Modesto Half Marathon: a Boston tuneup

After taking some time off from running at the end of the year last year, I’ve been training again in earnest for a couple of months. I’ve been traveling a lot more for my job than I have in the past, so I’ve been keeping extra busy. Marathon training has been squeezed into every nook and cranny of time I can find.

Sunday’s Modesto Half Marathon was my typical fitness test half about one month from my goal race, the Boston Marathon. Have I mentioned I’m running Boston? Just making sure.

This race does a great job of organizing the event, and the expo, bib pickup and race morning all went flawlessly. I got into my corral and found a pacer who was pacing the 1:35 group. While I typically don’t run with pace groups, it was nice to know I’d have a target out on the course to follow if I wanted to.

The gun went off and the race began. I quickly found the pace I was looking to run and tried to settle in and just cruise for the first few miles, but, that was not to be. For some reason, it just felt hard right from the beginning. Some days you’re the pigeon, some days you’re the statue.

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Somewhere out on the course, fighting

I managed to keep pace despite the additional effort, and just before the halfway point, I got a nice surprise: My family had come to watch! I thought I was running this one on my own just due to schedules and travel and everything else, so I was thrilled to hear them shouting my name as I came around a corner. What a huge pick-me-up! And boy did I need it.

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Happy surprise!

The last half of the race was a mix of feeling pretty good and passing the 1:35 pacer, then hitting some low spots and watching him run by. Miles 11 and 12 were especially tough, but even though my pace suffered a little during that stretch, I did manage to rally and come home strong.

finish-line

Official time was 1:34:38. Not my best day (especially mentally) but solid none-the-less. Onward to Boston.

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