Actually, in just over four days I will be toeing the line at my first half marathon. I am a mix of emotions - nervous, excited, happy, freaking out (just a little). While I
accidentally have run the distance (read about it here), it's going to be different on race day. I'll be going a bit faster than our training runs. I'll be surrounded by hundreds of other runners, including my lovely Rail Trail Chicks and a few ladies I work with, though some are doing different events. As of today, over 1100 people have registered for Race the Runways! Last year there were 800 competitors in all three events combined!
Only one more training run stands between me and the half, just an easy three miles on Wednesday. Today was my last long run and I pretty much nailed it - eight miles at half marathon pace plus twenty seconds. I don't consider eight miles being long anymore. It is so weird how before last year I had never run that distance and now it's a drop in the hat.
When thinking about which route I wanted to take today, I wanted it to be challenging, but not too challenging. Even though I haven't run many out-and-backs on my road in a while, I'm finding it pretty boring. So, I decided to shorten the route the girls and I did a few weeks ago. Hilly? Yes, but there's a good downhill within miles six and seven and it's a nice change of scenery.
The run felt really good. I had to keep reminding myself to slow down and take it easy. The weather was all over the place. It was cloudy, then the sun came out. Just as I am starting to get really warm, it starts to snow. Then it stops. More sun. Then some sprinkles of rain. Clouds...sun... And then hail when I get back to the house. Nuts!
Anyway, I finished the 7.96 mile route in 1:11 on the dot which translates to a 8:55 pace. According to my training program, Run Less, Run Faster, and my 5K PR, my half marathon pace is 8:29. 8:29 + 20 seconds = 8:49 target pace. Pretty darn close. For me, I consider that a success.
Given Race the Runways is a pancake flat course, I'm thinking I've got this, no problem. The Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler was hilly and I pulled off a 8:08 pace. I know I gained speed on the downhills on that run and the half being flat will have none, but I'm confident I'll be able to at least meet the 8:29 pace. Honestly, I'm actually aiming for an 8:15-8:20 pace. Last time I talked to Jen, she was hoping for around the same, so hopefully we'll be able to push each other, though I'm sure she's going to crush it!
Now comes the crazy studying of the course map, constant check of the weather (which as of now is calling for sun and a high in the 50s - praying for no wind), and carbo loading. Oh, and trying to relax!