So, I’m trying to figure out my pacing strategy and mental strategy for Sunday’s half marathon. Coach wants us to go all out, to see where we are fitness-wise for our marathon training. It’s been awhile since I’ve really tried to do a half marathon all out. The weather always seems to be shitty (freezing and snow, or ultra hot) or I’ve been doing them as marathon pace training runs. So, I’m excited to do one all out.
I went through my running ahead log and analyzed my past half marathons. No big surprise why I blow up. They are like mini-versions of what happens to me in my marathons. I go out way too fast and can’t maintain pace and then end up doing the later miles way slower. Just like my marathons. The other thing I noticed is that I always seem to have a phantom foot or leg issue that ruins my mental, and then physical, game. Just like my marathons.
My PR is actually pretty decent. Its 1:44:44 (8:00 pace). It’s old. It’s from August of 2008 (Urban HM), 2 months before my first marathon. When I went back to my old runnin-from-the-law blog and my runningahead log and looked at my race report from this race, I’m amazed. The splits are EXACTLY how they should be. 7:52 for the first mile. 7:58 for the last mile. The finishing kick was at a 6:50 pace for the last tenth of the mile. One random mile that was 8:18, but the rest were all between 7:50 – 8:03. Very consistent. So I was trying to think about how I managed to race so consistently and feel so good. And then I read my blog entry about what I was trying to do in the race. I was trying to qualify for corral 1 one Twin Cities. And I needed sub 1:45. So, going into the race, I had a very clear goal in mind. I felt I was trained for it. I knew what my pace needed to be. I knew that I didn’t want to blow up because then I’d be in corral 2 with the masses. Most importantly, I BELIEVED that I could do it. And I did.
Really, looking back on all my races – marathons and half marathons and even shorter distances, this was probably my best race. Ever. And I truly think it was because of my attitude and my belief in myself and my abilities. I haven’t really, truly believed in myself and what was possible for me to achieve, in a long time.
So I know for Sunday I need to have a goal in mind. It needs to be realistic/manageable based on my training. I need to be consistent in my splits. I need to not let my mental game fall apart if a mile or two ends up off pace or a phantom pain develops. And, most importantly, I need to BELIEVE that I can meet my goal.
I know, you are all dying to know what the goal is. And because I believe in throwing everything out there for my 5 blog readers to know, I’ll tell you. It’s 1:43:30. For you mathematically challenged, that’s a 7:54 pace. Not too much faster than my PR, but significantly faster than any HM I’ve done in the past couple of years for sure. This seems very realistic and manageable to me. I BELIEVE that I can run a 1:43:30. And I’m ready to go for it.
The big caveat (and this really is NOT an excuse and it’s not me giving myself a way to back off when it gets tough on Sunday): If my hamstring starts screaming at me to the point of pain/injury again (more than just bothering me a bit or being “off”), I’m backing off the pace and just going to finish without injury. Because even though I want to race this and see where I am at fitness-wise, it’s not my goal race and I don’t want to screw up my body so that I can’t do the marathon. The marathon is more important. But, I feel like with 2 more days of rest, the hamstring should be good for Sunday!