This past Saturday I raced a secondary “A” race three weeks after running Kauai with Cristina. The next day I ran a trail half marathon for recovery. I think I fell in love with the 13.1 distance.
Saturday was the innaugural Mill Race Marathon. I raced the half marathon distance with a reach goal of running 1:23:00. My planned mile splits were: 6:50, 6:40, 6:30, 6:30, 6:30, 6:30, 6:30, 6:20, 6:20, 6:10, 6:10, 6:00, 6:00. Instead I ended up running these splits:
The weather was in the 60’s and the course was flat. The only excuse I have to not hitting my splits was my lack of speed. My fitness was good and my nutrition was on point with no stomach problems. I felt good throughout the race and didn’t feel like I labored much. My legs just felt slow and I couldn’t turn them over fast enough without feeling awkward and out of balance. Running 6:30/mile pace was very comfortable. It seems training constantly at that pace really helped me. Perhaps more runs at faster paces would have helped me break through the 6:20/mile barrier more comfortably. I would say I could have ran 6:30 pace for 16 miles, easy!
The course featured a lot of turns, with minimal changes in elevation. The slopes that were evident were low and drawn out. Very easy to maintain speed with just a little more expenditure of energy. I found myself have ing to hold back on my pace early on. It was an easy course to overrun and burnout in the second half. The crowd support was pretty good with a few pockets being loud and very supportive. Not a block went by without someone cheering. The aid stations were superb. Well staffed, stocked, energized, and very organized
I felt very satisfied after the race. I managed to negative split the distance and passed many runners along the way. I was focused and ran my own race. I know with more speed work I can break through and run a 1:23:00.
The next day I ran the Heritage Trail Half Marathon in Lafayette. Having not checked the forecast for the day, I was surprised of all the rain north of Indianapolis. From what I was told it rained all night in Lafayette and would continue to rain throughout the day. Great! I wore road shoes thinking the trails would be hard packed and sandy at worst. My Mizuno Wave Precisions might as well have been bowling shoes on the muddy surface.
I made up my mind to run a semi-hard pace, but not race. Although I wasn’t sore from the previous day’s run, I didn’t want to aggrevate anything so soon after a challenging run. I sized up the competition and figured I would start in the front. The course quickly descended down a narrow rocky trail right after the start line, so I didn’t want to be caught in heavy traffic. Once we crossed the bridge, was when the fun started. After slipping and sliding all over the trail, I pulled off to the side and let some people pass. At this time I was running in third place. A couple more miles and I let another small group pass me because I couldn’t get any traction and was more of a danger to people around me. I slowed my pace and would be content to just finish the race without falling. My shoes managed to accumulate mud that made them weigh a lot more. At the road section I managed to up my pace and started to pass people and catch up to runners who may have gone out too fast.
I settled in right behind the fourth place runner and would just hang until the last aid station where I would unleash a furious kick, not! We caught up the third place runner and we ran as a pack for the last 2+ miles. We talked and they both made fun of my shoe selection. A good time. We all talked each other into racing the last mile. When the time came to go, we all went! I moved to fourth and sat right behind third. Right before the grassy area and the climb up to the finish, there’s a wooden bridge. At that point I had to slow down because I didn’t want to slip and fall. I never managed to pick up my pace again and was passed. I jogged up the hill and walked across the finish in 5th. I was happy to have run a faster pace and not fallen. The mud and rain made for a fun run. The two guys I ran ended with a sprint finish.