I'm really pleased with my half-marathon results. I always felt I was/am/would be fit enough to finish the race, and am proud to say that I accomplished that. That was my first and foremost goal.
I set another, more challenging goal for myself as I got into training, and that was to finish in under two hours. As I got closer to the race, I felt like that goal was too ambitious. My times seemed to be getting slower and I felt like I was laboring more to get the miles in. I started integrating hills into my runs and was surprised at how much that slowed my pace. A lot of the hurdle that I built for myself was psychological, but I pretty well let go of the sub-two hour goal two weeks before the race and figured I'd come in closer to 2:05.
So I really surprised myself when I crossed the split mark at 1:01. That was official time. According to my watch I was at 58 minutes. I still had the hills in front of me, but I had the crowded section behind me. The first three miles I averaged about 10 min/mile, so I'd made significant gains in the next 3.5. (The sub-two time correlates to a 9:06 mile.)
I was strong on the hills and passed a fair number of people. I think the gu I had earlier gave me that push. But at ten miles I was starting to drag.
The coolest part of the race happened then. This guy passed me and said, "Keep it up! Number 3 has been my pace setter for the last five miles." The 3 was my soccer jersey, and having him tell me that gave me new confidence. It also gave me a focus: He was my
pace setter for the rest of the race. It made a huge difference. He stayed about 50 yards in front of me -- rather, I kept myself within 50 yards of him -- and stepped through the last three miles.
I kept checking my watch at the mile markers and could tell I was running really close to 9:06 average. I was surprised and pleased. At mile 12 I knew I had about 30 seconds to make up and tried to push a little, but when I hit the hill on Mercer Ave, leading back up to Seattle Center, it was all I could do to keep running, let alone push my pace.
So, I'm really happy with 2:00:24 finish. That translates to a 9:08/mile pace, which is more than acceptabel. No, I didn't reach my goal, and I'm not giving myself credit for it either. Next time I'll make that. I may well challenge myself to finish at a sub-9 min/mile pace.
I really lost site of another important point during training: I remained injury-free. No twisted ankles or pulled hamstrings. I did get an irksome blister about three weeks before the race, but new shoes took care of that problem. I got stronger and lost weight through the whole process, and had only sore muscles the day after the race to complain about. And I'll rarely complain about sore muscles.
Posted by jmgthatsme
at 12:01 AM PST