Monday, March 18, 2013

Half Meh-rathon


That’s the time that I ran at the New Bedford Half Marathon this past Sunday. It’s my fourth fastest Half Marathon (out of the 20, or so, I’ve done) since I began running them - back in 1999. And, it’s my fastest in 4 years, since I set my current PR on that course - back in 2009. But, I’m at a point in my running life where I’m not easily impressed by my “almost” successes. So, as a result, I’m left feeling a bit indifferent about this particular performance.

On the one hand, it wasn’t a HUGE disappointment. I think I ran as hard as I could on the day, felt stronger than usual in the late miles and beat last years time by almost a minute. But, when you set your goals as high as I have for this year, nothing less than a great performance will do. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite hit the splits I was hoping for out there – missing by about 7 seconds per mile throughout. It may not sound like a lot, but over a 13.1 mile race it adds up to a minute and a half, which is exactly how much I missed my PR by!

Here are my splits for this race as well as the 4-mile split I was aiming for:

Miles 1 - 4: 6:15, 6:33, 6:34, 6:37 = 25:59 (6:29) - Goal: 25:30 (6:22)
Miles 5 - 8: 6:14, 6:16, 6:05, 6:25 = 25:00 (6:15) - Goal: 24:30 (6:07)
Miles 9 - 12: 6:21, 6:30, 6:26, 6:41 = 25:58 (6:29) - Goal: 25:30 (6:22)
Miles 13 - 13.1: 6:52, 45 = 7:37 (6:55) - Goal: 7:30 (6:49)

So, as you can see, I consistently lost about 30 seconds per 4-mile split off of what I was hoping to run. The thing is, I'm not exactly sure why.

The easy answer is that I’m just not in quite as good a shape as I thought I was. Not bad shape, mind you. Just not in PR type shape.  The early miles felt harder than they should have given the pace I was running. The middle miles were quick, as expected since they were downhill with a slight tail wind, but not nearly as quick as I’ve been able to run here before. And the last miles were just as strong as I ran back in 2009, but by that point I had already lost too much time overall for them to make much difference.

The funny thing is about a half hour after the race I felt great. Really great! Almost good enough to want to toe the line and run it again. I don’t know if it was the adrenaline talking, or if it just took me 13.1 miles to get warmed up. In either case, I know that down the road I’ll be thinking of the Half Marathon mark as just the quarter pole (or eighth pole) of my 50 or 100 mile race. But, for this year anyway, I need to find a way to inject some real speed into the real endurance I know that I have.

Track starts one month from yesterday. Let’s go!

Next Grand Prix Race: Red’s Shoe Barn 5m – 4/21


  1. I hear ya. I ran a HUGE PR, and I still feel a little indifferent. On one hand, I'm super happy to have a shiny new PR, on the other hand I really thought I could faster (not that day, but in general). Still. 4th fastest HM out of 20 is top 25%, and probably something worth celebrating. Nice job out there!

  2. Thanks Katie! NB is not the easiest Half around. Competitive but not easy. Particularly if it's your first time doing it. It's almost like 4 races in one. Miles 1-4, 5-9, 10-12 & 13. Each section has a very different feel to it. Not to mention pace. But it's an excellent prep for Boston - as was Derry - and be assured that your fitness will carry you to yet another PR on 4/15. I know it.

  3. Just found your blog and following now. Nicely done on your race!