Before this week, I've been averaging over 90 miles/week for the past 5 weeks, gradually building my base again. After May, I cut it quits on workouts, so going into the half marathon in Duluth I knew I was not in racing shape. Much of my running had been quite slow but that's what I needed to do. After doing some higher volume again, I wanted to use this race as a good workout to break up the slow running I've been doing. I did a very short taper for this race, for mileage I hit 100, then 80, and then down to 60 during the race week. The result was my pace began quickening again naturally and my legs feeling a bit fresher. I knew I wouldn't run fast here, but I felt like this would be a good workout nonetheless. My goal was to have a good time and to run comfortably hard. I roomed with Ricky Flynn, who was aiming for the Trials Standard of 1:05:00. We both headed out on a shakeout run Friday morning. Since I was in Naples, Florida not even a week ago and Ricky was coming from SC, it felt like freezing temperatures to us, even though it wasn't much below 50 degrees. I ran in a long sleeve. The temperature was obviously ideal for running, but coming from such heat and humidity really made it feel like 30-40 degrees out there. We ran along the shoreline on the soft surface dirt/gravel path and adjacent boardwalk.
Our race was an early 6:15 AM start. We got outside at 4:30 AM to get on the bus. The bus drove us north along Superior Lake where the start was. Superior Lake is like an ocean. It's so big it would cover the entire area from Washington, DC all the way to Boston. It was just south of 50 degrees, but it felt a lot colder. I bought a pair of throw-away gloves to have during the race. A ghostly like misty fog hovered over the lake and in the northern pine trees along the rocky shore. It was hard to believe it was the first day of summer.
This race always has good competition. I knew I wasn't in peak racing shape, so I made sure to let myself settle into what I felt was a comfortably hard pace, and not get caught up in red-lining it. I went out between 5:10-5:15 the first mile, just testing the waters a bit, and then relaxed the rest of the way, averaging 5:20's. I felt good actually, running a faster pace finally, because I had been doing a lot of slow running the past few weeks and feel it "woke me up" a bit. I finished in 1:10:53, again not fast for me(see list below of my all time best half marathon times), but a solid run that made me feel like I got the effort in.
Below is a list of my top all time half marathons over the past 3 years:
1:07:29 (Houston 2014)
1:08:39 (Philadelphia 2011)
1:08:51 (Va Beach 2013)
1:09:27 (Va Beach 2012)
1:09:30 (Richmond 2013)
1:10:04 (Va Beach 2011)
1:10:53 (Philadelphia 2012)
1:10:53 (Grandmas 2014)
I cooled down for 2.5 miles cheering for twin sisters Lucinda and Claudin(who ran wth me in high school), who both ran excellent times of 2:48 in the marathon. What I am really excited about as well is that Lucinda is going to have me help coach her for a fall half marathon. Lucinda is certainly a pro at the marathon, and it is a good time for her now to work on getting her half marathon time faster. I certainly know she is capable of at least 1:17, if not faster. I am humbled to coach her, and excited to see what she can do.
Later that afternoon, I ran again for an easy 50 minutes. Sunday I ran a slow 9 miles, and this week I have begun specific marathon training. I ran 15 miles this morning and it feels great to get the aerobic base going. It's time for me to take all the tools I have gotten from racing the shorter distances and use them as best I can and maximize my endurance training. Roland is having me train in a Lydiard-style like way, which I know will work well for me.
I am also excited for all the runners I am going to coach this fall!