Today was my first HM! It had a pace requirement (15 minute mile) so I was a little worried when I first registered back in July. The longest I had run at that point was 3.5 miles. My goal at registration was to finish before the course closed, in 3.5 hours.
As my distance increased my pace was pretty steady between 13-14 minute miles, so I revised my goal to finish in 3 hours. At that point I was doing my long runs by myself. About a month ago on of the Team in Training coaches that comes out to the track on Wednesdays where I work with a coach on speed work invited my to come running with her group at a local metro park on Saturday mornings. So I went.
The first time I paired up with the other "slow" runner....who does 10-11 minute miles. I didn't know that until after we were done. I was able to keep up with him most of the way. Since that point my pace seemed to stay consistent at the 10-11 minute rate. I would do the first 5-6 miles at about 10 minutes, then have to slow down for the rest. Two weeks ago I ran the full HM distance for my long run at 2:35; last week I did 15 miles, and my HM time was still the same (no, I did not taper, it did not feel like the right decision for me). So I revised my finish time goal down to 2:30. I intended to make sure I kept my overall 11 minute pace during the race, not get caught up in it, run super fast for awhile & burn out.
So much for good intentions! I'm used to running where there are markers every 0.25 mile so have gotten accustomed to timing myself that way and making adjustments a lot sooner than I did today. I am not very good at judging pace just from how it feels. Our course today was marked every mile. The first mile I did in 9 minutes (my short run time). I slowed down once I realized...to 9:17 for the second mile. I did the next two at a more reasonable 10:15 pace, then found myself back down to 9:40. Then i managed to get the next few at a steady 10 minute pace.
I usually get fatigued around mile 5 but it didn't hit this time until mile 7-8 when we switched to a very gravelly dirt road, running against the wind. By mile 9 I started slowing a few seconds each mile until mile 13 when I was at 11 minutes. My unofficial finish time (by my watch, there were no individual start times and I started at the back) was 2:13:42! I blew my goal out of the water and it didn't seem any harder than one of my training runs.
Of course I was smoked by a 60 something lady who also kick boxes, she passed me at mile 2 and I never saw her again until after I finished. She was completely awesome!
There is a big marathon/HM in Detroit in about a month that I am sort of thinking about. I know I won't be ready for the marathon but I know I could do the half, maybe with a goal of getting under 2 hours.
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