In the search of a sub 2:00 half

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Done this event before so I am prepare for this. I woke up around 4:30AM, same routine as for the long runs. The usual oatmeal, coffee and a visit to the bathroom before heading out of the house. Got to the event location with plenty of time, found good parking. At 6:30 I exchanged my tech event shirts from Large to Medium, yes I know why mention this on the blog. Here is the deal, I have been a large T-shirt kind of person for very long time. Changing and using medium size for me is a symbolic change that I have been changing in a good way. Those are little details that keep me thinking that what I have been doing is making a difference. I finished getting ready for the event by eating a banana this time (Normally I use a gel with caffeine but decided to change for this race).

The weather was great at 59 degrees and some clouds in the sky. I started, like previous recent events, way in the back. That way the first few miles I control myself, so even if I am passing people I will not try to outrun fast runners and keep a decent slower pace. By keeping my early performance in check, around 9:00 minute miles was my aspirational goal and a pace of 9:15 as a secondary target. With those goals, it was putting me in place for a PR in this event. But more than a PR my main aspiration was to break the 2:00 half marathon.

The first couple miles went by with a pace around 8:45 pace, that included a big downhill and a neighborhood with some ups and down hills. After that the next three miles were around same pace. I grabbed water at the stations and I was feeling good. I took my gel at mile 4. My sugars felt like they were heading slightly down, so adjusted my basal for the next hour, that will give me more control of what the sugars will do after getting the gel. I was still just 15 seconds faster than the 9:00 target, but feeling good and knew the next miles to the turn around were going to be somewhat flat.

The next three miles were about 8:32, still flat course and going fast. I started to pick few runners, by trailing them and passing them slowly, still early in the race, but feeling great. I took another gel at mile 8. The next 4 miles I slowed down a bit, the course was still flat but I knew that getting back to the neighborhood with the hills, I needed to still be hitting around 9:00 mile pace. At mile 10 I started to do the math to see if I was going to make it before the 2 hours. I started to use a 10 minute miles as a reference to slowdown pace just in case. I was in decent shape.

Then Lassiter Hill came and I just needed to conquer that hill this time. I kept my effort the same, even though I knew I was going to slowdown to do the hill. I was able once again and for the second time running this course/event to complete the hill without stopping. Easy breeze to the last .1 miles and extremely happy to see the clock in around 1:55.30 mark. Since I started way in the back I knew I had perhaps additional 10 to 20 seconds more in the bank.

Training paid off, I broke the 2 hours with 5 minutes to spare. Extremely happy with the results!!!

[vtftable cols=”{0}0-4:c9daf8;{/}”] {f1}Month/Year;;;{f1}Event;;;{f1}Location;;;{f1}Type;;;{f1}Time;nn;
Sept-14;;;Raleigh 13.1;;;NC;;;Half;;;1:54:47;nn;
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[vtftable cols=”{0}0:c9daf8;{/}”] Event Highlight & Learning Points;nn;Highlights:

Course: Great ample road right of the start but narrows a bit once we get into the Greenway after about a mile.

Venue: At finish, fruit, water and lots of music.

Expo: No Expo

Weather: Rain and overcast, 59º with 88% humidity.

T1D: Sugars borderline high at the start. Remained high during the event.

Fueling:

      Pre-Race: 1 serving Hot Cereal and Latte. Gel an hour prior the start.

      Race: Water at the water stations and gel.

      Post: Water, banana and pizza.

Learning Points:

    • A slow pace at the beginning will provide better strategy than banking time.
    • Attention to the details that show you your training is paying off are key to make you keep going.
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