This weekend was the Let's Move Festival of Races, which means:
Half Marathon #2 is in the books with a new PR! I went in with the goal time of 2:15, but I ended up with an official time of 2:06:43! That's about 17 minutes faster than Detroit.
The day started off by waking up at 6am. It's still an hour later than a workday. Came downstairs to make some toast with Nutella and start drinking water. Pretty much just vegged out on the recliner watching the news. The night before the forcast said mid 30s and a 20% chance of rain. In the morning, I actually heard the weatherman said "some of you might feel a few wet snowflakes." Perfect. It turned 7 so I got dressed and headed out. I told Lauren to stay at home with Jack due to the weather. She left a note of love and encouragement on top of my bib. I'm very lucky to have a wife that is so supportive.
|Love from the family|
Luckily for me, Anthony's parents live within a mile from the start and the course comes down the end of their street. While he wasn't racing today, his sister and brother-in-law were doing the relay (and came in 2nd place). I got to the house and filled up my water bottles and mixed in my new favorite fuel, HEED (I am in no way affiliated with Hammer Nutrition. I just really love their products). I'm pretty sure this stuff saved me in this race. We headed out the door and toward the start. I left the group to gear check my bag and meet up with another group, the GP Runners. I was convinced that I should start with the sub 2 hour wave. I knew I wasn't breaking two hours, but I didn't want a repeat of Corktown. with about 15 minutes before start, I had my first of two Hammer Gels. Unfortunately there wasn't any water available to wash it down and all I had was HEED in my bottles. I was sure to hit the first water station.
I completed the first mile in 9:30, way too fast for my strategy. My plan was to go a nice and easy 10-10:30 min/mi pace for the first half and do some speedwork in the 2nd half to average my pace near 10:00. My real-time pace on my watch was never correct. I thought I was running a steady 10ish, but when I downloaded my run, only 2 miles were over 10 minutes (by seconds).
I bumped into a GP Runner that had the same goal time and we paced each other for about 4 miles, when we reach the relay exchange. I took gel #2 and decided it was time to kick it up a bit. I started pacing with a guy who had been near me the past mile or so. We got to talking; quite a bit of talking, actually. Turns out we works for the landscaping company that my company uses. We've probably seen each other and never knew it. We talked shop and it made time (and miles) fly by. At mile 7 I had that feeling that all runners fear in a race; my left calf twitched. I reached for my water bottles and drank what was left of my HEED. While I felt the cramp there for the rest of the race, it never came full force.
My new friend had me pacing at about 9:45 and I was able to hold conversation so I knew I had some energy left in me. I wasn't going to leave my new friend though. His company was helping more than anything. Once we reached mile 12, he shook my hand and told me to take off. He knew I had plenty of gas left. I started my kick and averaged a 8:40 pace. I could hear an encouraging "You got this!" from behind me. That last mile is probably the hardest part of the race. I would guess it to be on a 2-3% grade. Not terribly hilly, but for the final mile of a course thats almost entirely flat, its not welcomed.
|I saw The Sign and it opened up my eyes.|
I reached Main St, the final stretch of the course and I first see Anthony on his bike cheering me on and next to him I see The Sign (TM) being held by fellow Blogger/DailyMiler, Mary Beth. That could only mean her relay partner was nearby. I turned my head and spotted Cara Jo right behind me. We finished within seconds of each other. I briefly said hello and we congratulated each other on our awesome finishes. I managed to get a pretty cool action shot finish.
|Mid-Air, Thumbs-Up Action Pose|
Anthony and I met up with the rest of his family and looked up the official results. At the time, I was 7th in my group, but was later knocked to 9th. I usually don't pay attention to ranks, but I made 403/2900+ overall and 85th percentile seems like something to note. I'm definitely making improvements and its only the start of the season.
Here's to a sub 2:00 by the end of the year!