Given that I am primarily in training for IM 70.3 in Galveston and then IM Texas, also in my local neighborhood of The Woodlands, my race preparation has been for those races and not for this one. I resolve to follow a heart rate based plan to help me get the most out of the race without overdoing things. I also set to follow a nutrition plan that I want to use for my 70.3 and full Ironman races, which is to take on a gel every 2 miles, plus a bottle of water each hour plus 4 Endurolyte capsules each hour starting 30 minutes into the race.
Seeing as how I set my PR of 5:30:45 in Disneyworld almost 2 months prior, I figure I should be able to run about 45 minutes to an hour faster without posing for Disney character photos and running at a faster pace. I had initially planned to start with the 4:30 pace group and see if I could keep with them. As the race got closer I figured that I might try a slightly more aggressive plan and start with the 4:15 pace group and drop to the 4:30 group if I needed to do so. The night before the race my friend Karen tells me she wants to try to go for a 4 hour finish and I decide to join with her for as long as I can hold the pace. We were running the entire race with an 8/2 walk/run.
On race day Karen and I meet up and get ourselves positioned at the back of Corral A just in time to begin the race. We leave at the back of the corral and head out feeling strong. I'm running without a GPS device to ensure I stay on my heart race plan, but I ask Karen what our pace is as we pace mile 1. Her response is, "You don't want to know." Actually that first mile went by in just under 8:50. We continue and stay on a solid pace. There is good crowd support and great racing weather this morning. I really enjoyed pushing a solid pace and having good company while doing it. We share occasional bits of conversation and use each other as a pacer. We pass the Mile 10 mark right at 1:30, on a 9 minute per mile pace, which is only slightly behind the time I had for the Ten for Texas 10 miler last October. As we turn back to complete the first loop we are just over 1:58. I've never run a sub 2 hour half marathon before today, and now I'm headed back for more.
We're still feeling strong and running in the low 9 minute pace through mile 14. This is where we begin to slow a bit. Mile 17 results in a 10:17 mile and we take a quick potty break in conjunction with our walk break and regroup. This must have helped because the next 6 miles ranged from the 9:30s to 9:50s. Miles 24 and 25 were tough as (or at least I) were running on fumes and heart and each passed in 10:11 and 10:19.
|Karen and I later in the race.|
Finally, after passing the Mile 25 sign we're able to pick up the pace and average 9:19 over the final 1.2 miles. Karen is able to sprint ahead to the finish while I didn't feel up to it. However, just after she starts her sprint I do find the strength and I follow her into the finishing stretch.
|Post-race with Coach Michelle.|