Alrighty–so how to you top off an incredibly fantastic, run centric weekend? You run a race, of course!
Many of the participants in the Runner’s World Half Marathon Festival went for what the magazine dubbed the hat trick: A 5k and 10k on Saturday, followed up by a half marathon on Sunday. Impressive, no? I was NOT among them, I assure you. Cool as the hat trick sounded, I wanted to concentrate on the half as a gauge of fitness for my Dec. 2 marathon.
I went into the race with hopes that I would be in the 1:38-1:39 range, and certainly no higher than a 1:40. In the end, though, I finished with a low 1:41. I was pretty disappointed, but not crushed. I feel like a ran a solid first few miles, had some pretty slow/bad middle miles, but then pulled out a good push for the final four miles or so. Unfortunately my late surge was too late to salvage the number I wanted.
I can’t point to any one, glaring factor that prevented me from being where I wanted. Were my first couple of miles a bit too fast? Perhaps. Did running with a Garmin for the first time ever in a race affect me? I think that may have played a role. I am a solid, steady pacer at my strongest. With the Garmin, I found myself constantly slowing and then surging based on the numbers I was seeing on my watch. For me, that tends to wear down my legs. The last few miles when I ran stronger, however, I barely looked at it, but when I did, I found I was holding a very consistent pace. So based on this experience, I’m not sure what I’ll do about using it in future races (and I think I have a full post on this topic alone!).
A pace calculator would tell me that my 1:41 result isn’t going to get me sub-3:30 at CIM, but I’ve been at this long enough to know better than to rely only on that. CIM will be a very different animal in terms of course elevation. I’ll also have six more weeks of training under my belt and a three-week taper to boot. I didn’t give myself more than about six days of taper for my half because I was still concentrating on the bigger prize of CIM. And then there’s the plain and simple fact that it just might have been an off day. Some races are just like that.
In any case, after a bit of recovery, it’s back to marathon training for me. I’ve got two 22s in the next couple of weeks and I”m looking forward to having at them. The same goes for speedwork. I’m feeling pretty fired up to make some improvements before Dec. 2.
How does an off race affect you? Do you get discouraged or motivated?
Many thanks to Runner’s World for my comp entry at the half.