I guess I'm a bit behind on this one, but time is something I don't have and probably won't have much of until taper begins in 4 weeks time.
I wasn't actually planning to run the race this year but at the last minute my coach was like why don't you do the race, it's on your recovery week so just go do it. That was enough. Last year I had a great race and remember the course fondly so I was excited. Well, until the morning off anyway.
Woke up not feeling all that great and the weather was a bit warmer than predicted so driving to the race I was not that thrilled. My plan was to do a 1.5 mile warm up then race at tempo pace and 1.5 mile cool down. My coach told me not to kill myself since I needed to be ready for the next week of ironman training so since I did 1:28 last year my goal was to be in the 1:27. I read last year's race report so I had an idea what to expect on the course. Miles 1, 6, 9 were hard, 2 and 10 easy and the rest rolling, at least that is what I wrote in last years report.
I had the Garmin on this year and wanted to go out with 9 min miles and pick it up as I started feeling better. I lined up just in front of the 9 min pace flag and when the gun went off I just tried to run comfortable without looking at my watch and ease into it. Well I was feeling really comfortable running up the hill that runs from .5 to 1 so I looked at my pace and I was doing 8:20. Oops, well it doesn't hurt and I'm in the rhythm so why not? I decided to keep my pace and ease up at the top of the hill. Mile 1 was 8:27, mile 2 is mostly downhill with a slight up at the end so I eased up and just did an 8:34, it felt a lot easier after the 8:27 up so I was happy, but still a bit nervous about running 10 seconds per mile faster than my goal so I backed off even more for mile 3. I met and passed "Hairy Man" on this mile. He was ahead of me the first 2.5 miles and I was gradually catching him, but for some reason he was running just outside the cones and of course cutting every corner. At one point a cop yelled at him and told him to stay within the cones and after that he did. A lady passed me at this point and said "hey there's hairy man" she said he does that at every race. So that's how he got his name. Mile 3 8:50. Felt good and recovered so it was time to pick it up and just in time for the rolling to really get started. I didn't remember mile 4 being that hard but Frank had said it looked hard on the elevation chart so that might have influenced my thinking, but still 8:42 felt good. I knew mile 6 was going to be hard so I eased up on mile 5 which ended up being mostly downhill to flat and did a 8:39, people were going by me but I somehow managed to control myself and not give chase. I would catch most of them on mile 9 anyway. Mile 6 starts with a long uphill, then a short break of flat/down before ending with another uphill section. slowest split of the day at 8:52. Mile 7 and 8 were just plain wonderful, flat and/or down so I was able to recover, get some water and gu in me and prepare for mile 9. miles 7 and 8, 8:33 and 8:32. Mile 9 is long slog up to the interstate overpass and then a bit more up and since I read last years report I knew to get into the climbing rhythm right away and it paid off, about half way through I was passing all those people that passed me from miles 5 - 8, some where walking and others just hanging on. I just said "good job" and kept my pace and focus on myself and before I knew it I was at the start of the last mile. Mile 9 8:31. That 8:31 gave me serious confidence for the last mile and while I was at mile 9 at 1:20 last year, this year I was at 1:17:58. Last year I hauled ass down the hill only to suffer and slow on the last .3 rolling to an uphill finish, so this year I sped up, but kept it in check and when I hit the rolling section I was able to pick up the pace and finish strong. Mile 10 - 8:06. Total time was 1:26:04. I beat last years time by 2:04 and I didn't even kill myself. Just goes to show you never know what kind of race you'll have until you have it.
Probably could have done an 8:30 pace for this race so next year I'll be back to kill myself and see what I can do, but I think an 8:30 paced half marathon is in my future also, can't wait for next year so I can use all these miles I am putting on to add some extra speed.