Mile 1 – 6:34 – Coming into this race, I knew the course was slow. It seemed like everyone who I cross checked results seemed to run 5-10 minutes slower. So I came into this race thinking anything between 1:30-1:35 would be a great success. In all actuality, I came in thinking I didn’t care about my time. As long as I put a good effort out there, I’d feel good about it.
Mile 2 – 7:17 – The first mile was a touch quicker than I was hoping, but it was in the ballpark. This second mile was much hillier. I had one hill that really sucked all of the juice out of the legs. I was thinking my legs felt like what I like to call “end of the race” legs. Word to the wise – you don’t want to have the “end of the race” feel when you have 85% of the race left.
Mile 3 – 7:13 – A group of three guys took off. For the first two miles, I was in the second group of three guys. I knew by now that I had underestimated this course and gone out too hard. This was going to be a LONG half marathon.
Mile 4 – 7:40 – I’m feeling rough. You know it’s bad when by mile 4 I’m running the same pace I ran at mile 23 in a marathon 5 weeks earlier.
Mile 5 – 7:34 / Mile 6 – 7:43 – My though process for this mile. Another hill?!? Another turn?!?! More loose gravel. I wish I had someone to run with. Oh wait, I did until they all passed me. Am I going to look like a softie if just run the “half of a half” marathon (1 loop) and go home?
Mile 7 – 7:04 – This was a start of the second loop. This was the flattest mile on the course. It gave me a great amount of confidence to see that my time in the range that I’d be hoping to see. I’m improving the outlook on this race. Instead of being disappointed by my time, my body, and the unforgiving course, I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that I’m not going to run a great time, but let’s run hard and see what I can do.
Mile 8 – 7:52 – The worst hill on the course. Absolutely sucked everything out of my legs. Ouch…
Mile 9 – 6:24 – As an FYI, I hit my mile split on this mile. It wasn’t “truly” a 6:24 mile. I just wanted my mile splits to match where the miles were. I know my Garmin marks this course as 1/4 mile short, but when you go in and look at where it’s tracking, it’s obvious that due to the trees and all the turns that it just isn’t very accurate.
Mile 10 – 7:37 / Mile 11 – 7:36 – Feeling decent. I know my time sucks. I’m feeling good, though because there is one guy who has been 5-10 seconds behind me for 5-6 miles and he can’t seem to get me. I’ve now put another 10-15 seconds on him. I have a plan around 12.5 miles to drop the hammer around a turn if he’s still anywhere near me.
Mile 12 – 7:50 – A rough mile, but I’m feeling really good that I’m ALMOST done.
Mile 13 – 7:42 – Take a peek around 12.5 miles and I see the guy who used to be 5 seconds behind me. He’s probably about 25 seconds behind me. I throw down my last little “kick” – which, if I’m being completely honest with myself, was pretty weak. It’s enough to put enough distance where I know I’m not going to get passed.
Final Time – 1:36:04 – My initial reaction to this race was a big disappointment. My time was disappointing. The course was extremely difficult. The entire last 11-1/2 miles felt like I was digging really deep in the well. Giving myself a little bit of distance from the race, though, I’m able to view the race a little differently. I came into the race saying I had no real expectation, however, the reality was I certainly place a time expectation on myself. Not a specific time expectation (ie – I didn’t have a target finish time). However, when my mile splits started to slip out of a range that I considered “acceptable,” I started to get really negative. I shouldn’t have placed a time goal on myself. Honestly, I wished I wouldn’t have even wore a watch. Effort-wise, I was doing work. A lot. As in, this half marathon felt considerably tougher than the full marathon I just ran five weeks ago. My time stunk when I compare it with what I consider myself capable of running. I know the course was tough. The footing, turns, and hills all affected my overall time. But when I cross compare some results, all the sudden my time didn’t seem so bad either. Although I was frustrated much of this race, it was a unique race and it was a fun course. I would certainly do it again.