Unofficial half marathon

True to my plan I went and ran my own personal half marathon this morning. I’m annoyed and frustrated that the real race was cancelled, but I’m glad I went through with my personal race. I trained all summer for this and it would have seemed wrong not to cap it off with the last run.

I had set a goal to run a pace of 9:45, but recent training runs showed I could probably go faster. Based on my heart rate and how I felt in the first mile I decided to try to keep things just a little bit under 9:30 a mile.

Since I had to keep myself motivated I set my watch to auto-lap every mile, and turned 13.1 miles into 13 individual mile runs, plus a little more. I find this a lot easier to handle mentally. I ran based on my heart rate and average pace for each mile. It worked; my average pace was 9:23 a mile, and my slowest mile was 9:30. In fact I’m impressed with how consistent I managed to be: only two mile splits out of 13 were not between 9:20 and 9:30 a mile, and they were 9:13 and 9:17. It helped that I chose a course that is nearly completely flat.

And until about mile 10 my heart rate and breathing stayed consistent as well. After that I got progressively more tired, but had plenty left to finish. It helped that I had 2 liters of water and a bunch of fuel with me (Clif gels and blocks), so I didn’t ever feel like I didn’t have enough energy. Really the only real threat to my run was my left knee, which started to hurt on the outside after 9 miles and got progressively stiffer until the end.

In the end I finished at 13.12 miles in 2:03:13. 25 minutes faster than the half marathon I ran in March. I’m thrilled with my time and with how I feel. I wish, really wish, that this run had been the race I signed up for. I’d love to have an actual official time, even though I know it would have been 1 to 2 minutes slower to account for the difference between distance ran and the measured course (last half was 0.19 miles over GPS distance, last two 10ks were 0.1 miles over).

I trained so hard, and I’ve improved so much since this spring. I’ll run a timed half marathon in the spring, whether here or back in Iowa. Maybe then I’ll break 2 hours!

— Steve

Posted on 05 October 2014