Our Sunday long run this morning was assessment number two- the Urban Cow Half Marathon. After we did our initial assessment, the coaches gave us expected finish times and paces for all race distances. Mine was 1:46 for a half marathon, about 8:10 per mile. That would be a five minute PR for me, but I thought I could do a bit better. I've been training faster than my pace sheet they gave me, and I wanted to go for 1:45. So I decided that I would try to beat or at least keep a 8 minute per mile pace.
I set my Garmin "virtual partner" for the 8 minute pace, so I could check how far ahead/behind I was. The Garmin is fantastic. I set two of the training screen to show me the current pace, time elapsed, distance, average pace, last lap time, and lap pace. Lots of useful information to keep me on track!
I started out a but in front of the 1:45 pace group. I did the first two miles around 7:50, and worried that I was going a bit too fast. But I felt great, so I kept going. I sped up a bit for the next two miles, because the 1:45 pace group was next to me. They were going about a minute ahead of the speed they should have been going, and it bugged me, so I sped up. I did 7:40 to 7:45 for the next three miles, and still felt great. Gu around mile 4, and water at the aid stations at mile 2 and 4.
Miles 6 and 7 I kept about a 7:50, then slowed a bit for the next two miles, to about 7:56. Mile 10 was a slow one, and the only one over 8:00- we ran this mile on the levee, and there was a headwind. I had a Gu around this time, and Cytomax at the remaining aid stations (every even mile).
Around mile 11 I started to feel tired, especially in the legs. But I didn't let it get to me because I was doing so well. I have never felt better during a half marathon- or any other distance for that matter. The training is really paying off. I didn't feel really tired until well into the last two miles, and by then I had enough left in the tank to speed up still.
I think without the Garmin I would have slowed down for the last two miles. I was tired, and it is really easy to slow down without noticing. I did a few times, but I checked the Garmin frequently to make sure I was on pace. The last three miles I kept between 7:55 and 7:58, and I really sped up at the half mile from finish sign. My pace for the final segment (0.1) was under 7:00 per mile.
The best part of the race- aside from how great I felt- was seeing John at the finish! It was really nice to have him there. I'm always excited at the end of a race, but it isn't as fun without someone to share it with.
Here is my Garmin summary of the race:
By the way, my time was 1:43:13. This is a PR of over 8 minutes. My overall pace was 7:51 minutes per mile.
My 10k time was 48:13, a PR of 1 minute and 20 seconds. my 10 mile time was 1:18:23, a PR of 5 minutes and 20 seconds. My 5k time was probably a PR also, but the Garmin didn't make a datapoint at 3.1 miles.