Goal #1: Prize money
Goal #2: Race pace simulation (6:00-6:13)
3+ miles warmup
Half Marathon in 1:18:45, 4th place (3rd place tie with Laurie)
3.5 miles cool down for 20 miles total
Splits: 5:59, 608 (hill), 549, 604, 551, 601, 559, 555, 621
(uphill), 559, 600, 546 (nice downhill), 623 (uphill), :37
Laurie and I knew
going into the race that the goal was to either (1) try to win if it meant we
didn't have to go balls to the wall or (2) run a good tempo at goal marathon
pace. We found out on Thursday before the race that Joan Tangwar was going to be there. Joan beat me at the Heart and Sole Women's 5 Miler back in April. She
beat me by 20+ seconds in that race, but I also gave up. On a
good day, I know that Laurie and I could beat Joan. To complicate matters, another African was added on Friday night before the race. We didn't find out until we got to the start line on Saturday morning. Laurie is four weeks out from her lifetime marathon PR and I am four weeks from my goal marathon. Personally, I do not like doing a half marathon all out in the middle of a marathon training cycle, so Laurie and I agreed at the start line to run together at a comfortable tempo pace.
With temps in the 50s, the gun sounded and the runners were off! For the first mile, I wanted to force Joan to lead because she sat on me for the first two miles at the April race. To my pleasure, Joan and her friend took the lead through a flat first half and then a nice downhill for the second half. I felt like we were absolutely crawling on that downhill, and I could tell that they wanted Laurie and I to take the lead. We finally acquiesced after we passed the mile marker right on pace for 6:00. Laurie and I led together, chatting away, until about 2.5 miles when the two took off to effectively drop us. I thought it was kind of cool that obviously the two Kenyans were working together and so were the two Charlotteans. I was happy that both groups had a buddy. As they passed us, Laurie told me I could "go for it," but I laughed off her offer.
For the next 10.5 miles, Laurie and I ran side-by-side at a comfortable clip with conversation at every mile, except up miles 9 and 13. The course was actually pretty great through 9 miles, with a gently rolling, net downhill, and small steep uphills interspersed between. Coincidentally, this is very similar to how Cal will look in the first 9 miles. And that's where the similarities stop. In our race, mile 9 was entirely uphill. Suddenly all that fun I'd been having was thrown on the street along with the water cup I took a swig from. My legs felt zapped and the conversation stopped...although I think Laurie could have continued a conversation if I had initiated it. After the hill, I caught a second wind as the course evened out and offered a couple of downhills. Life came back to my legs and I felt good again. We were still hitting 6:00 splits for the flat portions of miles 10 and 11. There was a very nice downhill on mile 12, but my appreciation for the downhill was short lived. Mile 13 had a killer uphill that was very steep and positioned in quite possibly the worst place in a half marathon. Laurie and I climbed and climbed, made a right turn...and continued to climb. Soon, the terrain leveled out and we could see the finish. In the final straightaway, Laurie asked, "Hands?" and I said, "oh, YEAH!"... And so we held hands for our 3rd and 4th place finish.
Overall, I am very happy with this race because it was a challenging course with
those two big hills. As a great comparison point, I ran the Kiawah Half a couple weeks before the Trials, and ran a 1:18:50, with the help of Aaron as a pacer. That race felt MUCH harder than this one today, so I know that my strength and endurance are at a higher level. Given that Laurie and I talked the entire time, it's indicative that the pace wasn't laboring for me (or her). Also, my Achilles felt fantastic, but I still wore my compression sock as a precautionary measure. In fact, both Laurie and I agreed that our legs felt better AFTER the half than before. I guess the hills helped stretch our our legs a little bit?!
For my own personal journal, I didn't take any gels so I really need to practice fueling in my next long run. I also tried out my marathon outfit, which I absolutely love. Can't wait to rock it at CIM in just four weeks!
The 2017 Boston Marathon
3 days ago