TITLE: My Latest Half Marathon AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: June 26, 2006 4:31 PM DESC: ----- BODY: Hannibal Smith of television's The A-Team used to say, "I love it when a plan comes together." I do, too, but some days work out better than that. My plan for the Sturgis Falls half marathon yesterday was conservative: 8:00 minutes/mile. Last year I was shooting for 7:00 minutes/mile and fought some humid weather on the way to a finish of 1:34:11, a pace of 7:11. This year, after being under the weather persistently for a couple of months and working through hamstring soreness, I scaled back my expectations to my target marathon pace. The weather this year was perfect for a race: cloudy, not too breezy, and temperatures just under 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Just before the starting gun, one of my friends said, "I hate when the weather takes away all of my excuses." Yep, because then it's just me out their on the course. It can be tough to start a big race "on pace" because the adrenalin and the presence of the big crowd usually encourages a fast start. After 1 mile, I had run 7:32 -- a half-minute too fast. But I felt good, and the pack had thinned out, so I kept on. My second mile: 7:32. Still feeling good. The third mile took me 7:44, but I still felt good and actually thought I'd been a little cocky over the last mile. So I kept on running. And I found a very nice rhythm. This may have been the steadiest ten miles I have ever run:
7:32 - 7:32 - 7:44 - 7:35 -
7:35 - 7:33 - 7:30 - 7:34 -
7:36 - 7:29
There was a glitch in the course's 11th mile due to road construction, so my time for that "mile" (6:13) is certainly inaccurate. Then I ran back-to-back miles of 7:21 and sprinting home the last 1/10-mile in 37 seconds, for a finishing time of 1:37:15 -- only three (or maybe four) minutes slower than last year. I felt great the whole way, though when I was done I felt as if I had run a marathon. I'm beginning to learn that pain and soreness are not a function of one's time or one's fitness, but a function of the combination of time and fitness. On this day, I ran about as fast as I possibly could have, given my fitness level, and my body told me so afterwards. The only bad news of the day was that I finished off the medal stand for my age group -- by two seconds! To be honest, though, I don't know if I had two seconds left in me at the end of the race, so I have no regrets. Now, I'll spend a couple of days doing easy runs to recover and then proceed with a training plan for the Twin Cities Marathon on October 2. I don't have a lot of time, and I have more work to do that I had this time last year. But yesterday's race makes me eager to face the challenge. -----