1:33:57 and felt good at the Charleston Half Marathon!
After a great November and December of training I felt so good. So confident. Then I had to drop out of Freedom Park 24 Hour Run after 74 miles due to injury. Thought I'd be OK to run 50K the next week and was still hurt and had to drop out of it. Those two things combined with the simple fact that I was hurt had me really down. When I signed up for these 3 races, I knew I could run a 24 Hour/100 mile PR, 50K PR and Half Marathon PR, but wasn't sure if I could do them all back to back to back. I couldn't, but did get the Half.
I hadn't run a half marathon since 2002. I had no idea how to pace myself. 7:00/mile seemed fast. 7:30 seemed slow. This race was such a low priority, I gave it no thought until the drive down to Charleston. "I know I can go under 1:45. I don't think I can go under 1:30. Under 1:40? 1:37? Who knows?" My wife asked me the name of the race as we drove down. "I dunno... Charleston Half Marathon, Riverfront Half Marathon... I'm not sure." Yeah, I didn't put a lot of mental prep work into this one, but I did know if I ended up dropping out of another race or hurting so bad I had a bad race, I was going to lose it! So, I did no training at half marathon pace, whatever that is. Haven't run thinking, "OK, this is the right pace." Nothing like that. Seriously, 30 minutes before the race, I ran a total of about 2 miles figuring out with my GPS what seemed right. 7:12/mile seemed good I decided. Ha!
It was 31 degrees an hour before the start and quickly warmed to around 42-45 by the finish. Felt good. Course went through historic Charleston for the first 6 miles or so and was a great venue. Then went along a divided highway that was less scenic and finished up along the water. Point to point course, which poses some logistical problems. Again, I didn't bother to look at the map and realize it was point to point until the day before the race. Of course, being in Charleston, it was flat & fast, which was good for keeping an even pace. I had forgotten how important pace is to me in a shorter race. This is the only race I've ever worn GPS in and I must say I looked at it every 1/4 mile or so. Helpful little tool.
I went out just a little faster than planned but it felt very comfortable- just under 7:00 pace. Held that pace pretty evenly for the first half and then made a noticeable drop off but never slid much from the second pace. Mile 10* was a little off because of a short fairly steep hill (the only one on the course) and an aid station I walked a few steps to drink at. Picked it up a bit at the end with a nice kick. Splits:
Mile 1- 6:53, Mile 2- 6:59, Mile 3- 6:56, Mile 4- 6:54, Mile 5- 6:52, Mile 6- 6:58, Mile 7- 7:13, Mile 8- 7:16, Mile 9- 7:18, Mile 10- 7:40*, Mile 11- 7:29, Mile 12- 7:25, Mile 13- 7:11
Ended up at 1:33:57. My previous PR was 1:34:37. Honestly, I didn't know that until I looked it up after my finish. I couldn't remember if it was 1:33 something or 1:31 something. Neither one. I'm telling you, I didn't put much (OK, zero) emphasis on this race. Finished 74th overall out of 1504 people. That puts me in the top 5%, which is very high, but I don't think it says much about me, but rather the changing face of running. It's been a long time since I've run a big road race like this and it was a good experience, but things have really changed.
While I did no prep work for this race, doing poorly would've been pretty crushing and doing well was a nice ego boost that I desperately needed. 1:33 isn't blazing fast or anything- I know that. Considering I'm not 100%, my training the past 2 weeks has been almost non-existent, and I haven't run a half marathon in 8.5 years, I'll gladly take it. I think I could go just under 1:30 with effort and planning- and I do like that distance, but I probably won't race another half for a long time.
My next race is even more foreign to me- an 8K that I used to do in the mid 1980s with my dad. It's been over 20 years since I've raced an 8K! :) After that, Mt. Mitchell 40 miler and then Wrightsville Beach Marathon. I signed up for it to run with a girl I used to coach but she decided not to run so I'm solo and looking for a solid marathon performance after the half!