Last Saturday I ran the Lexus LaceUp half marathon in Ventura. It was a lovely day and not too hot.
This race occurred 6 weeks after the Ventura Marathon. Back in August, when I signed up for the Lexus race I thought, “no big deal.” But then as my miles decreased substantially for my marathon race recovery I became concerned about my readiness for a half marathon.
It is at this point that I am thankful that I have been working with a coach on my training plan. I know that if I had been on my own I would have tried too much too soon after the marathon. But he had me easing pretty slowly (it seemed) back into a training routine.
My longest run prior to the latest half was 8 miles on October 17. During the week before the race I was a bit nervous as I wondered if I’d be able to jump from 8 to just over 14 miles (including warm up). I had to keep telling myself that this distance in my pre-marathon training was pretty easy, so I’d be good to go.
Race Day: this was my 5th half marathon and it was the first time I’d ever done a pre race warm up that actually consisted of running, another benefit of someone experienced giving me direction. So at 6:15am I ran a slow mile, hit the restrooms, did some dynamic stretches, followed by 4 strides. I was ready to go.
In lining up for the race I made the mistake of lining up towards the back of the pack (still feeling like a newbie?). The problem with this was that I had to start the race trying to get around a lot of people who were slower than me. This was a bit frustrating and totally my fault. Next time I will line up in a better position.
A strategy for my long runs and marathon is to walk for about 30 seconds every half mile. I usually do this for the first hour in an effort not to go out too fast. I actually did it for the entire Ventura Marathon because it was working for me in the heat (at least for 20 miles!). So I started my race with the same plan. I missed the first walk at .5 mile because it was too crowded to walk. I then walked at 1, 1.5, 2, and 2.5. Upon realizing that I was speeding up to make up time, I decided to just run.
This was a very easy course with a gradual uphill for the first 7 miles. When we returned (downhill yeah!) I was able to run at what for me is a pretty fast pace.
I started to fade at miles 12 and 13 and was trying very hard to stay on a good pace. It was hard but when I looked at my split times I didn’t fade as badly as it seemed. This is good as I’m trying to finish strong. In the last 100 yards I managed to sprint across the finish line!
After all this I’m happy to report that my official time was 2:13:11, almost 10 minutes faster than my last half marathon time of 2:22:56 (last December).
I’m doing another half marathon November 7th. Its another Saturday race. Yeah! It has lots of hills. Yikes!