Despite the fact that I've run three marathons (and am now training for my fourth), I've never actually run a race at the half marathon distance. My prior PR was actually my time at the halfway point of the WDW Marathon that I ran in January.
So I signed up for a small local half marathon that was held yesterday. I had a number of factors going against me - wearing brand new shoes, warmer temperatures, first trail run, middle of training, etc. Initially I was going to use this as a marathon simulation, but I started out a bit faster than I would during a normal marathon and decided to really race, holding back just a bit.
I had a great time - a half marathon is a great distance. I probably ran this at about 90%, and finished with a 1:45:26, a respectable time that is also good news for my 3:40 goal for my next marathon. A few thoughts:
- My average split was 8:03, but I ran the last mile in 7:30 after picking up the pace. I had so much left that I did the last tenth at about 6:00. And given how good I felt on today's run, I'm guessing that I have a 1:43:00 in me right now.
- It's surprising how many people start off too fast. I was near the front this time. At the end of the first mile, there were probably more than 100 people in front of me. I finished in 48th place. A lot of people faded at the end - another example of why it's so important to have your first mile be your slowest.
- The speedwork I've been doing is having an incredible effect on not just my overall speed but my general fitness. To wit, this last week I ran a pretty wild tempo run on Monday, had my best ever interval workout on Wednesday, ran a great half marathon yesterday, and still felt pretty fresh and fast today. (I cruised on Tuesday and took Thursday and Friday off).
- The new stride is also doing some amazing things. I've never run this much in my life (34 miles in this "rest" week, 40 last week, 39 the week before) and so far only very, very minor aches.
- Small town races are awesome. I love the big ones too, but showing up at a random city park in the early morning, watching the mist rise off the ground below the setting moon, flirting harmlessly with the older women asking me to take their picture - it makes these local races neat.
- At the end of the race, somebody asked me how it was. I answered (truthfully) that it was short. Felt like it was over before I even got started, which is to be expected, I guess, given what my normal race is.