So, briefly, Friday night I did a 4 mile jog that was probably actually a little more than 4 miles. I ran with Ti, which is actually the first time we’ve done a run together in a really long time, mostly because we run at pretty different paces. It was fine and I didn’t time it or anything.
Saturday we drove to Philly, went to Reading Terminal Market where I got a disappointing pastrami reuben (obviously great pre-race food), and went to the Expo to pick up our bibs. We hung around there and shopped for a little while, and then headed over to our hotel in Cherry Hill to relax for a little while. We went to a really nice dinner at a place called Ristorante Toscana, where I ate a salad and some pasta with chicken and tomato sauce (which is actually good pre-race food). We were home by like 9:30, and I had a really hard time falling asleep. There was a fridge in our room making this really loud ticking noise, and I didn’t fall asleep until like 1am. That was not great. We woke up at 5:15, and made our way into the city to find a parking garage.
Once we parked, we immediately got on the line for the porta potties, and by the time it was our turn the race was starting in a few minutes. So I got into the corrals, and didn’t realize, or care, that I was in the corral behind the one I was supposed to be in. After waiting for a few minutes we got moving.
The weather was actually pretty great, I think it was around 55 at the time the race started. I don’t like checking my watch a ton, but I went through the first mile in 7:18, which I thought was a pretty good start. After that I just went into robot mode for a while, and checked my watch again at mile 5. It’s kind of stressful to not look for a long time, because when you finally do, you may have already run 4 miles way too slow or way too fast. I was kind of relieved that I hit 5 in 36:36, which is 7:19 miles. When I PR’ed in Baltimore, I hit 5 in 36:00, so I was glad to be in that range.
Miles 5-7 are pretty fun because you run through a cool part of the city, and there are big crowds. Around mile 7 was the first time I started feeling fatigued a little bit, but I was doing ok. I’ve run on this course twice before during the marathon, and I always came away thinking the course was pretty flat, with a few rolling hills around miles 8 and 10. I don’t know what happened, but the hills KILLED me this year. I have literally no recollection of the hills even registering during my 2 marathons here, but the hill going past the zoo was really tough, and the hill right before mile 10 almost broke me. It was really, really hard and I got super gassed, which was not great. I trained for the last few weeks on some tough hills, but my legs were hurting. I hit mile 8 in something like 58:30, and got to mile 10 in 73:43ish. I stopped to drink water for a second, which was kind of disappointing because I promised myself I wasn’t going to walk. It was probably only like 20 seconds, and I needed to catch my breath so I don’t totally regret it. The last 5k was pretty rough. I had to really battle to get to miles 11 and 12, and then finally in mile 12, which I hit in 1:29 or so, I got back into a little groove. I was just thinking “Dude, get this OVER WITH!!!”. So, I picked up the pace a little bit, and crossed the finish in 1:37:29, which is a few minutes off my PR, but my 2nd best half marathon ever.
Overall, I think yesterday was another “OK” day for me. That’s kind of been my theme this year. I’ve run a bunch of races in 2013, and almost all of them were just ok. I didn’t really train specifically for this race, and I think I’m still a little fatigued from marathon training. I’m also about 10 pounds heavier than I would like to be, and I definitely felt that extra weight yesterday in the last 5k. I ran pretty hard though, and I’m ok with my time. I’m back at the stage where I know I can run faster in the half marathon, and I just have to wait for the right day to break though. I stalled out at 1:52 for a couple of years before I ran a 1:41 in March of 2011, and stalled out there until I ran the 1:34 in October of 2012, so I am familiar with the waiting game.
I have 43 days left in the year, and 253 miles to cover to get to 2,000. That works out to about 41 mile weeks, which is doable, but not really ideal. My next race(s) will be 5 miles or 5k, so I don’t really need to do distance runs for those races, but I’ll have to cover ground somehow. I don’t really have a plan yet, but I am taking today off because I’m a little bit sore, and then I’ll think about how to attack the rest of the year. See ya tomorrow.