knew that if I turned around at the turnaround, I’d already beaten last year’s performance. But past that, I had set another goal: 2:58:30; just under 5 minutes ahead of my personal best 13.1 time, 3:03:39 at Minneapolis 2011.
I used the same website for this race that I used for Grandma’s 2012: tazrunning.com. For all the races that they have in their inventory, they have elevation built into the pacing, and you can tweak all sorts of things. This was supposed to be my race (including the fact that I am slower going up hills and steady coming down hills):
Looks more than reasonable, right? I needed an average of about 13:34/mile to make my goal. And this pace chart factored in the hills in the middle of the course. Perfect!
Race day dawned cloudy, with rain on the way, for a 2nd year in a row. We stayed at a great Airbnb lodging, and it felt like getting ready at home before the race. I was able to walk 1.2 miles to the race start, and ditched my fleece, since it was much warmer than anticipated.
I knew I needed to wait for the potty, so the starting gun went off before I was out of line. I wasn’t worried…. My time would start when I crossed the line with my chip. I made it through the line and took a deep breath as I crossed the finish line. All I could see in my head was 2:58:30 on the clock when I came back across this line. Below is the race, as it unfolded (My Garmin was picking up mile splits slightly before I reached the mile markers on the course, usually 0.1 mile or less).
I paid for my 2 minute lead over the pace chart after mile 7, when I just didn’t have any oomph left. I also managed not to Gu as much as I had planned. I didn’t have my first Gu till mile 5, so I didn’t have another one till mile 10. There should have been one more in there. For future half marathons, even races like this that have wonderful and frequent water support, I need to carry a bottle with me so that I can just Gu every 45-50 min and have water to do it, regardless of where the water is on course.
Clearing mile 6 in 1:20:30 is not far off of my 10K race pace, where I can pretty reliably do 6.22 miles in 1:20 or so. The problem with doing the 1st 10k of this race at 10K pace? Of course, anyone can see that I still had another 10K plus to go. The rain was really coming down in the middle section of the race, and I was having a ball… my exuberance on the hills got me into trouble.
I really struggled in mile 12, and walked more than I ran, sadly. Mile 13 was a slog, but it was good to see Sean (who is running with me in the photo above, as I approached the finish), Rose, Will, Athena, and David. I tried to sprint to the end, but didn’t have much in the tank. I came across in 3:03:32, per my Garmin, and I crossed in 3:03:30 per the race results. I’m taking the race results, and calling it my new personal best for the 13.1, by 9 seconds over my race results for Minneapolis 2011, my 1st half marathon. And, to be fair to myself, I did this 13.1 the week after doing a duathlon, so I’m pretty happy with how both races turned out, back to back like they were.
I decided this weekend that I am absolutely going back to do this race next year – I’m going to do this race until it’s sunny and/or I break 3 hours for a 13.1 mile race.
I need to work on pacing in my training. This year, I focused on distances, and didn’t really regulate pace that much, figuring finishing was the thing. Now I want to work on getting faster, and if I can’t do that, I at least want to be more predictable/steady/etc.
That will be my focus over the winter – building a good base in 3 to 6 mile distances, and focusing more on 5K and 10K races in 2013. I’ll pencil in Iron Girl again and the Maine 13.1, and hopefully they’ll be 2 weekends apart. I’m going to work on training to the pace I hope to achieve, since I didn’t do that for this race, and I saw how that turned out.
After a well-deserved shower, I met up with Rose, Will, & Athena, David, Joanna & Trevor, and Kate, Kevin, & Isaac for lunch and watched the first part of the Patriots game. What a great way to celebrate another half-marathon finish — with great friends. They may not understand why anyone would run 13.1 miles, but they are supportive of me doing it, especially since they know they’ll definitely see me once a year as a result.
It was a great race and I’m glad I did it for a 2nd year in a row. Hoping the 3rd time’s a charm next year.