Marathon training has been going extremely well the past 12 weeks, and training results confirmed that I was fit and ready to improve on my half-marathon PB of 1:13:17, which was set at this same race last year. For the week of the race, the plan was to continue training, but easing off of the pace and distance of the runs to give myself a little recovery week with the race at the end. This would also give my body lots of energy and be ready to handle the final block of training for Rotterdam.
On Thursday I did my last quality workout, 10x1'fartlek, and unfortunately, it left my legs a little too tired. The short easy runs on Friday and Saturday were to provide some recovery and freshen up the legs for the race, which it did; however, I made an unwise decision of staying on my feet (~5-6 hrs) touring the city on Saturday afternoon. I think all the walking on Sat., combined with 10-12 mph winds in which the last 4kms were headwinds, caused me to lose some seconds and my goal of a sub-1:13.
I ran aggressive, but controlled, early in the race and came through the 5K mark in 17:11. For the next few kilometers I ran behind a small group of runners so that I could be protected from the wind and conserve some energy for later in the race. Drafting off the group actually caused me to lose 17 seconds over the next 5K (17:28). Despite losing some valuable seconds in the 2nd 5K, I still came through 10K in 34:39. I then picked up the pace over the next five kilometers and crossed the 15K mark in 51:57 (17:18). Much better. With kilometers 16 and 17 both at 3:25 (5:30 pace), I thought to myself that if I could just hold on to this pace for the remaining 4Ks, or even increase the pace, then it would be a great day. Unfortunately, things didn't workout as I would have liked it to. The legs and breathing got heavier, and the headwinds stronger as each km passed. I still finished strong, though it wasn't pretty (see photo above), with the last 1.1K in 3:40 (5:21 pace) and a new half-marathon PB of 1:13:09. I am content with my performance as it's certainly not easy running a half-marathon PB during the middle of marathon training, especially that I haven't backed off that much. The main race and focus is Rotterdam in a few weeks.
Here are the results and video clips of me here.