Well, it's over. I ran the 2nd annual Patrick Henry Half Marathon in Ashland, VA this morning. Starting temperature was somewhere around 65°, so not bad at all.
And this was a well-run race. They cap entrants at 1500 but only had about 1000 register. The pre-race stuff was relaxed but efficient -- at least 13 porta-johns, bib/chip pick-up was smooth, and they used disposable chips. The course and finish were done right, too -- 8 (I think) water/Powerade stations, Gu's at either mile 8 or 9, very cold and wet towels at the finish (that was WONDERFUL!), best finisher's technical shirt that I've seen, people handing us a bottle of ice cold water at the finish line, great selection of post-race food, very quick posting of finish times (my watch matched their chip time perfectly).
Three of us who have trained together decided we would try to go out at 8:30 mpm and then see how we felt. Well, adrenaline took over and we went out at 8:15 mpm, maintaining that for 7 miles. Though I really felt like I should have been able to maintain that pace, I slowed down. Still, I did fine for 9 miles but really hit the wall and ended up walking more than I wanted to do over the next 3 miles. I was able to pick it back up in the last 1.1 miles to an 8:36 mpm pace and finished in 1:53.10. Seeing my wife and daughter with their neon sign at about mile 12.8 was a real boost and, as you can see, I was even able to smile.
I'm happy with that time. There were times during the training when I wondered if I would even be able to break 2 hours. However, I still think I can do better and am pondering what I need to change. I didn't hurt -- I was just tired during miles 10-12. I had eaten a Gu before the race and had, by mile 10, eaten 2 Shot Bloks and drunk 16-20 oz of Gatorade. Maybe I need to eat another Gu at mile 7 or so. I'll keep experimenting.
Next up -- perhaps the Maymont X-Terra Half Marathon at the end of September. However, at mile 10, I found myself thinking, And why am I considering the Maymont again?
Enough (OK, yeah, too much). This evening I plan to watch Ryan Hall take on the Olympic Marathon. I'm still predicting bronze for him with the Kenyans taking gold and silver (Ryan gets gold in 2012) but one of my running companions today thought Ryan might even break 2 hours for the marathon. Now, that would be something!
Run well, y'all,