I parked at the school vs driving up to the finish and taking the shuttle down. Mostly because I didn't' want to see the course. I ran into my neighbor / coworker's husband and we chatted a bit about our plans, he is training for the full marathon in October. My goal was to just run it easy and be somewhere around or below what smartcoach recommended (11'25")
With only 300 registered and 279 or so that finished, it was a small start. I went to nearly the end to try to avoid going out to fast.
It didn't work.
My first mile was a 10'14" and it felt awesome. I wasn't struggling to catch my breath, my legs weren't screaming at me, it felt like the right pace. Realistically I knew that my pace hadn't magically switched from mid 11s to low 10s in a week, but I decided to see how long I could hold it the pace. Typically on my long run, I am all about survival, I am generally running alone a few miles away from my house or car and my only goal is to get the time on my feet. Running this race allowed for me to see a little bit out of my comfort zone.
I kept between 10'11" -10'15" for the first 5 miles. The hills helped, I do well up hill and I am learning how to use the downhills better and I was feeling great. I was surprised to see how consistent the miles were despite the inconsistent terrain. I slowed down a bit for miles 6 and 7 but still well under smartcoach's goal for 11'25".
Miles 8 was apart of a short out and back where I started to lose my focus. I lost moral too, I had felt like I passed ALOT of people during the first 5 miles, the out and back was a good reminder that I am still a back of the pack runner as I watched everyone that was still in front of me. This would have been an ideal time for a chew or a gel. I don't normally get hungry during a run, but I could tell I needed a pick up.
Mile 9 wasn't as shaded as the rest of the course and the temperatures were starting to rise. I was really confused when a woman ran by saying how she was hoping for under 2 hours. I looked at the overall time on my watch which said 1:47 and I couldn't do the math. (neither could she really)
I was able to mostly run until mile 11. I was feeling the results of going out entirely way too fast, and began to run/walk. I did walk the first minute for miles 12 & 13 but was able to shuffle along otherwise.
My watch indicates I finished at 2:24:59 and my official time was 2:25:15. It was not my best race ( but also not my worse (in fact it is smack in the middle of times for my 16 half marathons I've completed) but it was a fantastic long run. The post race spread made the hills worth it, they had breakfast foods and bbq. I started off with half of a watermelon and chatted with my neighbors until I was ready to indulge. I don't eat meat too often, but I love hot dogs.
After refueling, I headed to the beach, I had brought a bathing suit, but the thought of getting out of sweaty spandex seemed like too much work, so I just went in my running clothes. It was refreshing and I would have hung out much longer if I wasn't afraid I had missed the last shuttle back to the elementary school. I hadn't luckily, because 13 miles is way too far, and I was back on the road to head home around 12:30.
Should I have run slower, more even miles? Maybe. But then I wouldn't know that I could hold low 10s for 7 miles.