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Worldwide Half Marathon: Think Global, Run Local

October 12, 2008

Time to test the training.

Rose early Saturday, Garmin charged, and dressed in my tested racing attire–black Nike shorts, gold top, white hat, Thorlo socks, Adrenaline shoes with New Balance sausage laces. I don’t always use Body Glide on training runs but I do on race day. Took the time to take most of a pack of Sport Beans to get fueled up.

Sarah wanted to run together. I told her my goal was to hold nine-minute miles and she was up for the challenge. She said if she couldn’t hold the pace she’d fall back. I didn’t think it would be a problem; she and I had run six nine-minute miles earlier in the year, but I told her she should feel free to drop off if she needed to.

We met at the running store at 5:45 and set off for about a half-mile warm up. Then I started my Garmin and we took off, running north along A1A. We were definitely breathing harder than we usually do when we run together, but some Garmin-watching proved we were holding pace well, and even making small talk. Sarah said she’d like to run seven, if she could hold the pace. We turned around at the 3.5 mark so I could drop her off. At that point, we had just over an hour on the clock, and I knew if I could hold the pace I could get in under the two-hour mark. I said goodbye and headed off for my somewhat lonelier miles.

I broke into my Sport Beans at mile 8 only to make an awful, though highly instructive, discovery: I can’t eat Sport Beans during a race. I’m breathing too hard to chew. I made myself gulp down about half the package, which I somehow managed to do without choking, because I knew temps were in the mid-70s when I started and I needed the electrolytes or I’d crash. But it was a rough go, and after about mile 10 I just held on to the half empty bag.

The original strategy, as shared in the last post, was to hold a steady pace for the first ten miles and then push the pace. I hadn’t counted on life stacking things against me; because of our small group meeting, I slept about six hours the night before, and had a less-than-ideal dinner. Picking up the pace at mile 10 was not happening. In fact, at mile 10, I wished dearly I’d asked Sarah to pace me for the last seven miles instead of the first seven, or that one of the triathletes training along my route would ride along me to keep me on pace. But I also knew that race conditions would have me with no pacers whatsoever; holding my pace is my responsibility alone. I gritted my teeth and held on; my splits prove I didn’t fall off pace. At mile 12 I found what I had in the tank and picked up the pace what little I could, and crossed the imaginary finish line at 1:55:53.

My splits:
mile 1–9:14
mile 2–8:57
mile 3–8:57
mile 4–8:56
mile 5–9:07
mile 6–9:09
mile 7–8:59
mile 8–8:43
mile 9–8:46
mile 10–8:36
mile 11–8:43
mile 12–8:43
mile 13–8:20
mile 13.1–8:02

Look at that. Instead of thirteen miles at nine-minute pace, I only ran the first seven hovering near that pace–only three of them above pace–and really did pick up the pace after that, though I didn’t feel like I had. And this was under somewhat adverse conditions.

I’m really looking forward to my race now, though I’m going to miss running with a friend.

Today, my legs are a little sore, but a good-tired-feeling. Looking forward to a nice easy run tomorrow.

By the way, if you’re a runner (and maybe even if you’re not) you ought to visit the Worldwide Festival of Races. Runners have posted their race reports for every distance–5k, 10k, and half marathon–and you can see their pictures, read their race reports, and visit their blogs. We had over 1000 runners participate in the third running of the Worldwide Half. And put this race on your calendar for next year. You can sign up for any of the three distances–or run two of them back to back Saturday and Sunday. It’s a great event. Think global, run local!

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