As you know from my last post, this race was a "make-up" race. I ran this race last year and felt horrible the entire race. My dismal performance last year really drove me crazy. Even now when I think about it, I wince at the butt kicking I received. I felt completely out of shape and thought I was going to die towards the end. I had no energy and no drive for the last 3+ miles. I was passed by people running carrying on a casual conversation. I wanted to just stop and walk. My finish time was 1:43:24 average pace 7:54. And that was with max effort.
Well to start the weekend, I ran in a small 5k race in the area. I think there was about 120 runners in the 5k. It was really nice. As I said in my post on Thursday, I was going to take this race really easy. Just a training run. No real expectations.
Once the race started, I found myself right outside the lead group. It felt like we were all sprinting. The first mile was at just over 6:00. And this was not a flat course. I had to reigned myself in. I knew that I was not going to keep this pace. Even if I could, I didn't really want to. So I slowed down to a much more sane pace. I maintained my position in the about the top 10 and just cruised the remainder of the race.
I eventually finished 5 overall. My time was 21:28. I finished 2 in my age group. I was really pleased with everything. I really didn't expend too much energy. I was more chilled (cold) than spent. It was a chilly morning. The entire Second Wind crew did an outstanding job.
After the race, I went home and just relaxed and tried to prepare myself for the Half. I knew that it would not be anywhere near as casual as the 5k. This year this was my most important race of the year. So this year I trained much better. I knew that I had to be ready for the hills. I had to be prepared for everything. The course was a little different but the heart of the race was the same. Still running through downtown, which meant rolling hills the entire way. There were very few flat areas on the run.
As I was mentally preparing for the race, I decided that I would find the 1:35 pacer and hang with them for the race. Then I would not think about pace, just see the target, hit the target. No thinking. Well the best laid plans. There wasn't a 1:35 pacer. There wasn't even a 1:40 pacer. So I was faced with having to just keep my pace myself. Well there are worst things that could have happened.
The start of this race had about 4000 people plus starting on a "narrow" street. Plus within the first quarter mile we had a roundabout to go through. It was like the Tour De France, half going on one side and the other half on the other. Even with that I was being bounced in and out. Finally at about a half mile it started to thin out. I was able to find a clear path and concentrate on running instead of worrying about getting trampled.
My run then fell into a rhythm. Now it was just a matter of keeping pace. There were a couple of times where I felt myself slowing down and I was able to pick it back up. I crossed the 10k mark at about 44:24. Which was a little slower than I wanted but it was still good. Once I reached the 10 mile mark I still had plenty in the tank. I was able to pick up the pace. I was not winded or struggling. So I finished really strong.
I said going into this race that I didn't expect a PR and wasn't going to shoot for that. But as it turned out I was able to set a PR. My finish time was 1:32:28. This also was a 10 minute reduction from last year. I am really satisfied with my training and "tactical" race.
With that settled I am moving on to a marathon and more swim training. Next goal is Marathon in March, Open water triathlon (White Late) in May.