This should be agony. I should be a mass of aching muscle -- broken, spent, unable to move. And, were I an older man, I surely would ... but I'm a man of thirty -- of twenty again. The rain on my chest is a baptism -- I'm born again.
--Frank Miller, The Dark Knight Returns
This morning I was fortunate for the drop off by the gf to the 13.1 Marathon at Oglethorpe University.
I wasn't sure how I would be -- I had two straight days of hard 6-mile runs and then the Ted's Bison Stampede 5K, where I ran my fastest 5K in five years.
So my strategy was to take it easy and just finish.
I started out slow, with a just under 10-minute mile pace. The start was bottlenecked with runners and I didn't pay any mind. I intentionally didn't look at my watch for the first 6 miles of the race.
But I didn't realize that my mile splits were starting to drop, a regression to the mean. I ran 9:15 in the second mile, just under 9 minute pace in the 3rd.
And then I started running at the 8:40/mile training pace I run with the gf. That remained steady until mile 9, which had one of the largest hills in the race, a steep climb up Ashwood-Dunwoody. I hit that at an 8-minute mile pace.
By mile 10 I realized that the only way I wouldn't break 2 hours for the race (my best time in recent years in the 2007 ING Georgia Half-Marathon) would be if I seriously bonked and ran the last three miles at an 11-minute mile pace.
I kept things steady at mile 11 (8:35/mile) then turned it up a little for mile 12 (8:17) and then had a nice kick with .3 of a mile left in the race to end with a 7:41/mile pace.
I finished in 1:53:03, which is the fastest half-marathon I've done since doing 1:52:00 in the Capital City Half-Marathon on May 17, 1998 in Olympia, Wash.
When I resumed running in Atlanta I thought my faster days (and these times aren't even that fast) were over.
But training with a speedy gf helps and I'm enjoying a nice resurgence in my pasttime.
Time: 7:13 a.m.
Gear: SST (El Paso), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D4.