Well, now I know that if I'm going to skip the speed part of my speed workouts for two months, that I shouldn't be surprised when I can't keep up with the 1:40 pace leader.
As I mentioned in my last post, I had a hard time determining if I am better trained than last year or not. Overall I'm stronger, but I think the lack of real speedwork was a real hindrance today. I also didn't feel fantastic, but I think a majority of my issue today was my training.
I decided to go out with the 1:40 pace group. Keep in mind, my PR is 1:43, so 1:40 was ambitious on its face. I held on for about two miles, then really felt the kind of cramp coming on that requires walking. So I slowed down gradually. The 1:45 pace group caught me at about mile 6, right before an uphill. At the uphill, I let them go, and figured I'd try to keep them in my sights, but I wouldn't be heartbroken if I matched my time from my most recent two half marathons (in the 1:46-1:49 range). At least that is a good long run, faster than I'd normally go on a long run.
And I did just that. I didn't really worry about my time, and ran at a somewhat comfortable pace. I felt a little crummy, but tried to maintain in the ballpark of 8 minutes per mile. Coming in towards Land Park (mile 11 or so), I started worrying that the 1:50 group might be close behind.I picked it up a bit, and they didn't catch me.
I came in at a somewhat respectable 1:49:12, or 8:20 average per mile. It is actually my slowest time in a half this year, but only by 18 seconds. So it counts as a good tempo long run.
Now, I need to dedicate myself to speedwork if I plan to have a good race in December.