I decided in the fall that this would be a good race to run leading up to Boston. Perfect timing, and a good, fast course to test out the fitness and (hopefully) build up some confidence for April.
I arrived in Burlington nice and early on race day. I wanted to make sure it was a stress-free morning, so I left my house not long after 7:30 and was parked about a block from the start/finish by 8:20am. Perfect! I had lots of time to wander around and check things out, talk with some friends, get a warmup in on a bit of the course, ditch some stuff at the car, and go back to the start to line up. It was great not feeling rushed for any of that.
One thing I noticed when walking around and also when running, was how much colder it felt there than it did at home when I was leaving. The wind coming off the lake made a big difference. But... the sun was strong. When there was no wind it was comfortable, but when there was wind, it was a bit on the frigid side. The wind didn't seem too bad, so I didn't feel like I needed to cover my ears and was able to wear a regular hat (cap), capris, two thin shirts, and thin gloves.
For my warm-up, around I did a 2 mile run with an out and back on the course, then another half mile after stopping at my car to get my number on, etc. I finished up the second little warm-up run about 15 minutes to race start.
As the race started, and we turned the first corner, I noticed that I was just behind the 1:30 pace group. It was windy in this section, so I tucked into the group to get some shelter from the wind. This had me running a little quicker than I intended to run, but it was a bit of a downhill and it kept me out of the wind. I only stuck with them for maybe 5 minutes or so. I got back onto my own game plan at that point. Well.. sort of. My plan for this race was to keep my pace just under 7:15. Aside from the first mile at 6:51, I was running just over 7 mile pace and it was feeling great. So, I figured I'd roll with it. 10K marker... felt great, then reached 10 miles in 1:10:something... and... only 5K left! I was NOT going to slow down a single second. I was focused on a couple of runners in front of me and actually picked it up slightly to sub-7 pace for those last 5K.
I finished the race in 1:32:01. 01..... I couldn't find 2 seconds somewhere? ugh. but I didn't (and don't) care about that... it was my fastest half marathon so far (by several minutes) and a nice confidence boost.
|Just before the final turn to the finish: ~12.9 miles|
I was proud of myself, not for the finish time itself (I was happy with that as well, of course).. I was proud of how I ran the race. I was super happy with my splits, which I've included below. I'm becoming a smarter runner!
After the race, I ran a cool down with Graham and then went out for chilly and beer at one of the local establishments. The nice thing about this race's post-race festivities, is the spread it out. There are several bars near the finish line that all serve the beer and chilly to the runners instead of just having it in some gym or community center or whatever.
After the beer and chilly, I went back out to watch more friends finishing and then out for lunch on the way home. All in all, it was an enjoyable race day. I think this race might find it's way into my race schedule again in the future.