I entered the Rocktoberfest Half Marathon on a whim. I knew I could PR. I wanted to test out sub-3:00 marathon pace and see how progress towards that goal was coming. It also just fit into my schedule and was close to home. I was very pleased with the results.
The course was fairly hilly and ran along roads used in Charlotte road races for at least the 30 years I've been running- Morehead, through Myers Park, etc. I couldn't sleep the night before, worried about pace and how prepared I was. Silly to get nervous about a half marathon, maybe, but I was. Just didn't know what I was capable of. Regretted not knowing what 6:45 pace (my initial goal) really felt like anymore since I haven't been wearing a GPS watch lately.
I ran the first mile with some of my new TrySports teammates who I knew were going to run my target pace of 6:45/mile. It was downhill and I think we hit it in 6:12. I felt good so I picked up the effort in the next uphill mile and ran the rest of the way by myself. Hit the 10K mark in 40:12. I was nervous about a race of this distance but I really enjoyed it. Seemed really short (not bragging at all) and I was able to divide it up easily. "Half way there? Crazy! I just started!" or "Just 35 more minutes. That's nothing." I kept a very positive attitude & was confident the whole time. Once I hit the 2nd or 3rd mile, I knew I wouldn't slow down and I averaged 4 seconds per mile faster in the last half than the first, which is pretty remarkable pacing if I do say so myself. Though I was pushing it hard the whole way, I can't describe how easy it felt. Knew I'd finish strong. Thought about every step. Told myself to run as fast as I could each step. But still, ZERO fatigue, no problems, no slowing down, no getting passed, etc. Couldn't ask for anything more.
My PR had been 1:33:58, set in January. I was just looking to break 1:30 Saturday but ended up at 1:24:15 because everything just clicked. I took a gamble not knowing exactly what would happen because of my inexperience at that distance but I think I played it perfectly. A little faster early & I may have died. The ultimate goal is sub-3:00 by this Spring. There are a lot of "what ifs," but I feel certain I could've run that Saturday. Experiencing no fatigue, no problems & no negative thoughts, I'm pretty sure I could've kept that 6:25/mile pace until 20 miles and then fallen back to 6:45-7:00- let's go high & say an average of 7:00 for the last 10K. That would've given me 2:51. Even 7:00 pace for the last 13.1 would've given me 2:55 and that would've been a big slowdown. Will I go out in 6:25 for a marathon? I don't know why I can't be close to that and still have a good marathon. More work & testing, but I feel very confident. It's a good feeling.
I finished 12th place out of 709 finishers. Top 1.6%. Strange being that alone in a pretty big race.
Now, I register for Kiawah Island Marathon which is December 10 to see what I can do.
Really enjoyed my Sunday 10 mile run at ASC trails just before sundown. I used to love squeezing in as many miles as possible before dark on Sundays out there but haven't been in a couple of months. And sadly, with the faster paced, non-trail running I've been doing lately, I noticed it on the trails. I wasn't as nimble & didn't see the trail like I used to. Still fun.