Monday, October 6, 2014

Race Day

Race day arrived and I met my friend Lia, who I had trained with getting ready for this half marathon, and we walked over to the start line in the early morning gathering light.  This would be the longest race I had done since the 2009 Army Ten-Miler, the race at which I got injured permanently, coming down then after a decade of hard running with a chronic ankle injury which I now manage rather than recover from.  (The start line in the shadow of the Washington Monument.)

Indeed, this 13.1 miles would be the farthest I had run in five years, the prior recent long run being eleven miles with Lia two weeks earlier, with a couple of ten milers and nine milers thrown in during this calendar year.  Now I had bursitis in my knee to contend with as well, which had hampered my training, but we had a plan enroute to trying to break two hours, which Lia had never done and I had never failed to do in six prior HM's, stemming from the salad days of my running which ended half a decade ago.  (Lia and I go back a long ways as running buddies, as shown by this Holiday Lights Run I conducted for my agency in December 2009.)

As previously noted in these posts, a two-hour HM is a 9:09 pace.  I had urged Lia to start slow, so as not to burn up in the adrenaline rush of the first couple of miles, try to settle in at nine-minute miles and then miles down the road, if she or we were feeling good, kick it up a notch in the second half of the race.  (Lia smashed her goals, the result of training long and hard including cross-training.)

In other words, I told Lia to run with me for at least the first few miles, as I had the racing and coaching experience necessary to set up a negative split, although I rarely run negative splits myself (it's a classic Do as I say, Not as I do thing).  It turns out I ran with her after the first three miles until I could no longer keep up with her pace, then I told her to go on and she seemed to kick it up as she disappeared in the distance and I started grinding down to a plod, but we both more than achieved our aims in the race.  (I met my goals.)

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