I typically choose my half races based on how fast I can run them. End of season, point-to-point, flat or net downhill, fall temperatures. Sunday’s was none of these.
A few months ago my wife saw that there is a race 3 miles from our house to raise money for Charity for Children. In the back of my mind, I was thinking it was the wrong time of year and an awful course to race and run fast. But she encouraged me to run, so what the heck. This was a warm day half, with some pretty good hills.
I went in thinking I should run strong, but not do anything stupid. It’s been forever since I’ve done a tempo run of any distance. Or any speed work. Or hill sprints. Or running when the sun is out. With all my excuses neatly lined up ahead of time, I went out with the expectation that I’ll achieve a new PW.
And I crushed it. 1:51:15 for an all-time PW, beating my previous by 2 minutes. That was my first half, 4 years ago on a flat, fast course in the cool fall temps.
Most important, nothing stupid happened on the course, and I’m healthy going into next week’s race: a last runner standing event, The Table Rock Challenge. You’ll remember from my last report that I have this on my calendar. It’s a 1.2 mile loop. Everyone has 22 minutes to finish the first loop, then the time limit gets faster from there. You can either take it really easy in the early loops, or go a little faster and give yourself time to take care of business between loops. In order to take a stab at a strategy, I’m using my 19 mile run from last week.
Here’s a chart showing the required pace for the race (black line) and my pacing for my long run last week (gray). The bars show the elevation gain for my long run (blue) and the race (yellow). The race course changes after lap 10. Of course, laps for my long run were miles, and the race laps are 1.2 miles, but you get the picture: things will start to get hairy around lap 13. The time limit for laps 16-20 are all 12 minutes (10 minute miles), and that’s about where I was throughout my run on 6/2 with a little more elevation mixed in. Should be fun!