The ORRRC Half Marathon went very well for me today. I was able to come away with three things I coveted:
- Proof that I’ve been making progress in the training I’ve been doing.
- Build confidence for the Glass City Marathon in April.
- A new half marathon PR by 2:44.
I was pretty relaxed going into the race since this isn’t really the race I’m training for, but I still wanted to do well. After you’ve put in a lot of hours in training, even if it isn’t the ultimate prize you’re shooting for, you want to have a good showing. When I got to the race at about 7:30 AM, it was so humid, there was dense fog everywhere, so that got me a bit worried but the temperatures were only in the low 60s, so it wasn’t too bad. Together with my coach Luke Humphrey, I had set a goal to finish in the low 1:40s. In my head I thought I was capable of a 1:40:00 half marathon, but I knew I wasn’t as rested as I would be for a goal race, so anything better than a 1:44:00 should be considered a victory.
My plan was straightforward: start conservatively and then ratchet it up little by little. I planned to get into a groove in the first two miles by going out at 8:05, then run miles 3-6 at 7:45, kick it up to 7:35 for 7-10, then see what I had left in the tank to finish things off. My actual splits went like this: 7:47, 7:48, 7:40, 7:48, 7:43, 7:40, 7:35, 7:45, 7:36, 7:31, 7:27, 7:21, 7:22, then 7:21 for the final 0.1.
So, clearly, I did not do a good job of going out under control! That’s been a bad habit of mine at a number of races, so I need to find a way to take it easy at the start line. Damn competitiveness. I did seem to settle in and hit my stride by about mile 3, though, then did a much better job of following the plan from there. When I got to about 6 miles in, I was already starting to “feel” the work I was doing, and honestly, that got me a bit worried. In the midst of the race, I thought it was too early, but I managed to shake that thought and just kept pushing. The turn around (it was an out and back race) was just before mile 8 and that was really my low point, a point where I doubted that I could keep pushing. When I look at the Garmin data (which is down below), I can see that it was also the peak of the climbing, so maybe it’s not so surprising. Again, I pushed through the feeling, and the more I saw that I was keeping to the plan, the more confident I got. During miles 10 and 11, I must have looked down at my watch about 20 times because I felt like I was really slowing down, yet my watch assured me I was staying right around a 7:30 pace, so I used that confidence to keep pushing hard. I knew I could stand any amount struggle for two more miles. The last two were pretty much a blur as I just kept focussing on maintaining pace and ticking off half miles to the end. When I stopped my watch at the finish line and looked down to see 1:39:59, a big smile crossed my face. If my watch was right (and it turned out to be an exact match to my chip time), I had just PRed by 2:44. I came in 89th out of 675 runners.
A good day for sure. Quite a shot in the arm with a little less than a month to go until the Glass City Marathon.
Here’s the Garmin data.