Sunday, December 13, 2015
Day 3,269: JG 13.1
Just 17 days ago I was pretty upset with myself. Right before Mile 7 I bonked and I knew that having one of my best race times in the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon would not even be close to reality.
I blamed it all on lack of running, running too fast at the start and not fueling properly for the race.
But this race, the JG 13.1, loomed. Seventeen days really wasn't enough time to fix any running issues I might have had in the last race. Plus I was eager to give myself some downtime after a busy running year and look forward to next year's goals.
So when race day came I told myself I would just do the best I could. I did try to help myself fuel better, eating half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and half of a banana before I left home at about 7:20 to get to the 8 a.m. start (it's nice to live close to the start!). I also packed four GU gels, telling myself I would try to avoid bonking at Mile 7 by consuming the first one at Mile 5.
Since the start line was only two miles away and the finish just a mile, I opted to leave the car at home. I ran a warm up run from home through Piedmont Park and then walked up the large hill on 12th Street to get to the start.
Before the start, Jeff Galloway, whose name is attached to the race, advised runners to run the first three miles slower than their typical pace. I thought this was good advice because of the rolling hills on Juniper Street in Mile 1 and the hills along Central Park to Mile 2.
I thought I would run faster on the downhill section on Freedom Parkway and to the Carter Center, and while I did, it wasn't really enough to erase the deficit of time I was building on top of my PR time.
By Mile 4 I was 44 seconds behind PR pace. At Mile 5 on the Eastside Beltline Trail I used my first (and only) GU for the race. I wanted to make sure I wouldn't bonk near Mile 7 like in the Thanksgiving race.
Really at this point I was skeptical of breaking my PR and so I just decided to run solidly through the race. Up hilly St. Charles Avenue to Mile 7 I just told myself that I was a good hill runner and didn't try to pay attention to the time. (At this point I was 1 minute, 3 seconds slower than PR pace).
It was nice that we entered my home neighborhood of Virginia-Highland. Part of the course here mirrors the Publix Georgia Half Marathon and it felt familiar. After Mile 9 on 10th Street at the edge of Piedmont Park I found myself running by myself with no other runners near me. It was a weird feeling, since in many larger races you nearly always have runners around you.
Once we entered Piedmont Park Commons past Mile 11 it felt very comfortable for me, since this part of the park is part of my tempo run trail -- and where I've single and double-strollered many times.
After rounding the bowl, we ran along Lake Clara Meer, where I do the bulk of my interval training. Only this time I didn't have any speed in me and wasn't too concerned about my finish since I could hear the announcer report a 1:45 finish for some runner and I was only on the south side of the lake.
A little bit later, I saw my watch said "1:46" and I knew I didn't have any chance of making a PR. I was amazed, though, when I finally looked at my watch after crossing the finish that it said 1:47:34, my third fastest race time and only 56 seconds off of my PR. (Incidentally I later saw my watch said the course was short at 13.03 miles, although my friend Anna recorded a 13.13 mile course).
I was pretty happy with my race time, my second 1:47 this year (I ran 1:47:46 in the Hotlanta Half Marathon in August).
Here I was about to write off this race before I even ran in it today and instead got back confirmation that my running shape is not as off as I thought. In any event, it's something nice to build on for 2016.
Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 48 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Chicago Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon), shorts, Brooks Pure Connect 3.