"The Sower" - The statue on top of the Nebraska State Capital building in Lincoln
My writing on this blog has been pretty heavy on Philosophy recently. Well, today I'm going to write a good old fashioned race report.
I signed up for Lincoln around New Years. I didn't quite know how much time I'd have to train at that point. Unfortunately it's been more than I expected. So I decided to make the most of it.
The Half Marathon has always been a good distance for me. My PR is right around 1:10 - which is a little more solid than my marathon PR of 2:32. Half marathons are great events - they are long enough that you feel like you've really accomplished something - but they generally don't leave you crippled like a marathon can.
Having not run an all-out half for close to four years - I didn't really know what I was capable of. I just kind of picked a number out of a hat for my goal. I decided on 1:15. I also decided to get under 1:15 I needed to focus more on my running (rather than cycling and swimming) - and do some proper half marathon workouts.
The key workout for me in the past has been two mile repeats with two minutes rest. I build up from two to four repeats over 6-8 weeks. I also made sure to get in a "proper" long run each week - which for me is 17 miles.
My last 4X2 mile workout went 11:20, 11:01, 10:58, 10:50. So basically I started off at 5:40 per mile pace and ended in 5:25 per mile pace. In general, it's good to keep an even pace in workout or maybe get 5-10 seconds per mile faster - but my last one was so much faster than my first - it was hard for me to judge exactly what that meant. I decided that a pace in the high 5:30's was possible - but part of me wasn't sure - because my best 5 miler of the winter was at 5:38 pace - and it was a pretty hard effort.
The weather this morning was pretty much perfect. Temps in the low 50's. There was some wind - but nothing much worse than what we typically have in Nebraska.
I don't care who you are - that first mile is always a mystery. The excitement of the race can easily make you go out too hard - but you want to get in a good rhythm as well. I missed the first mile split - so it really was a mystery. But I felt pretty strong.
I ended up going through two miles at 11:06 - so, I was going slightly faster than planned. I have to say that the support on the course was awesome. They had our names printed on our bibs - which I used to think was kind of cheesy - but it does help to hear people yelling out my name.
The course is relatively flat - but it does have some rollers. It was also just windy enough that I felt like I was fighting through it in a few places. But overall the conditions were great.
I somehow missed the next two mile splits - so, I was stuck doing some mental arithmetic at mile 5. I had slowed down a little bit averaging ~5:40 those three miles. Then there were two welcome downhill, wind at my back miles. I actually went 5:20 for both of those miles. The last 4-5 miles were tough. I was really struggling up some of the hills - my 10th mile was my slowest mile at 5:54. I was starting to wonder whether I could break 1:14 or not. I also got passed by three guys in this section. Getting passed is always a little demoralizing - but instead of feeling defeated you have to try to hang on a bit as they pass and then focus on their rhythm and try to match it.
Unfortunately the third guy who passed me put me into 11th place - there was prize money through 10th place. I was able to get back to low 5:40 miles in the last two miles and came through in 1:13:35 - over a minute better than my original goal.
Even though I just missed out on some prize money I can't complain. The weather was great - the support and organization of the race was great - and I ran faster than I expected. Thanks to the Lincoln Track Club for putting on such a great race!
The reason I will probably always run is that there is something completely satisfying about a day like today. I made a plan several months out - I executed the plan - and I reaped the benefits. That doesn't always happen in life - or in running - but it sure is sweet when it does.