Last weekend I ran my 25th half marathon! Not too bad considering I have “only” been running half marathons since 2005.
This marathon started off in Athens Ohio and was hosted by Ohio University. Other than the first mile and last half mile, the whole race takes place on a bike path. It is not spectator friendly, but it is a fast race. The bike path is very flat. The “out” part has a slight decline, which you then have to face going back. Some people would argue with you that there is no in/decline but there is. This was my third time running this race, the last two years in a row I managed a PR. This year, it was just a training run.
The gameplan for this run was to run the first 10 miles at a nice 12:19 pace and then pick it up the last three miles, hitting a HR of no more than 85% of max heart rate. The goal race, which is three weeks after this one, is the Glass City Marathon (half) in Toledo, OH.
The weather was a little too warm, starting off at 66 degree. The arm warmers and gloves were left in the car, no need for them! Why 12:19? This was the recovery pace I had hit the day before, so that’s what I decided to go with the day of the race. During six out of the nine miles, I was right on pace. And was off by only 15 seconds on the other three.
The nice thing about this run was that it was spent running with friends. Some of my fellow Columbus Eastside Running Club (CERC) friends joined me at my pace. About halfway through, a majority decided to slow down a little, and so it was my friend Erika, a friend of a friend Sarah and I that tackled the last 7 miles together. As I mentioned, this is an out and back course and there are not many spectators because it is difficult to get to. Runners become their own cheer leaders; the ones that had already turned around and were heading back cheered on the ones still heading to that sought after turn around point. We saw quite a few of our own running friends and cheered heavily for one another.
At mile ten it was time to try to kick it in a little. During this running season I had paced a running group that is quite a bit slower than my regular pace. Even though my speed workout was always on target, I was a little worried that running my long miles so slow, I could not run the distance at a faster pace. I managed to pick it up a little at mile ten, but my HR was higher than I thought it would be. The weather could have had something to do with that and the head wind. I don’t know. The good thing is that my legs were just a little tired the next day and not sore at all.
My goal race is in two weeks; I do not know if I have what it takes to PR because of my the pacing during the season (no regrets though). I will need to run a 9:45 minute mile pace to get that accomplished. My race plan is written and I will give it all I have to get it done. As one of my friends always says, “Leave it all on the course.” And that I will do!