I was a little nervous going into the Urban Cow Half Marathon yesterday morning. It is well into CIM training season, so this race would be a great test of my fitness. But have I trained enough? If my training is going well, I should easily PR, and potential break 1:40. But if my 7:51 average pace for the Buffalo Stampede two weeks ago is any indication, I would be hard pressed to PR...
I started the race, thinking about a 7:37 pace (to get in at 1:40). I ran the first few miles well under that, closer to 7:20. Early in the race, we took a left turn towards the Sacramento Zoo. A fellow Buffalo Chip mentioned that we were off-course, that we had turned onto the 5k course. Trusting the race organizers, I assumed he was wrong, until we rounded the last part of the loop, met back up with the rest of Wave 1, and saw a second 1 mile marker. Already, a little over a mile into the race, I knew I wouldn't PR due to the extra distance.
At first, I was pissed. I wanted the test, I thought a PR might be in the cards if my training has been as good as I think it has. But thanks to a mistake by someone else, I wouldn't get that test. This made me go faster.
After a few minutes, I realized that the race could still be a test. Usually I start to regulate my speed, after going out too fast, so that I can not bonk towards the end and slow down too much (which I tend to do). My plan became keeping up as fast as I could manage for the distance, without worrying about bonking. It would be a test of how far I could run around the 7:30 mark, or lower if I could manage. I stopped really checking my watch, or worrying about total elapsed time.
Despite the disappointment that I wouldn't end up with a comparable time or a PR, I enjoyed the race, and the challenge of a 14 or so mile tempo run. It is at least a good Sunday long run!
I came in strong, with a time of 1:44 for 13.85 miles (on my Garmin). After consulting a few Chips, most found a 4 and a half minute difference, which would have put my at a PR, and under 1:40. I was a bit disappointed that it wouldn't be official, but happy with my performance on my "test."
This morning, Capitol Road Race Management announced they had recalculated the times for Wave 1 participants based on the measured distance of 13.74. That made my time 1:39:43, a PR and under 1:40! While I would feel better about a PR achieved without calculations after the fact, I am happy to be the owner of a new PR, and happy that I achieved my goals!