Consistent training is important. Who knew?!?
The plan was to *not* run the mid-winter 10-miler. It had been sold out for a while and I had moved on. On Thursday while everyone was running easy getting ready for the race I was busy hammering out some hills. The day before I busted out a nice long ride on the trainer with a little post spin run. Soon after the run my running buddy Mr. Magoo found a bib that had become available, and since I had a 1:30 run scheduled for Sunday so I figured running with a bunch of people would be way better than running by myself.
I must admit I was a little apprehensive the night before. My last long run I had bonked hard (nutrition lesson #1 eat something within 6 hours of your long run), and this was going to be almost 2 miles longer than that. Also, my coach wanted me to run between 9:00 and 9:20 / mile. While that speed is not blazing fast by any stretch of the imagination, in my mind, I keep my “long” runs just a shade under 10’s as opposed to low 9’s. I was afraid this was a recipe for blowing up hard.
After getting to the race I lined up with my running buddy who knew the course like the back of his hand. He didn’t have a GPS, so I was to be the pace setter and he would let me know when we were going to hit the hills. The gun didn’t work so we were off with a verbal command.
I was still not sure that running low 9’s was a good idea, so I tried to set a pace “within” myself. Figuring that it would be better to go out slow and have something left for the end then to go out to fast and blow up again (I try not to make the same mistake twice, but if I do I at least like to make sure lots of time passes before the second time so I can say that it was the first time I made that particular mistake).
The race started with a slight up hill and then a long slight decline, before hitting three bigger hills one after another (Momma, Papa, and Baby as named by my running buddy). I looked at my Garmin a few times and saw paces in the 9:0X’s up the incline and then breaking into the 8:4X’s on the decline. That scared me, but I figured we were going downhill and I wasn’t pushing it so, I let it roll. We slowed into the 10’s on Momma and Papa shortening our strides and relaxing as we went up. We seemed to be keeping pace with the people around us not passing but not being passed either.
At the end of the three hills a friendly face caught up to us and said hi, but quickly decided that she had overdone it catching us and she decided to drop back. We rolled on, and started banging out 9:00 miles like it was going out of style. By mile 5 we had made up some of the time from the hills and were right on 9:00 pace. At that point there were a few more hills but we settled in and just cruised while my buddy chatted on about the course and what was coming up (a few hills did seem to slip his mind though).
Miles 7 – 8.5 were a long, steady, slight incline, but for some reason it felt hugely refreshing and we started to pick it up. Other people apparently didn’t feel the same way and we started to pick people off one at a time as we sped up. We were starting to push it at this point and I was seeing a steady trail of 8:XX’s coming from my Garmin and they were getting smaller and smaller.
As we hit the last mile (Up a decent hill for 3/4’s of it and then down the last 1/4) Magoo saw a few of his friends, we were reeling them in, but not fast enough. Magoo down shifted and I hung on seeing 8:10’s as we cruised by people left and right (of course looking totally relaxed even though, I at least, was starting to suffer, since there is nothing worse than being passed by someone who looks like they aren’t even trying). We crested the hill and started down towards the finish accelerating towards the line my Garmin showing 7:30’s.
Final Time 1:28:34 @ 8:45 min/mi
And it felt great! I am super happy with how it went! That is a minute per mile faster than my 1/2 marathon time from last summer and I felt like we could have kept it up for more. I blame all this consistent training my coach has me doing. I am on pace to murder my 1/2 marathon PR by 15 minutes if I keep this up. I can’t wait.