Now that I'm registered for a 2nd half-marathon this spring, I'm really excited and looking forward to it! I just can't leave this awesome spring season I've had with a bad taste in my mouth. My goal for The Golden Driller Half-Marathon isn't to break 1:30 or even to run a PR, it's to run a strong race and enjoy myself. I want to reclaim the last portion of the race and show myself I can run a half-marathon without falling apart. Strava has a last mile challenge through the end of June where if you run the last mile of a half-marathon or marathon the fastest of the race, they donate money to charities. That's another good reason to have a strong finish at The Golden Driller! It's a little tricky with knowing how best to move forward in training for it. It's 3 weeks after the Aquarium Run but I also want to make sure I recover really well from the Aquarium Run since something pretty drastic went on with my body. I know I'm going to lose fitness between now and then, I'm just hoping I won't lose too much! I'm actually feeling really strong and recovered now so I'm wondering if a couple hard workouts would help my performance at the race or if there's not enough time left. The half is 2 weeks from tomorrow. Possibly continuing at my taper mileage is what's best for me. I am planning on running a 4 mile tempo tomorrow just to see how things go when I get down to a faster pace again and hopefully it will give me a little bit of my confidence back.
When I look back at all my half-marathon times, the Aquarium Run was about half-way down the list. It was my 8th fastest half out of 17 with 2 of them run while pregnant. The half-marathon has always been my bread and butter. I've felt like it is my strongest race distance and when I look back at all my races I realize why. Outside of the Aquarium Run I've only bombed one other half and that was because I ran it after missing 2 months of training due to being sick and was only back to running for a week before running the race. So needless to say, I set myself up to bomb that race. I've only had one other half where I ran slower than what my tempos showed I was capable of. Other than that all my halves have been really strong races with paces faster than all my tempo runs leading up to the race. Pretty much every single one I ran faster than I though I would. I've had plenty where I struggled during mile 12 and 13 but that's to be expected with a half. I've never had a race where I slowed by over a minute per mile or even 30 seconds per mile at the end. I considered my Route 66 finish in 2016 a bad finish because I fell about 15-20 seconds off pace in the final 2 miles.
In the fall of 2015 I felt I was in shape to run the Prairie Fire Half Marathon in under 1:40 but was surprised when the race just didn't go as planned and I finished in 1:41:08. Even then I didn't tank the last miles, I actually struggled from the start. I was able to pinpoint the likely cause of my bad race which was a huge blister on my foot that formed early on in the race and caused issues with my form. But then I came back from that race and finished the Route 66 a month later in 1:35:43. Knowing that makes me feel better. I have been a little bit scared that by adding another half marathon to this season, I'm setting myself up for another failure, but maybe I'll be able to drop 5 minutes like I did that year! I'm not expecting that or even hoping for that, but who knows. I knew I was in shape for a certain time at the Prairie Fire but things didn't come together on race day and I didn't let that effect me. I was able to come back from that and run even faster than I had expected at the Route 66! The big difference for me is that at that race I felt off from the start and with this one I felt great until all the sudden I didn't which was weird. But as my dad pointed out was likely due to the wind and the effect of the heat and humidity as the race. Sometimes things don't come together on race day no matter how well you prepare for a race. Nothing has taught me that better than the marathon, although I've come to expect things to come together nicely for a half as long as I have a good taper going into the race.
With the marathon I have come to expect the unexpected. No matter how well trained you are so many factors can go into a disappointing performance on race day. Out of my 5 marathons, I've only had 3 good races and one race where everything went wonderfully. That one amazing race was even in poor conditions with strong wind and light rain for portions of the race! But I guess I've been spoiled by the half-marathon. Out of 17 half-marathons, I've had good races and run faster than I expected to in 14 of them! I'd like to get back to half-marathons falling together perfectly on race day but who knows what will happen! I am guardedly optimistic about what race day will bring. I am excited but expecting nothing. I'd like to be able to pull together a race in under 7:00 pace but I also know I'm going to lose some of my speed in these weeks between my goal half and my last minute half. I will also likely be dealing with the same crappy weather conditions I dealt with last weekend. My plan is to go out conservatively and hope I can pick it up in the 2nd half, rather than bomb the 2nd half, so I can walk away from the finish line feeling good about what I accomplished. I've always been really good at negative splitting races and it just feels so much better and gives you a lot of confidence when you do that. I need more of that in my life!