Half-marathon report (part II- the race)

Saturday, I went out and did a quick 4 miles, at a little faster than my planned pace in order to shake the kinks out. So, 4 miles in about 30 minutes.

Monday - race day.

The night before, I kept checking the weather, and it kept switching from "partly cloudy" to "scattered thundershowers." Rain is fine - thunder means that they cancel the race, and don't reschedule. So, it was with some mild aprehension that I went to bed Sunday night, with rain coming down in a steady drizzle.

And it rained all night long. It was sprinkling the next morning, as I got dressed. I looked at the weather report, and crossed my fingers. Fortunately, they didn't cancel the race, though it would continue to rain for most of the race (stopping only for about 15-20 minutes, somtime in the second hour.)

The course was muddy. And I mean, muddy, in the way that only water, sand, crushed gravel, dirt and horse manure can be muddy. That mix got almost everywhere - though I was not as dirty as some folks, who had mud up their backs almost to their necks.

Here are my splits:

Mile 1: 8:23 (I started near the back third - I have to weave more, but I get trampled less)
Mile 2: 7:48
Mile 3: 7:53
Mile 4: 7:37
Mile 5: 7:54
Mile 6: 8:00
Mile 7: 3:49 (Quick, call Guiness. Or SI. Or someone. This marker was waay off.)
Mile 8-9: 19:50 (Missed the mile 8 marker - but miles 7-9 still come out at less than 24 minutes, or under 8:00 per mile)
Mile 10: 7:43
Mile 11: 7:50
Mile 12: 8:13
Mile 13.1: 8:46 (As I was on the final half-mile, another runner caught up to me, and we both sped up in tandem. Well, until a hundred yards or so from the finish - I thought I heard him say "Let's pick it up" and I did - sprinting the remainder of the distance, and passing 2-3 more people.)

My watch time was 1:43:51, which is actually pretty close to my official clock time of 1:43:49. Or, put another way: NEW PR! And, not by a minute or two - my previous PR for a half-marathon (officially) was 1:56:21, so I cut 12:30 off my best time, and almost 15 minutes of my time from last year on that course.

And, what I like even more - it was a training race. I could have pushed harder, and possibly broken 1:40, but I just wanted to ensure that I could hold a 7.5 mph pace for a half-marathon. I'm fairly certain now that a 3:30 at Chicago might be possible, if the crowd in front of me isn't too bad and the weather is favorable.

Concluded in part III - the journey home


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