|View of the City in the Distance on the end of the Bay Farm Island loop|
I'd been doing fairly well on the 10K training when I made the switch, so I just kept at the strength and speed work while adding in some long runs where they fit. In the last 4 weeks, I fit in an 8 miler and two 10-milers plus a hard 5K followed by a blister-laden 5.6 miles (failed 8 miler) the next day last weekend. Not awesome, but enough to know I could get through a half without keeling over.
The night before the race I checked the weather, and was pleased to see that despite Thursday's local highs of 100F, Sunday's Alameda prediction was a start temp of 58F partly cloudy, and an end temp of 64F and sunny.
After looking at my training and being very honest with myself, I set the following goals:
A+/Stretch/Everything is Magic Goal -- 2:18 - 10:35/mile
B Goal -- 2:22 - 10:50/mile, fastest 1/2 marathon in 19 months (2:19 half on my way to DNF the Chicago Marathon 2014).
C Goal -- sub 2:24 -- less than 11:00/mile, fastest 1/2 since ORF 2015 (2:22:09)
D Goal -- Finish sub 2:29 -- 11:23/mile, fastest since SLO 2015 (which is a much more demanding course, elevation-wise, so not a great comparison, but I had to work with what I had)
E Goal -- Finish healthy
The course promised 7 aid stations with no gu. I gave myself permission to walk through and drink plus dump water on my head at each one. I also packed 4 gus, stuffing the back pocket of my shorts into a ridiculous lump, planning to take one of them at (or before) aid stations 2, 4, 5, and 6/7.
The AM worked out perfectly, I woke on my own at 5:59, turning off my alarm and saving E from the 6:00 AM buzz. I dressed, and was out the door by 6:20, got my Skinny Vanilla Latte with an extra shot at Starbucks and drove to Crown Memorial State Beach. When I finished the latte I started in on the large Gatorade. Parking was $5, and there was plenty still available at 7:15. Bonus, there were physical bathrooms near the parking that had no line, so I took advantage of that opportunity before walking the 1/2 mile to the start line.
The starting area was chaos. But good, friendly, pink, fun, lady-positive chaos.
|Like 80s style aerobic warm-up chaos.|
The race weather was dreamy. A little humid for the bay area, but it stayed blissfully overcast until after I finished. I headed out and just repeated "nice, easy, sustainable pace" to myself for several miles. It worked. Early splits as follows:
3: 11:07 (includes walking through the water stop and taking a gu)
At this point, I realized, I was almost dead on my target A+ goal pace. I checked watch screen #3, and the average pace for the total was 10:37. WOW! Also, yeah. This was not going to continue. I could tell already that I didn't have it in me to continue at this pace through the end. And that was just fine.
I walked through the aid station at 6.11 miles on my Garmin and took a Gu, sucking down water, hitting the 10K at 1:06:45 -- or 10:45/mile. I knew I wasn't making up those 10 seconds per mile.
In fact, I knew it was going to be a struggle to keep it below 11 minutes per mile by the end, but I decided that was the fight I was going to pick.
7: 11:18 (gu and water station)
10: 10:57 (no excuse, just starting to lag)
11: 11:57 (gu and water station, definitely the hardest mile of the race)
12: 11:38 (one foot in front of the other to the music)
13: 10:43 (includes a water walking break, just goes to show how much of this is mental)
13.18: 9:42/mile (what did I say about mental?)
Final outcome by Garmin: 13.18 miles @ 2:24:01. 10:56/mile average pace.
It's humbling to take this as a win. But it is one. I'm 2 seconds off my C goal, and I ran to the best of my abilities today (plus the weather was on my side). Overall, I'm very happy I signed up for the half, it definitely forced me to do more training and push myself on race day than I would have otherwise done.
Next up? Chrissy Field 5K in July. I'm hoping to drop some more time off my Chrissy Field PR. Wish me luck.