Good to be back here since not running this race since 2016.
Conditions were nice and I was feeling somewhat ready. A tempo run earlier in the week where I wanted to run 5 miles @7:00 pace, did not quite go as well as I hoped, with the average about 7:05 at an effort that felt harder than it should be. So, to see where I'm at today, I decided I'd go out at about a 7:10 pace and see how it goes and maybe try for about 1:34 time. Also, Tom would be racing today. This would be his first race-effort half marathon. If he was just going to "jog it out" maybe he could pace me, but I didn't think I'd be seeing him very long after the start.
The first two miles were pretty good, and as planned did a nice steady 7:10 for miles one and two, and it didn't feel horrible at all. Next mile was 7:16 and I was ok with that. I was looking forward to the second half of the race, especially past mile 7, running on the Pinellas Trail.
Mile 4 put me at the top of the bridge back to the mainland, it's not super huge, only about a 25 foot climb, but it did slow me down a little bit, mile 4 was 7:20.
And then, too soon into the race, the first rough patch. I was slowing a little bit and getting passed. Finally, after about the 5th person passed me I got out of the 7:40's and caught back up a little bit, ended up finishing that mile at 7:26.
Mile 6 can be bad for me sometimes, it's a long very slight uphill. The kind that doesn't look uphill at all, but your pace slows with a steady effort. However, not bad this time, and I actually picked up the pace a little bit, finishing that mile at 7:19.
So, it's actually mile 7 that's usually the slowest mile of the race for me. You finish up the last little bit of uphill, loop around a small park and then go onto the Pinellas Trail where there is an aid station, and just after the aid station is the first pedestrian bridge you have to go over. As I was entering the park, I was chatting with a guy who we'd been leap frogging. Also, ran past Maria some place in this area (she was driving Tom and Jenny and cheering them), she called out to me that Tom was in first place.
I asked the guy I was running with if he had a goal, and he said sub 1:40. I said "me too", even though my original goal was faster than that, I'd honestly be happy just to keep it under 1:40. We ran together a bit, maybe the next mile or so.
Finished mile 7 with 7:46. And then, all of the sudden I was moving faster and it felt easier. I was back near the 7:10 pace I had started out at (and maybe slightly faster here and there).
But, as I approached a pretty busy intersection where there was a policeman stopping cars, I kind of lost my nerve and wasn't sure if he was going to stop the next car in time or if I'd have to stop. I slowed down a little bit until it was clear I'd be ok. So, mile 8 would not be that 7:10 it was looking like but turned into 7:26. Still not bad considering mile 7 was 7:45.
The next 4 miles were decent, in high 7:20's mostly. Made it to the mile 12 sign. I had been pushing pretty good but instead of trying to really pick things up, kind of relaxed a bit. Plus, the last mile starts out on a section of packed shell path. But, basically I got a little bit lazy, finishing mile 13 in 7:46. There was more in the tank I could have used. I used that for the last 0.1 miles where I found a 6:09 pace to finish.
As I ran to the finish I could see the seconds ticking away, still under 1:37:00, however it was actually 1:37:02 clock time after I crossed (chip time would put me at 1:37:00).
Early results were posted, saw that Tom ended up second place overall with a time of 1:19:11, average pace of 6:01 - so his average pace was 8 seconds faster than my finishing sprint!
Saw Jenny finish, coming in at 1:57, meeting at least one of her goals of sub-2:00.
Hung out for a bit waiting for awards and chatted with various friends.
I think there's a lot I could say about this race, for example, it dawned on me that I need to race some more half marathons (and by racing I mean train for them and then race). This was my first sub-1:40 half in a while, maybe since early 2017.
Looking back at 2007 results, saw that I ran 1:37:51, one week before the Jacksonville Marathon where I ran 3:21:24 (my first of many nearly but not quite BQ races). I ran that year's race in revserse order pace wise, starting out in mid 7:30's and finishing mile 13 at 6:50 pace, but running the exact same pace for mile 7.
I need to wrap my head around running these paces for at least the half marathon distance. I've got some work to do to get back to the 1:32 range (would like to be able to qualify for NYC marathon again).
Later in the afternoon, Tom had his winter trumpet recital. This year he was doing a duet with Jenny accompanying on piano. Andy and I watched from the audience and after we all went to Outback for dinner