I can get used to this. Three 3M Half Marathons. Three half marathon personal records. Heading into the race, I wasn’t confident in how the day would shake out. Last year I was in the middle of half marathon-specific training and feeling great. This year I’m coming off of a Half Ironman and some minor surgery that kept me off my feet for a bit. How’d we do? I’ll say this: let it be a lesson to you all who read my race preview and thought I was “being real” with my low expectations. I warned you!
As for the race, the conditions couldn’t have been better: 40 degrees, strong tailwind, no rain, downhill. I hitched a ride to the starting area with some friends and quickly made my way to the starting chute. I ended up next to a few Texas Independence Relay teammates while waiting for the starting horn. After the barbershop quartet rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, we were off!
The pace plan was to play it by ear. The only requirement was to stay under my target Boston Marathon pace (6:51 min/mi). After a brief bout with a headwind, we turned south and I kept the throttle firmly slammed to the floor. The first mile came in a little slower than I would have liked (6:47) but I blame the wind and still ahead my goal. From then on I was firing on all cylinders and crushing my splits. Miles 2 thru 11 ranged between 6:27 and 6:34. Like I said, crushing it.
The highlight of the race comes right around Mile 9 when I pass by my street. Ev rallied several of our neighbors to stand in the cold to cheer me on. THANK YOU to everyone who woke up early, bundled up their kids in Winter gear, bundled up themselves, and walked a third of a mile to see me for approximately 3 seconds. You guys rock!
With a boost from the fan base, I sped off to hit the last 4 miles. I didn’t know it until it happened, but the course was changed from last year to include a nasty hill right at mile 12. After eleven blazing miles, it felt like I came to a screeching halt battling up this mountain. I’d later realize that this hill is what kept me from grabbing the torch from Colin’s half marathon record.
Crossing the finish line was more of a relief than anything. Running as hard as possible for 13.1 miles is nothing less than excruciating. If it doesn’t hurt, then I’m not running hard enough. My official time clocked in at 1:25:56, setting a new personal best by 1 minute 23 seconds! But there’s no rest for the weary. I stuck to my plan to run 3 miles home from the finish. Because this is marathon training after all, and nothing about it makes sense. Overall a great race, far exceeding my original goals (really!). Now time to refocus on Boston.
|103 / 5018 (2.05%)
|Age Group Place
|16 / 196 (8.16%)
|93 / 2103 (4.42%)
*I realize the purpose of those watermarks is so I buy the picture. But to download one picture costs $35. The registration for the race was only $65! They cut you a deal to get all the pictures for the low, low price of $80. Seriously? Yes, seriously lame.