Part of my prep for my marathon, which is in two weeks time, was a 1/2 marathon today. It fulfilled three purposes, to make sure my recovery from my IM attempt was complete, my run focused training was on target and that I could hold a sustained pace faster than I normally do during training runs or during a 1/2 IM or IM. All three were achieved.
The Team Nashville Half Marathon was definitely a well executed event. It’s been a while since I had attended one of those (yep, that’s a swipe at my recent races).
I was talking with a co-worker of mine on Wednesday. He had mentioned a few months back that he’d like to pace me during the marathon leg of my IM-distance race, but already had long-standing reservations for a family vacation. He asked when I would run my marathon, so I told him. He recognized that it would be too far for him, so he stated “well, I’ll run with you during a half marathon”. I responded “Good, it’s this Saturday”. His jaw dropped and he stammered about having things to do.
Thursday rolls around and he starts asking about it, then says he’ll let me know. Friday night, he calls the house and arranges to meet. All the while, I keep asking him if he’s sure, since the furthest he’s ever run has been a 10K. He was sure. I didn’t worry about him too much since he has quite an extensive physical background, so he had a solid base fitness.
Anyway, we get to the race area this morning, which starts at the Historic Mansker’s Station. Quite an interesting location. Sign up, get our goodies and then keep moving to stay warm, since it was 33 degrees. The crunch of frost underfoot was quite loud.
This was a “C” race for me, with no time goals. So when we filtered down to the start area, we hung out in the back. The gun went off and we strolled towards the line. We started jogging slowly to make sure our chips registered and we were off. All 190 other racers had crossed the line in front of us. We were bringing up the rear.
It didn’t take long for us to start weaving through the crowd. We were jogging comfortably and hit the mile at 8:38. My co-worker mentioned that it was quite an ambitious pace. We crossed the second mile 8:26 later. He started slipping back a bit and I wordlessly kept moving forward.
Miles 3-5 were pretty uneventful. I was still warming up. By mile 5 I started feeling good and the miles kept slipping by, as did fellow runners. I was starting to think of a race strategy. I figured I’d start picking it up at mile 8 and see how it went from there. I got to the mile 8 water table, grabbed some water (no, not my first) and proceeded to look straight up a wall. Several folks ahead of me were walking. It was a killer.
Going down the other side was just as steep, but I went loose and managed to pass several more runners. The next three miles were a very gradual downhill and I was able to pick up the pace again, cruising at a very nice tempo. After mile 12, we started into the hills again, cruising through a nice subdivision. After 12.75 miles, it was all downhill all the way to the finish.
I cruised in at 1:49:38 chip time, my watch said 1:41:15. I still can’t figure out where the disparity is in my watch, since the times flow perfectly. No one else seemed concerned about their published time, so I won’t be either; it’s time the watch be sent in for some other issues too.
I crossed the start line in 191st (or 192nd, doesn’t matter); I crossed the finish line in 75th overall, 10/18 in my age group. So that’s 116 passed on the course.
13.1 miles @ 8:23 average. Not too shabby. It won’t win any awards, but I sure enjoyed it.
My co-worker ran a hell of a race, considering he’d never run further than a 10K – 2:05:38, which was 4:22 faster than his goal of 2:10, or 10-minute mile pace.
So while I’m pleased with my results, I was shocked to read the news of today’s US Marathon trials. Excellent results for Ryan Hall, but a crushing tragedy for everyone. Keep Ryan Shay‘s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.