Marathon training has been going extremely well and with a recent PB at the ten mile distance, there was no reason I wouldn't be able to run a PB for the half-marathon. My race strategy was similar to my ATM race; start out at about 5:30 pace or slightly under for the first half and then drop the hammer on the second.
The first few miles felt pretty easy. I went through the first mile right at 5:30 pace. Me and a group of runners, some were elite females aiming for the Olympic Marathon Trials Standard (Women - 1:15:00, Men - 1:05:00), actually freaked out because the timing clock at Mile 1 showed 5:08. I then heard a guy on the bike tell his athlete not to worry because the clock was wrong and that the 1st mile was a 5:30. My second mile split was slow (GPS split for was a 5:43) even though I felt like I was running the same effort/pace. I hit the 5K in 17:11, about 5-10 seconds slower than I had planned. I probably fell behind because I was too busy waving to my wife and daughter.
|Definitely not running hard enough!|
At the 10 mile mark, which I came across in 54:56, I caught and passed about four runners, including three-time Olympian Jen Rhines. It's crazy to think that my 10 mile split was a sub-55 and only 21 seconds slower than my PB I set a few weeks ago. Coming through the ten mile mark in just under 55-min meant that I'd only have to run 5:30 pace for the remaining 5K to hit my goal time of 1:12.
I wasn't going to settle for 5:30 pace, so I tried to keep the hammer down and ran 5:24, 5:29, and 5:24 for the last three miles. When I got to the 13 mile mark, just at the base of the short steep hill before the finish, I glanced at my watch and saw 1:11:10. I knew at this point that I would break 1:12 for the half. I sprinted up the short hill and to the finish like nobody's business crossing the line in 1:11:49, a new half-marathon PB by a whopping 80 seconds. According to my Garmin splits and Strava, I ran the last .1 mile of the race at sub-5:00 pace, and that's with the hill. I'd have to say that the weekly hill blasts my coach has incorporated into my training has really paid off.
|1:11:49!!! New Half Marathon PB!|
Below are my splits and a comparison of my 2014/2015 R'n'R Philly race. Interestingly, I ran much faster this year but placed lower in the overall results, mainly because the fast guys and ladies decided to show up and run a qualifying time for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. A total of 44 runners (24 men and 20 women) ran fast enough to qualify for the marathon trials in February. Insane!
Some thoughts following my half-marathon PB:
- I was thrilled to run a huge PR and sub-1:12. However, I think if I wasn't being too patient early in the race I probably would have ran about 10-20 seconds faster. I'm not greedy though, I'll take a 1:11:49!!!
- It's obvious that I'm a patient and negative split type of runner. Personally, I think it's the best and smartest way to run the long distance races.
- The race was a huge and perfect confidence booster leading up to CIM in five weeks. I feel that my ultimate goal of a sub-2:30 marathon is well within reach.