Hello hello! I’m lounging at home celebrating a very successful tune-up half marathon today–and my second to last race before Sugarloaf. I signed up for this half back in December after hearing great things about it. It checks all my boxes: semi-local, sizable but not too big, and some hills but nothing crazy. All week the weather reports said it was going to be snowing, so I was excited to see the report change to no snow… but 38 degrees with wind gusts up to 40 MPH… ugh.
Despite the conditions, I really loved this race and would totally do it again! J and I drove down at a very reasonable hour since this race starts at 11 am (amazing). Packet pickup was quick and easy, parking was free and also super smooth, and I was running a warmup by 10:40. Coach Laura and I had discussed a conservative race strategy for me to hit a solid sub-1:40 time–not necessarily a PR, but a fitness check just about 8 weeks out from my goal race. I easily slotted myself in just in front of the 8 min/mile corral and took off into a doozie of a headwind, holding the pace back to tick off some comfortable miles in the 7:35-7:45 range for miles 1-4. This worked out perfectly since the the first few miles of this course are quite hilly.
By mile 5 I was feeling really strong, and I kicked it up to a 7:20 pace–definitely bolstered after seeing J cheering like a maniac at the mile marker. The crowd had thinned out a bit and the wind had mercifully died down, so miles 5-9 felt pretty breezy at a 7:20 pace. Just as I was letting the glimmer of PR hope sneak into my mind, BAM! We hit the portion of the race along the water and the wind picked up like crazy–almost to this level, no joke. I threw my gloves back on, gritted my teeth (literally, the wind was blowing a bunch of sand and dirt into our eyes and mouths), and pushed my way through miles 10 and 11, hitting my slowest mile of the race (8:04). While the headwinds gusted for the remainder of the race, we turned off the water and they were a little bit less intense. I picked it back up and almost managed to negative split the last three miles, other than a little slowdown due to the sizable hill at mile 12 (YUP). I hit the last .1 at 5:50 pace and finished in 1:39:11, well below my goal of 1:40 and my second-fastest half to date! I finished feeling really strong–my legs actually had some juice left in them, but I was done having my breath knocked out of me by the wind. J and I grabbed some much-needed coffee and lunch at one of my old haunts–I used to work in the area and it was super fun to be back. Overall, this was a fun, competitive, and well-executed race. Highly recommend!
Backing up a bit, this week was a bit of a cutback week so I could do a mini-taper for the race. We had a fairly dramatic snow/ice storm on Tuesday, so it was perfect timing to be holding back a bit. I did a treadmill class Tuesday morning instead of running outside, and luckily by Thursday and Friday it was doable to get back out on the roads. Spring, I will say–I am so, SO ready for you. Feel free to come any time you want!!
Week 7: 35.3 total miles
- Monday: 6.6 easy + strides
- Tuesday: 5 miles with hills and intervals at HHRC
- Wednesday: 60 minute yoga class + strength circuit
- Thursday: 5 easy
- Friday: 5.4 easy
- Saturday: Rest
- Sunday: Race! 13.1!
Linking up with The Weekly Wrap (hosted by Hoho Runs and Miss Sippipiddlin) and with Eat Pray Run DC for her training recap linkup. Also, joining the Jess’s (Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits) for their weekly recap linkup!