Saturday, March 5, 2016

My Half Marathon PR Training Run

As promised, here’s the story about my recent half marathon.  To be honest, I was having trouble coming up with the angle for this story.  I wanted it to be more than just I felt good at mile 2, felt like shit at mile 11, and barely survived to the end.  Fortunately, as is usually the case, the answer came to me on this morning’s run.

Before the start.
This post is a continuation of Yes Will (& Lee) CanWill is on an around the world running adventure and I was joining him on the San Francisco leg of his journey.  We had the pleasure of hosting Will in our home the night before the run and we spent the evening eating, drinking wine (just a little), chatting, and relaxing as we learned more about Will’s adventures.  

At 5:30 the next morning, we were off to The City.  We had reservations at the Beach Chalet, which was near the finish, for a post-run brunch so that’s where we parked.  It was very cool getting ready with sound of Pacific Ocean waves crashing in the background.  After a quick pre-run selfie, Will and I ran over to catch our school bus to the start.

As the official start time approached I was getting a little anxious since I had set a goal of finishing within 2-hours, which would be my fastest time ever (a personal record or PR).  Will is a faster runner than me so my plan was to hang with him for a few fast miles then settle into a rhythm that would carry me to the end within my 2-hour goal.

Around mile 10.
Right at 8:00 we are off.  Will and started to weave our way though the people and within the first mile we are running our pace.  It felt fast but not deadly.  Then, I look at my watch and see that we are running an 8:16 mile pace.  This is much faster than my normal 9:20 and I begin to wonder how much longer I can hold on.

We continued the pace through miles 2 and 3.  Just as we approached mile 4 I looked again and now we were running a 7:47 pace.  At that point it was time to let Will go.  I immediately told myself to slow down however at mile 7 I was still pushing a sub 9:00 pace.

I turned out of Golden Gate Park and onto the Great Highway along the Pacific Ocean.  This is where I started to struggle.  It felt like I was never going to reach the turnaround to start heading back.  Once I reached the turning point I was hoping the motivation of heading home would kick in but it did not.  Miles 10 - 12 were a real struggle as I fought to hold on.

At the finish!!!
The good news was I was still on track.  As I ran, I was constantly doing math in my head to ensure I met my goal.  At 12 miles, the motivation did kick in and I was able to lift the pace to the  end.  And this included dealing with a small climb to the finish and the fact my watch said it was 13.35 and not 13.1 miles.  My time - 1:55:49.

While I met my goal I could hardly walk.  Monday was even worse as my legs were very fatigued.  My solution?  Go on a 40-mile recovery bike ride.  That’s because of the “training” part of the title of this post.  While many people were taking time off after finishing the half marathon, I needed to keep training since that was not the goal.

My running goal is a 25k (15.5 miles) run with over 3,000 feet of climbing on March 12th.  I wonder how the legs will feel after that run?


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